Auto Review: 2012 Smart Car
Today’s cars may not look that much different from the original models but I can assure you much has changed to make these cars more inline to what North Americans want. First off the engine is now gas instead of diesel providing enhanced performance more in line with what consumers wanted. The 999cc inline 3-cylinder engine produces 70hp and gives the car good ability to get around city traffic with no problems, an improvement over the diesel. Another big improvement was the automatic transmission (only one offered), which in the early models was extremely jerky when it moved up or down a gear, now it is much better but changing gears automatically can still be felt.
Where the Smart really stands out is the interior, it is bright and airy with lots of windows to see out of and light to come through. Surprisingly the seating area is fairly roomy due to the fact that the seating is slightly staggered with the passenger placed just a little further back. Seating it self is firm but overall comfortable, something you might expect from a car like Mercedes. As for the dash, it is nicely laid out with controls easy to reach, find and use. The storage or cargo space on a car of this size is tight. It will carry luggage for one or maybe two people if they pack on the light side, but it is there.
One on of the biggest surprises of this car is how well it handles on the highway, which is one thing I never thought this car would be good at. It’s aerodynamic shape and low centre of gravity with the engine placed low in the rear axle area gives it very good stability. Even in high winds and on a major highway, I was never concerned about the car suddenly blowing about.
My time with the Smart Car has always been fun and at a base price of $14,400, I think anyone who loves something a little different and who isn’t in a rush will love it. There is nothing like it for parking or getting around in traffic in major cities, and with a combined fuel consumption of 5.3-liters per 100 kilometres, this makes the Smart Car even more enjoyable.