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BWC High Mileage Car Review

Not Just For Croissant-Eating Europeans Anymore:

The "smart fortwo" Comes to America!

Now, If We Could Just Switch from Individually-Wrapped Slices of American Cheese to Brie, We’d Really be Sophisticated

How Euro can this car be? The smart fortwo is produced at "Smartville" in Hambach, France. The brand was established in 1994 as a joint venture of Daimler-Benz and the Swiss watch manufacturer Swatch. Today it is fully owned by Daimler AG.

Despite its blatantly anti-American (and possibly Communist) origins, the smart fortwo is a great car, and smart's production practices are more environmentally friendly than most. For example, only water-soluble paints are used for the smart's three basic colors – black, white and yellow. Painting the tridion safety cell is done via powder-coating, which removes the need for solvents. In addition, the body panels with molded-in color are fully recyclable.

The smart fortwo's extremely low exhaust emissions qualify it as an Ultra-Low Emission Vehicle (ULEV). Several clever innovations have made this possible, including positioning the catalytic converter close to the engine for a quick response, and using an electric pump to blow fresh air into the exhaust port when the engine is cold to almost completely oxidize carbon monoxide (CO) and hydrocarbons (HC) and render them harmless.

Things People Like About The fortwo:

- Great maneuverability

- Unique styling (you'll get a lot of attention in this car)

- Well-designed convertible-top operation

- Crazy tight turning radius

- Surprisingly roomy interior

- Fits into parking spots most other cars can't. Especially handy in urban parking environments.

Things People Don't Like About The fortwo:

- Rides rough over pot holes

- Engine noise

- Dealers aren’t available in all areas

- Premium fuel recommended

- Less stabile at high speeds

- Limited cargo capacity

MSRP:

$11,590 - $16,590

Fuel Economy Stats:

Estimated New EPA MPG: 33 (City), 41 (Hwy), 36 (Combined)

Cost to Drive 25 Miles: $2.39

Fuel to Drive 25 Miles: 0.69 gal

Annual Fuel Cost*: $1434

Annual Petroleum Consumption (1 barrel=42 gallons): 9.5 barrels per year

[*Based on 45% highway, 55% city driving, 15000 annual miles and a fuel price of $3.44 per gallon]

The "Nitty-Gritty" Details:

- 5-Speed Automatic Interactive Manual Transmission With Overdrive

- Automatic Interactive Manual Transmission

- Independent MacPherson Strut Front Suspension With Coil Springs and Shock Absorbers

- Rigid Beam Rear Suspension With Coil Springs and Shock Absorbers

- Front Stabilizer Bar

- Front Power Outlet

- Audio Pre-Wiring

- 4-Wheel Anti-Lock Brakes

- Front Power 279-mm Disc and Rear Power 203-mm Drum Brakes

- Hill Start Control

- Traction Control

- Electronic Stability Program (ESP(R)) Vehicle Stability Control System Operated Via - - Engine Power Reduction, ABS and Traction Control

- Corner Brake Control

- Electronic Brake Assistance

- Locking Fuel Filler Cap

- Power Tailgate Lock/Unlock

- Power Door Locks With Automatic Locking

- Keyless Entry Operated Via Key Fob

- Multi-Function Remote Operates Door Lock/Unlock, Panic Alarm and Tailgate

- Panic Button

- Remote Liftgate Release Located On Multi-Function Remote

- Cloth Seats

- Front Dual Reclining Folding Bucket Seats With Integral Headrests

- Front Dual Door Mounted Storage

- Lockable Glovebox

- Coinholder

- Clock

- Audible Warnings Include Seatbelts Unfastened

- Exterior Temperature Gauge

- Tire Pressure Monitor

- Trip Computer With Fuel Range Remaining and Trip Odometer

- Service Interval Indicator

- Projector Beam Halogen Headlights

- Entertainment, Communication & Navigation

- 2 Speakers Total

- Radio Antenna

- Carpet Located In Passenger Cabin and Cargo Area

- Leather Steering Wheel

- Fold-Down Tailgate

- Inflatable Spare Tire Kit

- Steel Wheels, Front 15-In. X 4.5-In. and Rear 15-In. X 5.5-In.

- Front SBRP155/60R15 and Rear SBRP175/55R15 All-Season Tires

- Dual Black Remote Adjustable Exterior Rearview Mirrors

- Flip-Up Liftgate Window

- Front Passenger Vanity Mirror

- Rear Window Defroster

- Dual Sunvisors

- Vehicle Speed Sensitive Variable Intermittent Windshield Wipers

- Rear Window Intermittent Wiper/Washer

- Front and Rear Body Color Bumpers

- Standard Engine: 1.0L I3

- Standard Transmission: 5 Speed Manual

- Cylinders: 3

- Front Outboard 3-Point Seatbelts

- Front Side Airbags With Head Protection

- Driver Airbag With Dual Stage Deployment

- Passenger Airbag Cutoff Sensor Activated By Weight or Installed Child Seat

- Passenger Airbag With Dual Stage Deployment

- Front Passenger Automatic Locking Retractor

- Black Tridion Safety Cell

- Pretensioners With Force Limiters

- Side Guard Door Beams

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Frontal Crash, Side Crash, And Rollover Tests:

This car is actually designed not to crash. Thus, government crash tests were physically impossible to conduct*. [*Just kidding. There are no official government safety ratings posted for this car at this time, but they’ll get around to rating it eventually.]

Recalls:

No recalls. This is a good thing. Of course, 2008 is the first model year for the US version of the smart fortwo. But still, this speaks highly of smart’s engineering.