The Smart is coming to the United States. Smart, part of Mercedes, is a tiny car that you’ll often see in Europe. The car holds two people and two bags.
I rented two of these in Italy in 2002. When I called Avis to reserve a car, they didn’t even offer the Smart because they just assumed that Americans wouldn’t want something this tiny.
I loved it. It was great on the narrow roads and you can park it anywhere. It even made it up the hills in Tuscany.
It’ll be interesting to see how it does here. The Detroit News reports that 20,000 people have put down $99 deposits.
I can see it being really useful in cities like New York and San Francisco where parking is tight and environmental concern is higher. The car is expected to get 40 mpg. It’d be a great addition to the fleet of carsharing services like Zipcar and Flexcar.
The base version will go for about $12,000. A convertible version will also be available.
My wife and I are among the thousands who have put down the $99 deposit. We first saw the smart car in Paris 6 years ago, as well as other countries. In Spain a month ago we saw even more smart cars than we’d seen in the past, including the 4-door model (which I’ve heard is being discontinued).
Currently we live near Tampa Florida. In general, the consciousness about the environment seems to be spreading rather slowly here. We hope that as we and others are seen driving these little gems, that folks will get interested in learning more. Once they understand how environmentally-friendly the production process is for these cars, how safe the cars are, and how easy to maneuver …in addition to good mileage …..hopefully we see a few more and then a LOT more on the road!