Denver Gets Smart – Car
Happy Earth Day. The smart car Center in Denver has been open since late February, and I recently got a chance to take a spin in one thanks to a friend at work who just purchased one. (Ok his wife did, but its his turn to show it off.)
The “Smart” of Smart Car is an acronym taken from “Swatch Mercedes ART” – as the original project was originated by the Swatch company. I’ve admired these on the streets of Europe and have seen a few out in California the past year. Now they’re an occasional sight around Denver thanks to this new dealership.
Unfortunately this elegantly compact beauty still sparks stereotypical comments of too small, too unsafe, and effeminate. (But similar emasculating insults are lofted at guys who show off expensive cars too.) Most myths are dispelled after experiencing a test ride. The seats sit quite high – higher than most compacts actually. The interior width space appears deceiving due to the front to rear bumper measurements, but inside its quite comfortable. The entire car is built around a reinforced steel shell. As described in blogs.cars.com “it’s like being encased in a walnut shell.” And I sometimes do need the jaws of life when opening walnuts.
At 47 miles per gallon and a prices ranging from $11,000 to $16,000 I have a feeling these guys will become more common on our streets. The photos are of the Cabriolet, which is the highest end model and features dual automatic/manual transmission with steering wheel mounted paddle shifters, heated seats, and a tinted sunroof. An ample cargo compartment is found in the bag, big enough to store golf clubs and other bulky gear. (Ski rack still required though.)
I’m a true fan. I love the gas mileage, clean design, and small footprint. Here’s a clip from a Boston TV station which shows the interior and a test drive: