November 30, 2000
4:46 PM   Subscribe

Mathowie's blog about living in San Francisco and mentioned his dream urban vehicle. But Matt, why not get Smart? Okay, besides the fact that it's not yet available in the U.S. (more inside...)
posted by Avogadro (24 comments total)
I met Conrad and Edith while they were here in Cleveland. The car seems to be especially suited for congested urban areas as well as for use in car sharing. Oh and yes, I have presently lost my sense of grammar.
posted by Avogadro at 4:52 PM on November 30, 2000

Bah, why drive when you can fly? No need for a license either.
posted by john at 4:55 PM on November 30, 2000

Two seats are for the space-wastrels. Get a Sparrow: all-electric, 8 feet long and 4 feet wide, with a 30-to-60-mile range and a top speed high enough to let you break the speed limit (in some states). Better yet, it recharges from a standard 120-volt wall outlet.
posted by grimmelm at 5:03 PM on November 30, 2000

SF would be a great place to live if not for all of the annoying people.The day that untrained kamikaze americans are flying around instead of driving is the day I never leave the house again!Might I suggest this car? It's non polluting and cheap. Just don't take it out on the interstate. . .
posted by Mr. skullhead at 5:05 PM on November 30, 2000

I saw a ton of Smart cars when I was in Europe. I have no idea why they're not imported to the US - they really would be the perfect SF car.

I'll take mine in black and purple, please....
posted by fraying at 5:32 PM on November 30, 2000

Actually, I saw my first Smart car here in beautiful Los Angeles. Granted, it was parked in the driveway of a house in one of the wealthier neighborhoods in the city, but, boy howdy, it sure looked cool.

It'd be perfect for tootling down to the store and back, but it would be suicide to take it out on any big, fast road. The thing looked like a canape for an SUV.
posted by RakDaddy at 5:43 PM on November 30, 2000

Ah yes, the smart cars are the things I've been seeing around SF. I did some digging last weekend and thought it was based on the smallest mercedes A-class car, which is why I mentioned that. It looks like a separate company, but the smart car is actually the one I want.
posted by mathowie at 5:51 PM on November 30, 2000

The Mercedes A had a fair share of bad publicity when it was released in Europe in 1997, when it failed the "moose test" of a Swedish car mag Teknikens Värld". The car rolled over when making a sharp panic turn. But the design has been improved since then (also by humorists), so I suppose it's a safer car now.

Then again, there aren't that many moose in SF. Or llamas for that matter.

posted by ikalliom at 6:15 PM on November 30, 2000

Meanwhile, you all still drive gasoline powered cars. How about talk-powered transportation? You guys would be on the moon...!
posted by internook at 7:00 PM on November 30, 2000

Shhhh. It goes without saying. That is to say, the car can't move while you're talking.
posted by kindall at 8:05 PM on November 30, 2000

Legend has it that the guys at Swatch, who came up with the concept for the Smart basically designed to have just enough space for both of them and a case of beer (or was it a sixpack?). Here an early rendition, ... And just in case you interested in the biz background a case study , but there are always alternative uses for it. But maybe those of you who'd go no further than to the local store in it, should happily await a roadster based on the Smart...

posted by noom at 8:38 PM on November 30, 2000

Smart is a collaboration between Swatch and Mercedes.
posted by riffola at 9:00 PM on November 30, 2000

I remember watching it on Top Gear on the Beeb. I think it was Jeremy Clarkson who test drove, and made a lot of jokes about it being unfit for a guy his size (He is really tall.)
posted by riffola at 9:03 PM on November 30, 2000

Does its engine drop on the ground, just like the A-Class in a head on collision?
posted by noom at 9:11 PM on November 30, 2000

Smart cars are fun: I've seen a few in London, one in Oxford (driven by a vicar, no less) but mainly in Amsterdam, where they're small enough to pick up and throw into the nearest canal.

Concept cars aside, I can't see why there isn't a place in the US market for the European "small car", especially among people who basically drive into work and back. The Ford Ka is yummy. That said, I did notice far more VW Golfs on the road in Connecticut compared to Georgia: that 50c difference in petrol prices, along with tight parking, may actually make a difference...
posted by holgate at 9:16 PM on November 30, 2000

Oh, and EasyRentacar uses A-class Mercedes as its rental cars. They're funky, but look fun.

(See, I don't drive. I just ogle cars from a distance.)
posted by holgate at 9:19 PM on November 30, 2000

Reminds me of this car that I saw parked in front of my house a while back. It was so damn small and cute (and green!) and it managed to squeeze into the always-available spot with the red curb without hanging into anyone's driveway. I'd buy one.
posted by megnut at 9:34 PM on November 30, 2000

Meanwhile, you all still drive gasoline powered cars

I don't.
posted by daveadams at 8:51 AM on December 1, 2000

Ah, single, childless people and their penchant for tiny, short distance vehicles.
posted by Dreama at 7:54 PM on December 1, 2000

sounds like a terrific date, Dreama, except for the short distance part...
posted by Mars Saxman at 9:35 PM on December 1, 2000

Ah, single, childless people and their penchant for tiny, short distance vehicles.

Ahem. My dad's first car was a Mini 850, and it seemed to cope well enough with two adults and two kids. (And even three, at a pinch.) But Dreama: how would you define a "short distance"?
posted by holgate at 2:21 PM on December 2, 2000

Holgate -- when I spend a day running errands, or even going to visit my father-in-law or brother, I'm looking at some 150+ miles easily. It's 110 one way to my cabin where I spend a great deal of time. I'd like to be able to do that without having to plug in my car. (Speaking of which, where do you plug in away from home? "Pardon me, friend, may I plug my car in here and use your electricity? I'll pay you for the kilowatts.) The hybrids are better, but the majority of the time I'd still be running on a gasoline engine.

In addition, there are regularly 7 people in my vehicle. I've yet to see anything that isn't gasoline powered with that kind of capacity.
posted by Dreama at 2:49 AM on December 3, 2000

You are mad.

They are horrible cars to drive, or so I've heard.
They are also tiny - and I mean *tiny*. Trunk space is minimal for a start.

Sorry, but I like a *car* - one that is fun to drive, as well as useful to get around in. Not one of those Smart car things - I don't know about other parts of Europe, but they aren't popular here in Dublin, which is traffic clogged, and I've not seen them do well in the UK either.

Oh yeah and they look damned ugly.

You Americans have weird taste in car :-)
posted by tomcosgrave at 4:53 AM on December 3, 2000

OMG!! I so agree with Tom here. That car is damn feral! LOL! Who would be seen in it? Not me. I'll walk thankyou! ;-)

VW Beetles are my thang!
posted by FAB4GIRL at 7:14 PM on December 14, 2000

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