Archive for the ‘Smart Cars’ Category

Less Pain at the Pump

It’s almost impossible to remember the last time I watched a newscast that didn’t include2009 Ford Escape Hybrid a report on the rising price of gas. As the numbers break the $4 a gallon mark, even those who can afford the $100 tank of gas are rethinking their choices.

The one-two punch of environmental awareness and soaring gas prices has led GM to shun its behemouth Hummer and has made the used SUV market a bargain for anyone who doesn’t mind making up for it at the gas pump.

So now, some good news: GM has turned its attention to the Volt, its plug-in hybrid, with production set for 2010. For those who don’t want to wait, CarandDriver.com has released its list of the 10 most fuel-efficient vehicles in the U.S.

It’s no surprise to find the Toyota Prius at the top of that list. The highly praised Prius has become a celebrity in its own right and the symbol for all things green. With 48 mpg/highway and 45 mpg in the city, no other car can touch this one. Yet.

Following on its heels are the 2008 Honda Civic Hybrid (45/highway, 40/city); the tiny Smart Fortwo (41/highway, 33/city); the 2008 Nissan Altima Hybrid (35/highway, 33/city); and the 2008 Toyota Camry Hybrid (34/highway, 33/city).

Rounding out the top 10 list are the 2009 Volkswagen Jetta TDI, the 2009 Ford Escape Hybrid, the ’08 Toyota Yaris, the ’08 Mini Cooper and the 2008 Honda Fit. See the whole story here.

They’re Cute, But How Smart Are They?

Posted in: General, Smart Cars

Smart fortwo car

No, I’m not talking about the guys on the new season of “The Bachelorette.” I’m talking about the cute-as-a-bug Smart fortwo cars, the Mercedes-Benz by-product that came to the U.S. with its 2008 model and now has a year-long waiting list.

With mileage in the 40 mpg range, and options that let you customize this half-pint cruiser to fit your personality, the Smart fortwo has definitely won over American hearts. But for those who care about more than just mileage, the big question has constantly been “Is it safe?”

Granted, crawling inside one of these surprisingly spacious mini-cars (it makes the Mini Cooper look like a moving van…) will inevitably bring up the question of safety. Citing factors such as steel bracing, elevated seat design and a specially designed steel “crash box,” Smart has stood by the safety of its cars since day one.

This weekend, a report on CNN reinforced what Smart-smitten consumers have hoped for when it aired an interview with Russ Rader of the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety. That stiff safety cage and other design features earned the Smart fortwo the Institute’s two highest ratings in a high-speed crash. It earned an “A” (for “Acceptable”) in both front and rear-end collisions for cars in their class.

Keep in mind the last four words of that sentence – they’re saying that, if you want to downsize your automobile, the Smart fortwo is a good bet; just don’t expect the same safety benefits of such gas-guzzling behemoths as the Hummer or Escalade. It does mean, however, that if you want to reduce the emissions you’re contributing to the planet and save a few bucks on your gas bill at the same time, this is a good way to go.

And face it, when’s the last time you found something that was cute, Smart and didn’t mind sleeping in the garage all night?