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"Smart" Is Relative
Here's a 60 mpg "Smart" car on the streets of Paris.

Smart Car.jpg

Not so smart on the streets of Los Angeles, where too many people drive stupid cars:


While I would drive a Smart car in a minute -- if people where I live didn't make it totally unsafe with their stupid cars -- I do have to admit, it's kind of like driving a car radio.

Smart Interior.jpg

That said, I'm planning on getting a 66mpg Honda Insight when I'm back. (According to an Insight owner I know, it gets about 55mpg in real life,...but that's pretty okay, I think, vis a vis the 10-12 mpg the Hummer driver gets -- at best -- while endangering everybody else on the road.)

UPDATE: Apparently, the Smart car gets 60 mpg, corrected above from the earlier 36 mpg rating I got off some Smart car British Web site. The Advice Goddess regrets the error.

Posted by aalkon at July 28, 2004 8:19 AM


right on! it's depressing to see a growing number of SUVs on Paris streets too, although they're talking about a tax or a ban on them. i do think the smart would make a nice little car for a tight-parking U.S. city like san francisco.

Posted by: eric at July 28, 2004 6:11 AM

I don't see why anyone would drive a Humvee, anyway. Wonderful vehicles to have... if you need to climb a mountain, but most people will never need to do such a thing. It's ridiculous, when you consider how unsafe they are for others, and how inefficient they are. I'm surprised no environmental activists have vandalized them.

Posted by: Patrick at July 28, 2004 10:22 AM

The Smart Car gets better than 36 mpg. At 698 cc and starting at 50 hp, it is essentially a motorcycle engine. The manufacturer claims 60 mpg.

It isn't available in the US... yet.

Posted by: The Prop at July 28, 2004 10:40 AM

Do you have a link? It took me forever to get on that Brit site where I found the 36mpg link. I'm on dialup for a few more days...circa 1612 dialup, it seems. Takes four tries to connect...staying on is another matter. I guess I could find my way to being nostalgic for the old days of AOL...back in '93. Or not.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at July 28, 2004 10:44 AM

I would hope that the Smart Car gets more than 36 mpg. My Civic routinely gets around 35 mpg and it can (kind of) carry 4 people and some groceries.

Posted by: Hank at July 28, 2004 2:07 PM

Which may BE the UK site you found. There is no separate page for the FAQs (darn Flash websites...) but I quote:

Q 13. I've heard that the smart fortwo coup and cabrio is the most economical car on the road. Is this true?

A 13. ...We're proud to say that smart is certainly the most efficient petrol car on the road (the only vehicles more efficient are powered by diesel or are petrol/electric hybrids). ***As a result, you can expect smart to give you an average of 60.1 mpg in the combined cycle - and possibly even more on the open road.*** etc...

You have your eye on a "petrol/electric hybrid". Ta ra!

Posted by: The Proprietor at July 28, 2004 6:13 PM