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Monday, July 21, 2008

Getting SMARTer ?

This photograph only from carsandtuning.org
(I just had to have a red one in there ;)

I'm please to report that I see more and more SMART cars around these days, and not just in San Francisco.

There are flocks of them in France, especially in Paris (in fact, it is not unusual to see a few of the same color parked in a row), but they've only become available in the USA since 2008, on a wait list basis.

True, they're a little bit on the small size, but that is kind of the point.

They're fun and easy to drive, easy on the gaz, and ...

... you can even park them with your fingers!

* * * * *

For additional information about the SMART, click here

In a different style, also check out this French classic car, just for fun.



Blogger Le Piou said...

Yeah but yu have to wait one FULL year before getting yours...

7:03 AM  
Anonymous from cali said...

I've even seen them in the little city where I work. They are so cute.

12:14 PM  
Blogger AphotoAday said...

Cute car -- I saw one on the freeway the other day and wondered what it was...

From the link you gave I just read: "The 2008 Smart "ForTwo" achieved the highest ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) for front and side crashworthiness." --Ok, sounds good, but it still looks like a death-trap to me...

Good price, starting at $13,590, and gets 40/45 MPG under '07 standards, and 33/41 under '08 standards...

I bought a Prius about 16 months ago -- about double the price of the Smart, but I get 54 MPG around town (if I don't run air conditioning or the heater)...   The Prius actually gets worse mileage on the freeway, which is the reverse of a normal car...   One thing they don't tell you when you buy a Prius is that you'll wear out a set of tires in 30,000 miles because it is extremely heavy for a little car -- all those heavy batteries, generator, and electric motors...   Brakes are supposed to last a long, long time because most all of your brakeing is done with the generator...   Another thing I don't like about the Prius is very wide corner-posts, which can obscure vision especially when going around corners... But overall, I'm happy with the Prius -- it's such a "chick magnet" (and if you believe that, you don't know me very well)...

I wonder what Ralph Nader would think of the Smart...   Back in the '60's he had a real bone to pick with the rear engine Corvair for it's crash un-worthiness...

2:06 PM  
Blogger claude said...

C'est une voiture de poche, un vrai petit pot de yaourth !

10:56 PM  
Blogger claude said...

Je viens de voir que tu as traduit mon post de samedi pour Abraham Lincoln. J'en suis très touvchée et te remercie vivement, c'est vachement sypa de ta part.Je lui ai fait signe pour qu'il vienne lire cette traduction.
Mon anglais n'arrive pas à la cheville du tien. Un GRAND MERCI à toit !

11:11 PM  
Blogger Tomate Farcie said...

Claude: Oui, c'est un petit suisse! Quoi, elle ne sont pas encore arrivees au Mans? Eh bien, on va vous en envoyer alors ;) Ici, la liste d'attente est un an, en effet. A propos de la traduction, bof, c'est pas grand chose, c'est comme tu disais l'autre jour, entre bloggeurs il faut bien s'entre-aider un peu ! :)

12:38 AM  
Anonymous damien said...

J'espere qu'avec une pub pareille ils t'ont offert au moins un retroviseur.. ou une alloc'

7:25 PM  
Blogger Tomate Farcie said...

Don: I just don't think of the Prius as a babe magnet, honestly! Quite the opposite, I think, but maybe it's just me! ;)

And I'm sure that SMART wouldn't last long if it had to "meet" with a MUNI bus or an SUV but neither would my Honda, I suppose, and this looks like a really good city car that would fit most people's needs. Clearly not for a family, though.

Interesting comments on the PRIUS, and good to know, too.

Damien: Tu sais, quand je fais un post sur un truc Apple on me dit que je bosse pour Apple, et quand j'en fais un pour un truc Windows on me dit que je suis a la solde de Microsoft... Non, non, je ne travaille pour personne ! ;) Pour dire la verite, la SMART me fait tout simplement un peu baver d'envie alors voila, je m'en suis mis plein la vue. Ceci dit, s'ils veulent m'envoyer un cheque, aucun probleme.

7:57 PM  
Blogger Tomate Farcie said...

Don I had an "experience" with a Prius driver at the Costco parking lot a couple of months ago, and I am now totally convinced that Prius drivers have a huge blind spot in the back which prevents them from seeing smaller cars and lower to the ground (like CRX's, Mazda Miata's, etc) behind them. The trunk of the Prius seems real high (from where I was sitting at least)

And that lady seemed to have quite a bit of difficulty getting into the parking spot in front of her, as well. How much difficulty came from her lack of skill and how much came from the car, I don't know, but I don't think you can beat little cars for manoeuvering in tight parking spots, they're clearly the best for that task.

8:11 PM  
Blogger claude said...

C'est une petite voiture pour une grande ville, moi j'ai une grosse voiture pour un p'tit bled !

12:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A friend of ours lives in Italy and she bought one of the first Smart cars that came out. Her reason was that there were places near where she worked that could fit a smaller car so she got the Smart car and claimed one of those spots. She loves it and gets good gas mileage.

When they started to import them here they had to be retrofitted with different things to meet the US Requirements for automobiles and that tacked on several more thousands of dollars to the price. So they are not as cheap as they are in Europe.

2:07 AM  
Blogger claude said...

Quand j'ai commencé mon blog, il va y avoir deux ans, je postais tous les 2 ou trois jours et puis j'ai attrapé le virus et je suis daily maintenant ou presque, puisque le week-end (dimanche et lundi pour moi, en général je ne poste pas). That is better to be really into computer that to be hoocked on somethings bad. Mon ordi est la drogue à moi !

12:51 AM  
Blogger melanie said...

Et voilà que les Américains se mettent à abandonner les grosses voitures pour les petites Smart. Bravo mais n'est-ce pas trop tard ? le pétrole s'épuise ! Nous l'aurons bien gaspillé.

5:30 AM  
Blogger Olivier said...

merci pour ton passage sur mon blog. Belle série sur la Smart, j'espère qu'ils en feront en mode électrique, surtout que cela ne doit pas consommer grand chose et que c'est une voiture de ville.
J'aime bien ton post sur le Bastille's Day

9:16 AM  
Blogger lyliane said...

On voit que l'essence devient chère aussi aux states! Il y a quelques années mes amis québecquois étaient vraiment surpris de voir de si petites voitures et les trouvaient rigolotes.

5:39 AM  
Blogger Aloha said...

I want one there so cute! Make mine Red.

10:11 PM  
Blogger Françoise said...

10 years ago I landed in Amsterdam with a granddaughter and she wouldn't believe that the tiny little cars she saw everywhere were *real cars*. She must have taken a whole roll of film to show her dad back in the US. We saw none in Belgium or in France at that time. To me they make perfect sense in a city and none on the freeway where any crash would be lethal.
On the gas saving front, one of our local (Portland, OR) TV station featured a little known inexpensive gas saving process based on water and baking powder. I kid you not. Vraiment, je vous jure!
I'll be posting the info on my site this weekend and if any one has experience with this, I'd love to hear from you.

6:36 AM  
Blogger L.C.McCabe said...

We traveled to France last year and saw Smart cars all over the place. Then we saw one that was a convertible and my husband said that if that was available here that he'd buy one.

So your post with the picture of the red cabriolet was what I was looking for. I showed him the link to the SF dealership and he became very interested. Still he knew it wasn't the same design that he thought was so chaud.

We discovered that it must have been the Roadster.


Nonetheless, we decided to take the plunge and make a reservation for the metallic blue with black trim cabriolet.

Thanks to you.



P.S. I did see some of those other classic cars in the Midi Pyrenees on our trip.

9:24 PM  
Blogger Tomate Farcie said...

lcmccabe: Congratulations! I hope you enjoy your new cute little car! I guess I was advertising, after all ;)

Francoise: I saw your post about baking powder and water; I think you'd have to run it by a chemist or someone like that to know whether it's a good idea or not. Maybe one of the smart French kids who stop by here from time to time can respond to your post?

Thank you, everybody for taking the time to leave a comment! I didn't know these cars were so popular, at least on line! ;)

11:17 AM  
Blogger Tomate Farcie said...

By the way, that Roadster looks really cool!! I have never seen one in person, though. It looks like it might be hard to see through the back window, though?

11:20 AM  
Blogger Louis la Vache said...

The Smart has an interesting history. The watch maker Swatch approached Mercedes about building a high quality small car designed, like the Swatch watch, to be customizable by the owner. Thus the body panels were designed in bright colors and in the original concept could be changed. The deal was struck. Tooling was ordered, a plant was built to produce the car. At the last moment, Swatch backed out of the deal, leaving Mercedes with a plant not tooled to build any Mercedes model, not to mention piles of parts, etc. What to do? Thus the Swatch car became the Smart and Mercedes put it on sale in Europe. In Europe, it has never sold at a volume that is profitable for Mercedes and a couple of years ago, Mercedes - at the time having plenty of other problems - was ready to pull the plug on the Smart. At the time, Mercedes still owned Chrysler and had Dieter Z. ("Louis" forgets his last name) running Chrysler. With Mercedes in upheaval because of quality issues and other problems, they decided to bail out of Chrysler and brought Dieter Z. back to Germany. When Dieter learned that M-B was about to kill the Smart, he said, "Wait. Let's selli it in the U.S." He was almost laughed out of the boardroom. "All Americans buy are pickups and SUVs! The Smart won't sell there!" But Dieter had an instinct that the timing was right and persevered. Now the Smart is backordered for months and Dieter Z. looks like a genius....

9:32 PM  

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