2008 Smartcar anyone?

Discussion in 'Other Manufacturers' started by 03mini, Jul 21, 2007.

  1. 03mini

    03mini Member

    So you know, I searched about Smartcars on the forum before posting this and found nothing.

    I have to admit it was an impulsive decision on my part, but yesterday I anted up $99 to reserve a place in line for a Smartcar when they become available here in the US. Sadly they will be a gas only vehicle when introduced and I truly yearn for a Hybrid Plug In, but since my deposit is refundable I decided to save an early place in line if they prove to be a worthy/much better alternative to my Mini while I wait for the next great leap in technology.

    My first car (when I was young) was a tattered Austin Healey "bugeye" Sprite, so I was snake bit by tiny cars at a young age and I still enjoy driving them the most. My 2003 Mini Cooper is a joy to drive, but I would gladly trade it for a smaller more efficient car.

    Smartcar is being coy about the expected mileage but seems to claim an overall average of 40mpg+ in City and Highway combined. If that is truly the case, and knowing that 2008 mileage estimates will plummet for existing cars of all types, then maybe the Smart will be a good choice. Maybe, I hope so.

    So I am asking anyone here to give their opinions/thoughts about the Smartcar. Send any links you think are relevant too, please.

    FYI: for many years my driving has been over 90% in the City and I expect that to continue and probably increase.
  2. c0da

    c0da Well-Known Member

    Don't get me wrong the Smartcar isn't a bad car, but it could have been WAY better. The mileage is pretty mediocre considering its light stature. A car this small should be getting up to 50 or even 60 mpg. It's total weight is 1700lbs, but yet it doesn't get better mileage than a Honda CRX that weighs 2170lbs? I've read that the engine built for this wasn't really meant for the Smart, but was a commercial vehicle of some sort (someone here knows more about, I hope they jump in and bail me out on this).

    Honestly it's too small for my needs. I need an option for 4 seats or a trunk for my daily commutes and from what I've seen it can't provide either needs adequately. I'd rather just keep my civic with a combined 35mpg with a lot more space.
  3. brick

    brick Answers to "that guy."

    Well, I saw loads of them when I lived in Athens. My GF's German aunt has one and absolutely loves it. Safety seems adequate, you can park it anywhere, and you can always decide not to pull the trigger if it arrives and doesn't meet expectation. So hey, why not? The rest of the world doesn't seem to have a problem with the Smart and small cars in general.
  4. BailOut

    BailOut My favorite holiday is Earth Day!

    The engine is from Yamaha, and is the same one used in a lot of their sport touring motorcycle models and specialty vehicles (i.e. dune buggies). As such, that i3 is designed for lots of torque, high RPM, etc., and burns rather dirty for what it is.

    To make matters worse rather than better, the 2008 model of the Fortwo for the U.S. is abandoning the 700cc i3 and going to a 1.0L i3, again from Yamaha. While this one burns a little cleaner it will drop the mileage even further.

    If the Smart line employed an engine that had been designed with efficiency from the ground up, even if it wasn't a hybrid, it would be getting some serious mileage and would likely easily fit into the SULEV II emissions category rather than the ULEV II it is in now.

    There was another article posted here the other day about a diesel hybrid version of the Fortwo coming to the U.S. around 2011 or so. I would wait for that time.
  5. lightfoot

    lightfoot Reformed speeder

    One area where the Smart shines is park-ability. You can stuff it into spaces that no one else can touch. Since they are about as long as a "normal" car is wide, in Italy you often see them parked perpendicular to the curb. That might earn you a ticket here, but it may not be illegal if no one thought to prohibit it in the law.
    Smart argues that not having to do so much searching for a parking spot saves gas. OTOH a scooter might save even more.
    I don't know if your city driving involves parking issues.
    One is often parked in the city near where I work, a dark blue/light blue one. One of my assistants is in love with it.
  6. 03mini

    03mini Member

    Thanks for everyone's input here to my request for help,

    I truly appreciate your thoughts both pro and con, because it helps me focus on what is important for my personal situation.

    "Parkability" is not really an issue for me unless you count my cluttered garage; my Mini fits in there, so a Smartcar should easily fit. Yamaha engine...Hmmm...I did not know about that; but that is not a problem unless it is dirty and does not get the City mileage I desire. 4 seats and/or a trunk is not needed by me since I am single and only need enough room for me and one other person or groceries.

    As often as possible I shop for Groceries via my bicycle and carry them home on my bicycle, so I am sure that they will fit in a Smartcar year round. Carrying 2 bicycles on a bike rack is important to me though, my "Bones 2" bike rack will probably "morph" to fit a Smartcar. If not something will, no worries there.

    Interesting Coda that you mention the CRX, I know them well. I bought one new for a racing platform in 1988; a CRX Si which I also drove daily (racing dents, rollbar and all). It's MPG was good in stock form then but improved dramatically when I installed the following mods: race header, high flow race exhaust (the catalytic converter was left intact), race camshaft and a "high energy" ignition. I also properly "lowered it all around" with appropriate springs and shocks for "handling", but which probably lowered the aerodynamic drag on it too. It has been a long time and my memory is fuzzy, but I do remember that it definitely returned 40+ MPG per tankful overall then (I kept records even back then) including the tanks where racing was involved.

    My hope for the Smartcar is that the estimated 40+ overall MPG would be in the new, lower 2008 MPG format. If that is the case then I figured that it could possibly beat most other vehicles past, present and other 2008 cars considered to be "high mileage". If that turns out not to be the case, then I will collect my refund and patiently await my current true desire: A "Hybrid LiION Plug In straight from the Manufacturer"; capable of electrically powering most, if not all, of my City driving while offering me the flexibility to travel out of the City on the very few occasions that I need to.

    Now that my memory has been jogged by Coda; if the "Smartcar" craps out, I will consider looking for a used CRX (for dirt cheap) and then fit it with the parts that I know will improve it's mileage. All tolled, it would be a labor of love and a "high mileage gas only" car for a peanuts investment!

    Please continue to respond here to me with your thoughts and ideas about Smartcars, modified used CRX's and my "Plug In" desires.
  7. FocusGuy77

    FocusGuy77 Guy with Focus

    The del sol should be able to net you the same FE as a crx, and on a much newer platform. If I didn't have kids, I'd have bought one.....but now I'm awaiting the next iteration of the gas-fit or even diesel-fit.
  8. Pravus Prime

    Pravus Prime Banned

  9. c0da

    c0da Well-Known Member


    I had many friends that liked to race import cars and I learned quite a bit as well. The CRX was very desired because of it's lightweight and quick maneuverability. I thought of getting one, but it's really hard to find one in good condition around here. And if you do find one it's usually been raced, modified, and abused pretty badly. Makes me wish I was a mechanic.

    Good luck finding one though if you do consider it. :)
  10. 03mini

    03mini Member

    Thanks for the Del Sol idea.

    I now look back and realize that my 1988 CRX Si was the best car I have ever owned for both "on and off" track use. I was simply amazed then when I added a bunch of "racing" parts to it and they improved it's gas mileage dramatically. I bought it new, raced it hard from day one for four years, modified it when I could afford, then sold it (dirt cheap) to my nephew when it had about 25k miles on the clock. It was dented and scuffed all over from racing but since it had never landed upside down it was safe and very mechanically sound.

    My nephew drove it daily since the early 90's until 6 months ago when the timing belt broke and scattered the engine (I told him to have the TB replaced every 60k miles but over time he forgot). Even so that CRX made it to 190k miles, still had the original factory clutch in it and continued to give him an overall average of 40+mpg when he killed it!

    I wish I could get my hands on a decent CRX Si, modify it like I did and then set it up/drive it for mileage.
  11. 03mini

    03mini Member

    Sorry, another gas mileage "Gem" from my past:

    In the early 1980's I bought a new Mazda B2000 (manual trans) Pickup to haul my motorcycles around in. It was cheap, gray in color, ugly and slow. But it had a lot of torque, was dependable and got the job done. In the mid to late 80's a friend and me loaded two HD Sportsters into its bed along with enough tools, luggage and "stuff" for a week in Florida for "Motorcycle Speedweeks".

    That was a 2400 mile round trip and my "bone stock" Mazda Pickup returned 40mpg "Highway" then, even loaded down as it was. That MPG number is factual; since I had not done much highway driving with it previously I was curious and did the math correctly. That made a positive impression on me then so I remember it well.

    My B2000 ran good until around 1994 and 80k miles; then the frame disintegrated just behind the cab so I sold it for $300.00 to a guy that needed a "parts donor" for his B2000.

    Why have vehicles like this and the CRX not evolved into better platforms for even greater mileage and dependability today? Ya I know, thats a rhetorical question and I am "preaching to the choir". Better that I should ask that of a Mammoth SUV driver with no passengers on board the next time I ride my bicycle to the store for my weekly groceries. Ya right. :rolleyes:
  12. c0da

    c0da Well-Known Member

    Over the years they just got bigger and faster with more and more gadgets to weigh the car down. Then they started adding size and weight on purpose because it was "safer." Tell that to people to skid off the side of the road or slam into a car because their car was way to heavy to stop or nimble enough to avoid a collision.

    There is a new CRX coming out from Honda as a 2010 model so it will probably be out mid/late 2009. I have high hopes for this and I'll be saving to get it.
  13. 03mini

    03mini Member

    New CRX? I will have to look into that. Do you know any web site links regarding it?
  14. c0da

    c0da Well-Known Member

  15. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi 03Mini:

    ___Do a search not on SMARTCars but SMART and many of the news items and posts will be revealed. I think we even did a news item on the SMART as we saw them at NAIAS 2007 earlier this year. Tons of pics in the gallery as well :)

    ___Watch for a great review of the 08 Smart Fortwo by Pravus Prime in early October of this year as he will have access to the yet to be released US compliant version prior to its public debut.

    ___Good Luck

  16. 03mini

    03mini Member

    Thanks xcel and Coda,
    I will head to the CRX link now. I hope it will be a Hybrid Plug In when it comes out.
  17. ILAveo

    ILAveo Well-Known Member

    Smart cars look like a ton of fun (or are they a little lighter?) and may be a little safer than other cars in their class. Check out this crash test video from the British TV show 5th Gear-- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ju6t-yyoU8s.
  18. 03mini

    03mini Member

    Will do!
  19. deezle

    deezle Well-Known Member

    I see a little misinformation posted here about the smart (sorry BailOut).
    To find a wealth of info on the smart, please visit clubsmartcar.ca or the officialsmartUSAI've owned a smart (diesel) for 2 1/2 years and can attest to what great little cars they are. Just a blast to drive and safe as well. Ours uses about 4.2 litres per 100km, which translates to about 50 mpg U.S (sorry, I haven't done the exact conversion yet). That's without even trying---I've no doubt that most of the members here could do MUCH better.

    The '08 smart will be sold in the U.S. starting next spring---though only the gas version will be available with a Mitsubishi-built engine. Deposits are now being accepted by smart USA. There was a considerable waiting list when smarts were introduced in Canada, so I expect the same will happen in the U.S.
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2007

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