• Jan 28, 2008

Click above to see how "teen-friendly" the smart fortwo is.

We all know what teenagers do in the back seats of cars, don't we? Since the smart fortwo only comes with two seats, it's something that any parent will never have to worry about. And Dave Schembri, SmartUSA president, wanted to put everyone's fears to rest when he said, "After all, what better car to have for your teenager than one without a backseat."

But Schembri was actually talking about the far more dangerous backseat activity for teens: distracting the drivers in the front seats. (I don't know what else you might have been thinking). Since more than one accident has been caused by a rowdy -- or just plain distracting -- group of kids on the rear bench, it's another thing fortwo drivers won't have to worry about on the commute.

[Source: The Car Connection]



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 31 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      Feels like the ironic/sarcastic aspect of the campaign was lost at sea. Required makes a good point about the MPGs, we're dealing with an overpriced, overcomplicated city solution that is easily outdone by contemporary Suzuki Swifts, 107/C1/Aygo, or Mitsubishi i. If this thing doesn't have fashionability on its side, I don't see the mass appeal. We need more small cars, definitely, but I'd like to see more of the right ones make it over.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I could think of some "shenanigans" with that model....
      • 7 Years Ago
      bwahhahahah

      One day i have some free time ill stop and take some pics of the first Smart dealership in Bloomfield hills, i pass it twice a day.
      tim
      • 7 Years Ago
      thank you for the first hand experience Donato. i appreciate the positive constructive feedback. i had not looked on the situation in that way before. it is always helpful to hear another's view on a subject.
      • 7 Years Ago
      No back seat? Pft. That's why God invented hoods.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Doesn't have one of those either.
      tim
      • 7 Years Ago
      im a teenager and i absolutely hate to hear about "teenagers" in general killing themselves. i have seen much older people than me get into accidents with other adults and killing each other. i have great appreciation for automobiles, as does everyone else here on autoblog im sure. and i have never got into an accident yet, i havnt even had one of those fenderbenders in the parking lots. ive been driving for about 2 years now, i dont smoke, drink or do drugs. i respect my car, it was a gift to me, a 93 ford thunderbird 5.0 HO V8. my friends ask me to floor it and try out the v8 but i decline their enjoyment and tell them to do it in their own car. not all teenagers are alcoholic drug addicts that have sex in the backseat. just the same as not all rich people are a-holes and not all people with a pickup think their better than everyone else. if people started saying that all middle age men abuse kids and maxe porn videos people would get mad too(i know its not true, just trying to find an example, and if you do get mad at this ive made my point). just cuz im younger dosent mean i dont know what responsibility is. if im out in a car im responsible for my life and those around me too.
        • 7 Years Ago
        @tim
        A few words spelled wrong is his only problem?
        "and i have never got into"
        Spelling is the LEAST of his concern.
        • 7 Years Ago
        @tim
        It is good to hear that you sound like a good driver, but the statistics speak for themselves. The leading cause of death for those 16-25 years old (especially males) is.... car accidents. Parents are justifiably concerned about the fate of their children when they hand over the keys.

        Oh, and you should learn how your car behaves when doing something other than sedately driving about. No, don't go hooning about the neighborhood. I highly recommend finding a driving course offered by your local SCCA. Or, just participate in an autocross and find an "old hand" to ride along with you and show you the ropes. It is a safe, controlled environment and the skills you learn just can easily save your life in slick weather or emergency conditions.
        • 7 Years Ago
        @tim
        Yes, stay in skule.

        That front seat is plenty of rume to contract an std while driving, mmm.. Yum
        • 7 Years Ago
        @tim
        Tip: if you want to be taken seriously, never, EVER use "cuz" in place of "because".

        Also, capitalization is your friend. Don't shun him.
        • 7 Years Ago
        @tim
        That's nice, now learn how to spell.
        • 7 Years Ago
        @tim
        Oh really? I think you missed the boat on this one.
        • 7 Years Ago
        @tim
        He mispelled "haven't" (havnt) and "make"(maxe). Otherwise he just needs to learn to capitalize and use punctuation, give the kid a break.

