By now we’ve all seen them. Those itty bitty cars parked in impossibly small spaces that some laud are the next step towards saving the planet. Now what I am about to say will likely incite anger and repulsion. If any environmentalists actually read my blog I would surely be inundated with hate mail. Luckily, the only people who read it are my dad and my roommate. And whatever I write, they have to still love me afterwards.
But here it goes: I hate the Smart car. I think they look ridiculous and object to them on several grounds. 1. safety. 2. design. 3. intelligence. Besides, we’ve had Smart cars for a long time – they are called Geo Metros.
Here is a snippet of a recent conversation I had with my friend Ryan who is obsessed with them. He was excited that you could get a fully loaded one for about 12 grand. I was not impressed.
ME: Dude. I would so laugh at you if you bought one. You can’t even go grocery shopping with one of those. Where would you put the bags? And I am not even sure if you can fit another person in that. What if you had a kid? Where we would you strap the car seat – the roof?
We just need to demand auto manufacturers make a smarter vehicle – not a smaller car. Jeez, we invented the atom bomb. I think we can figure out how to build a better combustion engine. Those Smart cars are a fad that will appear in the ‘out’ column in Newsweek two years from now. You heard it here first.
I don’t even think you could fit a midget girlfriend in one of those things. There’s probably no room for a cup holder. And if you could, you couldn’t fit both midget girlfriend and cup holder inside. I mean, I am all for saving the planet, but I would cut the person who told me to give up my Subaru. I compost! I recycle!
If you must go small, I advocate the Mini Cooper. Now that is a thing of beauty. Nimble and speedy. Sporty and small. You can park it anywhere and it’s not that bad in the snow. That is how environmentalism should be. You shouldn’t have to drive with your eco-friendly coffee cup between your legs or sacrifice having kids because you can’t fit them in the car. I’d like to meet the genius who came up with the idea of the Smart car as appropriate for American markets. What a boob.
It’s Darwinism at its worst. You can’t see it on the road. It looks lame. I don’t care what the crash ratings say. From what I’ve read, there isn’t real crash data yet.
Sidenote: I think you hit a weird nerve of mine with that Smart car thing. I didn’t even realize I had these feelings about them.
HIM: You’re having these feelings because you’re averse to change. I had the same thing when the Prius’ came around. Now that I see them daily however I don’t think twice. I guarantee you that the Smart car will be around longer than 2 years. So, you are wrong. And you drive a Subaru. Did you know they got such horrible gas mileage that they had to lobby to get listed as an SUV instead of a car? Please don’t cut me for saying that.
ME: I feel like I was just slapped. I am aware that Subarus could get better gas mileage. That’s why I Caltrain it. But I am also aware that my WRX kicks ass. Almost every time I fill up some dude asks, “Is your car fun to drive?” And I get to say “yes.” That is why you are wrong about the Smart car thing. Americans will not stand for Smart cars for the following reasons:
1. Our country is big. People often have to drive to work or to visit friends, relatives and Wal-Mart. Public transportation is never a top priority for politicians who will never give it the funding it needs to make a truly efficient and comprehensive system. So people will continue to drive and continue to push for alternative fuels and better fuel cells.
2. It snows in the majority of states. Try putting snow tires on those Smart cars.
3. Americans like big things. Hence inventions like the Big Gulp, the jumbo hotdog and Costco. We don’t do anything small. Have you been to Texas?
4. America likes speed. That’s why we have NASCAR.
5. Americans like to tailgate. Where would you put the cooler in one of those?
6. Americans are social. Where would you put your friends?
7. Americans are big. And I don’t just mean obese. But tall. How would you spread out in one of those?
8. American women have big purses. Where would you put it in a Smart car?
9. Americans like to drive with their pets. There is no room for Fido in one of those.
10. Americans are innovative. We don’t need those tiny twosomes to cut down on fuel emissions. Either we’ll figure it out ourselves, or we’ll all buy motorcycles. Hello Harley Davidson.
HIM: Actually, I completely agree with you about Americans loving big things… being from the Midwest I associate with everything you listed. I am simply stating that you WILL see a trend change in our society. I will stand by my statement that the Smart car is here for good. You will also see more manufacturers start to develop similar cars if you haven’t noticed this already.
We’re at best 10-15 years away from a solid battery powered car that goes more than 10 feet or a viable fuel cell. And in the meantime with us relying on alternatives such as ethanol (also our food supply) we’re going to be paying out the wazzoo on both gasoline & food. Other than our homes those are the top two expenses people have in life so you will definitely see a trend change out of necessity.
The use of ethanol in vehicles is good for farmers currently but it’s a terrible plan for society as a whole. You’re going to start hearing more stories about starving children in Africa because of our need for fuel …The bright side of it is that you’ll no longer be seeing the stupid yuppies driving SUVs and never once taking them off road. It sickens me to see these huge vehicles built for a specific purpose and wasted on people who do nothing but tool around town in areas that NEVER snow.
ME: I agree. Ethanol is not the way to go. Starving children in Africa is bad. And the fields and fields of corn strip the soil and remind me of the movie Children of the Corn. But a car that seats two people is not smart. They are great for finding a parking space and not much else. Besides, if you’re in the city, you already have public transportation for errands or car-sharing companies like Zipcar. And if you’re only building a two seater – then just get a motorcycle with a sidecar. At least then you get to wear cool hats.
But my big argument is safety. Manufacturers focus on the safety of the shell of the Smart car. You would NEVER run again if you were in an accident in one. There’s a video on Youtube of a simulated crash. Look at what happens to the space where your legs would be in the slower speed crashes. High speed crashes and you’re toast. Hybrids are great. And bigger. Bring on the Prius.
Lastly, you can’t control other drivers on the road. There will always be people who can pay for the gas no matter the price and who will use large vehicles. I for one am not putting my life in the hands of anyone else – especially people who can afford a better attorney.