Sunday, July 08, 2007
Cars of a Smart and Small Variety
Holly called on the 6th to inform me that there was going to be a SmartCar test drive opportunity at the IMA grounds on the 7th, so of course we simply had to go. No way around it. I've fallen in love with these things since a trip to France and have been hoping that they'd show up here in SUV land pronto. It now appears that they finally have. The cars will be available for next year! They're great on gas! They're easy to maneuver! You can park-em anywhere! They have more leg room than my Accord! You can change all the body panels for a SmartCar makeover! And darn it, they're cute as buttons, they are. It's like a driveable Rollerblade boot.
The line for test drives was two hours long. Much of it in the sun. The crew there had tents for us, and water too (Smart Water, so to speak, only minus the vitamins). Holly and I held up well. As we neared the front of the line, we got to inspect one of the display models. Over 40 mpg and a trunk big enough for your subwoofer so you can cronk out in the parking lot.
The meagerly airconditioned trailer had a rather disturbing video that looped constantly of a SmartCar in slo-mo collision with a full-size Mercedes. The idea I'm sure was to show that you wouldn't turn into tinned salmon if you got in a crash with big cars, but I wouldn't have minded a wee bit more of a focus on the thing driving through curvy roads in forests and mountains and driving under city lights in this or that exotic urban area. When the time came to actually test drive the things, it turns out that my license is expired. Bad bad bad. So, after all that time waiting in line, I could only test ride, rather than test drive. The ride is quite smooth, the seats comfy, and the top-of-the-line model has a cool roof that disappears, which was way nicer than my moonroof. I had no problem whatsoever in fitting comfortably. There is less headroom in my car. They aren't for everyone, but for city driving single folks like me, it'd be perfect. Every time I have to parallel park in Lafayette, I wish I had one. So who needs a hybrid car when you can have one-a-these?