The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Smart car providing smart consumers options

By Kendra Ludwick/reporter

With gas prices rising, students with limited funds may consider the new Smart car, but may have concerns on the safety of the breadbox on wheels.

According to the Smart car Web site, it is “a car that offers maximum comfort, agility, safety, ecology and driving fun.”

According to www.edmunds.com, the Smart car’s life began in the early ’90s as a partnership between Mercedes-Benz and the Swiss watch manufacturer, Swatch.

The two companies had a vision of a funky city car for the 21st century, but the relationship broke down and Mercedes was left to finish the project.

The Smart car is part of DaimlerChrysler and offers 40 mpg in the city and 45 mpg on the highway.

Among the available options are a coupe and coupe convertible with a 3-cylinder, 1-liter gasoline-powered engine.

With gas prices squarely past the $3-a-gallon mark again, “timing couldn’t be any better,” Bob Cosmai, a consultant and former CEO of Hyundai Motor America, said in a USA Today article.

The Smart car will be priced in three versions: the $11,590 base-level Pure; the more decked-out and most popular $13,590 Passion; and top-of-the-line $16,590 convertible Passion Cabriolet.

With 70 horsepower and a top speed of 90 mph, this is not one’s average “hot rod.” 

Being only 8 feet, 2.5 inches long, less than 5 feet wide and about 5 feet tall, the Smart car promises even a 6-foot 4” man can get in and out of the car easily.

Advertising campaigns show the consumer that the Smart car is safe.

Most people would be skeptical about the car’s safety, especially because of its size.

Smart car likes to show off a 30-mph crash test between a Smart coupe and a Mercedes sedan twice as big. “The passenger cell survived the collision almost unscathed,” spokeswoman Julia Knittel said in an MSNBC article.

Adrian Lund of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is not impressed by such claims, saying, “Every carmaker advertises that they have the state-of-the-art design on safety.”

But he adds that as long as the imports meet with federal approval, “they’re not unsafe.”

“On the other hand,” he said, “they are small and lightweight and cannot protect you” as well as a larger car. Fatalities are much higher with small, lightweight vehicles.”

Safety could draw concern from parents putting their children in these cars. The safety factor would outweigh the money incentive any day.

“If everyone drove the Smart car, then it would be safe. There is no way the structure of the Smart car would hold up to a vehicle weighing three times its mass impacting it,” a collision theory expert in Colleyville said.

For students, this car could be a gas saver and an economic way of driving where they need to go.

But, with only two seats, this space could be a little cramped when it comes to college students wanting to cruise around.

A waiting list is available if anyone is interested in buying the Smart car. There is also a refundable deposit of $99 to put down when signing to buy the car.

Dealers are not announcing a set time for availability. An estimated time of when the car will be delivered will be given to the person making the deposit.

More men than women have put down a deposit.

“The target customer will not be defined by age or income but by attitude and lifestyle,” David Schembri, president of Smart USA, said.

For more information on the Smart car, visit www.smartusa.com.

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