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.