      • 7 Years Ago
      What I want to know is why this tiny two seat car guzzles so much gas. Shouldn't it be getting ~60 instead of ~30mpg?
        • 7 Years Ago
        a) the car may be short but tall, so it's aerodynamic drag is comparable to that of a regular four-seater. At highway speeds, it simply doesn't save any fuel.

        b) just because it only has two seats does not mean it only weighs half as much as a small four-seater. Far from it, crash safety requirements alone mean the figure is more like 80%. Vehicle weight is the primary factor in fuel economy considerations for stop-and-go traffic.

        c) the engine is now a 1000cc inline three. That means the pistons are fairly small and more heat than usual is lost to the coolant. You'll have to rev it high anytime you want decent acceleration.

        d) the version with the microhybrid aka stop-start feature hasn't come out yet. The frugal diesel engine cannot be offered in the US because it doesn't meet T2B5 emissions. In fact, it barely meets Euro 4 with a flow-through DPF.

        e) basically, the smart fortwo is a high-falutin' niche product that only really makes sense in cities with a chronic shortage of parking spaces, e.g. Paris, Rome or San Francisco. Most US cities are much younger and feature layouts designed with the automobile in mind. This is precisely why this car wasn't offered in the US before. Other than that, all the car has going for it is the cute factor. I expect US sales to taper off quickly after the initial demand from enthusiasts has been satisfied.
        • 7 Years Ago
        It's surreal. A ~1990 4 seat Geo Metro got ~50mpg, so I see absolutely no reason this "Americanized" Smart should be so blatantly inefficient.
      • 7 Years Ago
      2 words: reverse cowboy
      • 7 Years Ago
      I've been driving a 2008 smart for a week. Im no lightfoot, still Im averaging 39mpg, which compares nicely to my XC90 around town at 17mpg.

      I actually am pleasantly surprised how much I like the car - much better than I thought. It truly does feel like a mercedes product.

      This is not a car for everyone, I would even say its an acquired taste - those that would compare it to a Yaris, Vibe, Geo etc, should NOT buy a smart.

      The biggest drawback is its appeal, many people stop me in the parking lot, flag me down on the road, etc, to ask about the car, and how they can get one. Not sure if that would happen in a Yaris.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Teenagers notwithstanding...

      I don't understand why folks are so up-in-arms against the smart car? It serves a purpose. No vehicle is for every use (towing, or sports driving or hauling kids or sheetrock). The smart fortwo is engineered for safety. It has a modest engine/HP, but with judicious use of the transmission (which is a MANUAL, just automated) you can achieve smooth shifts and reasonable acceleration. I do not feel unsafe or at risk in this car. It merges on the interstate just fine. I've driven at highway speeds 70-80 mph and can report it handles safely and I feel confident at those speeds, though 70 +/- seems like a sweet spot for the transmission/RPMs, etc. I filled it up the other day (8.7 gal tank) and it clicked-off at 6.5 gallons. It was good for 37mpg in city driving (still in the break-in period). That is the best MPG I've had in a car, and better than my last one (a scion xB) that averaged about 28 in around-town, real-world driving. So I have a car that cost me thousands less than my last car, gets nearly 10 MPG more, seats only two, yes, (but only me and my husband, anyway) room for our week's worth of groceries and kitty litter, great heater and pretty good sound system. It works for me, and will for many. Maybe not everyone, and it seems, certainly not many here. The smart may not be a great huge selling success after the first mania wears off. However, one thing it is helping out is that small/economical does not have to equal 'cheap' and style-free. I think that the public and the automakers will see the increase in demand for stylish, safe, economical cars and the smart will help in that direction.
      Cheers!
      • 7 Years Ago
      I can't imagine anyone wanting a Smart car that only does 30mpg. Perhaps Mercedes will have better luck finding such unusual car buyers -- people who don't want performance, or space, or winter ability, or good fuel economy.

      A Yaris is cheaper, roomier, works in winter, and it gets better mileage.
        • 7 Years Ago
        That's the whole problem with the Smart car. It's ugly, even compared to it's closest US competition. It does not get any better fuel economy. It is a far worse performer, to the point of being dangerously slow. It is completely impractical; there's no way in hell I could fit $300+ worth of groceries in one of those things. Heck, I need a wagon now. I regret my coupe for being a coupe almost as much for lacking a manual transmission.

        Since it is a Mercedes-built machine, I seriously doubt it can run more than 5 miles at a time without needing repair, much like it's more expensive brothers. Long experience has proven Mercedes to be unable to engineer their way out of a paper bag, even with high-profit, high dollar luxury cars. How does anyone think they'll do with a low-dollar niche car? They did such a bang-up job with Chrysler after all.

        I'll pass. I'd sooner drive a Honda. That way, when it catches fire and kills me, I won't have to worry about paying for the repairs any more.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I test drove one at dealer in Detroit area (W. Bloomfield) and the car handled some very 'unsmooth' roads (Telegraph) riddled w/ pot-holes and did quite well- i had the same concerns, but guess I actually drove the car to make an honest opinion.
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