Smart, the smart car

These images are for all of the people who think Barry and I are crazy to take this car seriously. The cocoon-framed passenger pod remains intact, as it was designed to--by Mercedes Benz. [We are crazy about the car, but not crazy for being so crazy.]

We rented a Smart in Amsterdam in 2000, to get into the countryside--yes, there really is wonderful countryside, and seaside, in the densely-civic Netherlands. We both had a ball. I was astounded at how large and comforable the passenger compartment was; there is almost no suggestion of how small the car is while you are sitting inside, and it includes virtually every convenience and luxury you would want. On our rare stints on divided highways, we were able to cruise comfortably at over 80 mph.

The picture on the right shows where I ended up after maneuvering into a parking space I was afraid would be too short, even for Smart. I had thought I was almost equidistant between the vehicles in front and behind--until exiting the car. The only weird size sensation as a driver is what you get when you turn in your seat and realize that the car simply ends somewhere just behind your head, but even then you mentally tack-on some more bulk.

The only downside to the car I can come up with is the fact that it doesn't quite swallow the amount of luggage a couple of spoiled New Yorkers would bring for a much longer trip. Maybe someone can design a screw-on trunk, in the fashion of old touring cars, for the rare occasions when the passengers need more capacity.

Oh yes, one other shortcoming must be mentioned. It supposedly has no appeal for Americans, who, given their druthers, would really prefer a tank, even over the monster SUV's they currently worship. Effectively, this means Smart is illegal on our shores.

Elsewhere in the world it is a lovely, miraculous vehicle, and adorable as well. [Is an SUV ever an object of affection?]

I want the cabrio!

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Published on August 14, 2002 1:50 PM.

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