To Smart or Not To Smart







My car is dead. Okay, it’s not entirely dead. Sometimes it doesn’t. Last night it didn’t and I was stranded…again.



We took it to a mechanic, but my tricksey little Saturn started right up for him every time so he couldn’t figure out what the problem might be. It’s a little like playing Russian roulette…will it start today or will it not. It’s a fun little game. Will I have to remain at my meeting, church, or the Pizza Hut long after everyone else has gone home or might there be a chance the engine will turn over this time? Hmmm.

So, despite the fact that I really like my Saturn…it gets 42 miles per gallon, I am, in self defense, looking for a new car. Here are my perimeters: It has to be relatively safe…I’m expected a baby granddaughter…tee hee. It has to get at least 40 miles to the gallon…I mean, come on, gas prices….let’s catch up here technology. And, of course, and this is a no brainer…it has to be cute.

Don’t get me wrong…I like the look of some of the big gas hogs out there. My son in law has a jeep…that’s cute. And I have a big ass pickup truck that I like to pull the horse trailer.

But this would be MY car. MINE. For the first time since my teenage years I plan to get a car just for myself. So I’m thinking about the Smart. Here it is. I love the way it looks. Love it. But is it safe enough? Is it gas efficient enough (38-41 mpg)? Is it practical enough (it doesn’t even pretend to have a backseat).  So what do you think? Anyone drive a Smart? Anyone have another suggestion? I’d appreciate advice. Cuz if it doesn’t have four legs I don’t know much about it.

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22 Responses to To Smart or Not To Smart

  1. michelehauf says:

    The Smart is awesome and has a lot of room up front (just like in my Mini). But, no putting the grandbaby in the backseat, because there isn’t one. !!! I could so see you in that car, though. How about a Mini? We could duel over who has the cutest car. (I would totally win.) 🙂

  2. Cindy Gerard says:

    First – Congratulations on becoming a Gramma Lois! You’re going to love it — and you’ll be GREAT at it!
    I’ve had a Toyota Camery hybrid for 4 years. I LOVE it. There’s room for car seats and I get between 37 – 42 MPG and I feel safe in it. Next car I get will have to get at least the same mileage or I’m not having it. Good luck with your search.
    PS – When I was in Italy a few years ago 99% of the people in Rome had either a Smart car or a motorinee (motor cycle). We saw 4 guys pick one up once and move it out of a tight parking space.

  3. loisgreiman says:

    Michele, I can’t get a mini because you WOULD win. You have the adorable dragon fly on the hood.

  4. loisgreiman says:

    Cindy, that’s so cool that they can move a car by hand. Funny. I think the Smart only weighs about 600 pounds.

  5. Robin Kaye says:

    I have a prius, I get over 45 miles a gallon, I have a nice sized back seat, and I’ve even been able to fit a queen-size headboard in it (and closed the hatch) I think the smart car isn’t quite so smart. Look at the prius.

  6. Linda says:

    I personally would never own a smart cart- I drive an hour and half to work on an interstate and cannot imagine that surviving an accident.. right now I drive an older Taurus and get 32, my aunt drives an Toyota Camry and gets 39 avg. have looked at the Mini Coopers and think they are much safer then the the (tin can) Smart car. And the Mini is definitely cuter too. Besides without a back seat there is no place for a car seat for that new baby!

  7. Alison Henderson says:

    On our last vacation, the rental car company only had a little red Fiat 500 left. I’m not sure about the mileage, but it was SOOOOO cute! We got lots of stares, and people stopped us on the streee to ask how we liked it. It even has a back seat.

  8. Leanne says:

    My husband debated between getting a Smart car and a Yaris. He went with the Yaris for safety and warranty considerations. He also has a Rodeo that seems not to have any shocks. I try my best to never ride in his vehicles. Much prefer my six-year old Toyota Solara, and that’s the one we always take for road trips. Plus, it’s RED!:) Good luck!

  9. loisgreiman says:

    Thanks a lot for your advice, Robin. I do love the Priuz but I think it’s out of my sad little price range.

  10. loisgreiman says:

    Linda, Okay, the Smarty isn’t exactly a luxury car. My husband probably would never ride in it. And possibly the baby would refuse. 🙂 It’s really roomy inside though and have I mentioned its cuteness?

