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If this isn't the coolest thing in the Smart car world since the Batsmart, it's at least the coldest.

Five journalists packed into two Smart Fortwo Passion Coupes (and a chase vehicle) for reasons not completely known or well understood. Their mission? To boldly go where no 1,800-pound, one-liter, three-cylinder microcar had gone before: from Dawson City, Yukon to Inuvik, Northwest Territories, in the very, very far north of Canada. The cars were loaned by Mercedes-Benz of Canada to see how the tiny whips would handle deep snow, brutal cold and rough terrain. How'd they do? Pretty damn well, actually.

Temperatures during the trip ranged from -8 degrees on the warm side down to a toenail-splitting -60 degrees Fahrenheit.
That was cold enough for the brake calipers to start freezing up on the rotors, at one point locking the front wheels of one Smart car. If you've ever been farther north than say, Wisconsin, you know that most vehicles really like to have engine warmers for those cold, winter morning starts. The Smarts, however, started without engine warmers, even after temperatures hit 40 below zero.

Over icy, windy mountains, frozen rivers and lakes, along the edges of six-foot snowdrifts cut by massive 18-wheelers barreling past, the Smarts' tiny wheels traction-controlled their way to Inuvik and back virtually without incident. Check out the full article and a pretty cool video here.


[Source: Wired]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 11 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      What was the powertrain? Diesel or gasoline?
        • 5 Months Ago
        They're most likely Gasoline as smart hasn't sold diesel since 2006, they never adapted their CDI diesel engines to the 2007 emissions standards. Having said that, the Diesel's would have started fine, my TDI has never left me stranded, I don't plug it in and it's been faithful even at temperatures close to -40 below.
        • 5 Months Ago
        I'm betting gasoline, as diesels are notoriously hard to start in cold weather.
      • 5 Years Ago
      "The Smarts, however, started without engine warmers, even after temperatures hit 40 below zero. "

      I've not plugged in my cars for over twenty years. They still start at 40 below zero. They just need to be properly cared for and a good battery. The newer they are, the easier they start.

      "loaned by Mercedes-Benz of Canada to see how the tiny whips would handle deep snow"

      At what point in the video did they handle deep snow?

      This video may impress Californians, but it doesn't impress me. I didn't see the Smart cars do anything that ANY car couldn't do.
      • 5 Months Ago
      My Chrysler 3.3 would start down to 48 below without being plugged in. I live in northern Minnesota, where I've had 62 below (air temp not wind chill). Today's fuel injection systems make for excellent cold weather starting.

      Going through drifts in very cold weather regions, like the Northern Plains or the Arctic, is not a problem, as long as there is sufficient ground clearance. The snow is dry and traction is excellent. When I drove for Fedex Ground in Southern Minnesota, I would tell the other drivers that colder is better. In below zero temps, traction is not a problem.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'm assuming the chase vehicle was there to carry the spare tires.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Artic Circle? You need a new spellcheck hat knows that the word is Arctic.
        • 5 Months Ago
        A spellcheck hat? Where can I find one of those? I can already imagine the applications (mainly applying it to the head, of course).
      • 5 Years Ago
      Well, I am from California and I thought the video was cool. What a fun drive. Didn't see any deep snow, but it would make a great trip.
      • 5 Years Ago
      That was the most fun video I have seen in a while. Bravo.
      • 5 Months Ago
      More stories like these can only help Smart. I like everything about these cars except the driving experience (yes even the relatively tame mpg). Dual clutch transmission next time please.