Smarting off

There’s one smart fortwo I see on a regular basis, but only the one. I caught a glimpse of the driver once: female, slender, stylish. If you, like me, are the opposite of these three things, this is the story you’re looking for:

Johnny is six-foot-two and “a lot of pounds.” Yours truly is six-foot-flat and also “a lot of pounds.” The Smart Car is 8.8 feet long (three feet less than a Mini Cooper), 5.1 feet tall and 5.1 feet wide. There’s not a joke you can think of that didn’t already pop into my mind (most of them involved Crisco) when the two of us decided to take the Smart out for a spin yesterday afternoon.

Surprisingly, we both fit. I’m not going to lie; it was pretty tight with two big boys inside, but we were both comfortable. The problem wasn’t with leg room or head room (there was plenty of both) but in the width; then again, part of that problem was our own width more than the car’s. Two average-size people (or even one XL and one average-size person) would do just fine.

Okay, fine. How does it drive?

While I wouldn’t take it out to the drag strip anytime soon (0-60 in twelve seconds), the car seemed peppy enough to get up to speed and hold its own on the Interstate. The Smart (made by Mercedes) received a five-star crash rating, due to its steel passenger cage and six airbags. I can’t imagine much would be left of the little thing, but supposedly it’s pretty safe for its cargo. Unfortunately, not even Mercedes could help the Smart’s suspension. Even with decent shocks and 15″ wheels, the car rides like any other eight-foot-long car … kind of like a go-kart.

And it might be a touch speedier if it’s not occupied by someone about my size (five foot twelve, a lot of stone).


  1. fillyjonk »

    29 August 2008 · 9:58 am

    And I suspect that driving one of those things other than in tightly-controlled, non-truck city centers, will take a lot of STONES.

    Other than my to work and back driving (which I could substitute a bicycle for if I had a halfway decent sense of balance), most of my driving is on the 69/75 corridor, and the though of being in one of those cat-food cans, surrounded by 18 wheelers and dodgily-maintained buses, scares the heck out of me.

  2. McGehee »

    29 August 2008 · 10:46 am

    Fillyjonk’s comment answers why I have never seen a Fortwo in Atlanta — I never venture off the NASCAR — er, I mean interstate — when I go in.

    Out here in Coweta County I would expect one of those to serve mainly as a conversation — er, I mean point-and-laugh piece. Anyway, the way people here drive they still wouldn’t be able to keep it on their own side of the danged double-yellow.

  3. anon in tx »

    29 August 2008 · 1:38 pm

    They were not exactly rare on the Autobahn when I was there in ’06.

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