  11. Congrats on the grandbaby. SOO much fun! 🙂

    NO on the SMART car. Safe ratings aren’t great AT all…plus no back seat.

    I’m getting abotu 24 MPG with my Infinity, which is much better than predicted but I think it’s how I drive more than the car. If you do the math on what extra $$ you might spend on gas, safety of the car is so much more important than saving $ 50 a year.

    But post pictures of what you get!

  12. librarypat says:

    My Saturn is a 2000 six cylinder with 260,000 miles and I don’t want to part with it. On trips it gets about 32 mpg. Our daughter’s 4 cylinder got 38 or so. She cried when she had to get rid of hers. I am holding on to mine as long as I can. I think it is criminal that the car companies have not developed a car that gets over 50 mpg. In the 1980’s there were 10 cars that got at least 40 mpg (I found an old magazine and that was the cover). They keep giving us bells and whistles that we don’t need and tend to be things that need repair. Give me a plain Jane vehicle that gets great mileage and is dependable. America is too spread out for public transportation to be an option for many of us, so get on the stick auto makers and give us something worth driving. I can’t believe that in over 20 years they couldn’t have developed something. Saturn was a good company and put out good cars with above average mileage and dependability, so of course they shut them down. Consumers wanted them and dealers wanted them, so why were they disbanded? They had an electric car in the works when they were closed. I’d be curious to know what happened to the plans and development.

  13. Susan Frank says:

    I was first exposed to the Smart when we were in Germany in 2000. They are all over the place there. I saw lots of them on the autobahn – they seemed to be ok there. Of course, I also found that German drivers are MUCH more polite than US drivers. I’ve seen a fair number of Smarts even here in Fredericksburg VA. I love them, though it would not work for me.

  14. loisgreiman says:

    Thanks, LibraryPat. Very thought provoking.

  15. Car, schmar. Who cares?


    (Myriad exclamation marks coming from me? Yes! Yes, yes!)

  16. loisgreiman says:

    🙂 Granddaughter! Lona Seraphina. 🙂

  17. loisgreiman says:

    Kathy, I need all your grandmotherly expertise!

  18. Kylie Brant says:

    Awwww…don’t you just love it when they are already named? Makes it seem like they are already here. When will she arrive?

    No, on the Smart car. Lona cannot ride safely in the Smart car. Look at the Prius. They’re attractive, green and safe.

  19. Marilyn says:

    I’ve heard (don’t know for sure) that the Honda Fit gives a better ride, has more room and gets mileage almost as good as a Smart car. You could research it and see. I drive a brand spanking new Honda Accord. It gets around 23-24 in the city and 32-33 on the highway. Not the greatest mileage but it beats a Hummer. 😉 What it IS is SAFE! I have a brand new Accord because my old 2006 Accord was totaled in an accident a couple months ago. But the car did what it was designed to do: protect me. The front end crumpled and the energy of the collision (a car pulled out from the median of a 4-lane highway in front of me at night and I t-boned it doing 60 mph) rippled down both sides and across the roof. I had whiplash, seatbelt bruises and a fractured foot. But I’m alive! When I began to look for a new car, I figured the old Accord had done a mighty fine job of protecting me and so I got another one.

    Here’s a link from Motor Trend of the cars that they put in the 40 mpg Club:

    Congrats on the granddaughter! My son and DIL are expecting #2 around November 1st. We don’t know the gender yet. We’re all excited, especially the soon-to-be big sister.


  20. So thrilled to hear about the granddaughter!!! You will be an AWESOME gramma, so don’t get a bitty little car and end up squashed on the freeway! Our sons each got a Prius and I want one soooo badly. Those cars make so much sense, these days!

  21. mjfredrick says:

    I always see Smart cars and wonder how they go to the grocery store. I have a Mini Cooper Clubman (the wagon). I drive 40 miles a day round trip and get gas every 2 weeks. I’ve yet to pay $50 for a tank, even getting the top grade. It’s a very solid little car, too. Also, my husband drives a Scion, which was mine before the Cooper. It’s a perfect car for a small family and gets good gas mileage too.

  22. loisgreiman says:

    Thanks for the link, Marilyn. That was helpful. By all accounts, the Prius is hard to beat for my needs. Hmmm

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