Mike Becvar
Mike’s Take on the World

May 14, 2008

Driving the smart fortwo

Filed under: Life in General — Mike @ 11:40 am

OK, I have been driving my smart fortwo for just under a month. I have driven more than 800 miles and made three trips to the gas station. Last time, I purchased just over 7 gallons of gas after driving more than 280 miles. Quick math says I got 40 mpg. That easily beats the 17 mpg I get on my TrailBlazer.

The smart fortwo is only the fourth car I have ever owned. In college, I had a used ‘91, 2-door, 4×4 Chevy S-10 Blazer. It was my first car and for the most part served me well. I think it broke down twice, the alternator and the distributor cap. After graduating from college, I upgraded to the ‘98 4-door Chevy Blazer. Since it had four doors, it was a little bigger and roomier than my first Blazer. It also served me well. I think the only problems were a corroded battery connector and a cracked windshield. In December 2003, I thought I could take advantage of the end-of-year sales and purchased the 2004 Chevy Trailblazer. It was bigger (both longer and wider) than my previous Blazer. It is a little harder fitting it in my one car garage, but I feel that it fits me perfectly. Chevy did a good job with the Trailblazer.

After a good run with Chevy SUVs and always getting one a little bigger than the previous, it was something different getting the smart fortwo. I had wanted one for two years even though I hadn’t really seen them and only test drove it once for less than 15 minutes. The smart fortwo is a fun car and definitely an attention getter.

I miss the power and acceleration I get from my Trailblazer. The spedometer goes up to 100 mph, but I haven’t tried getting it over 65 or 70 mph. I can’t merge into high speed traffic without enough distance to get up to speed, but once I am going 55mph, it does just fine keeping up with the surrounding traffic.

The car has automatic wipers. I have found this to be both good and bad. If it starts to rain or I get splashed, the wipers turn on and clear the windshield. Sometimes, in light rain, I feel they are either wiping too infrequently and allowing the window to get blurry and other times, I feel they are too fast and wiping a still dry window. I also found, that if the car has been sitting and a solid coat of rain is covering the winshield, the wipers don’t always turn on right away and I need to manually activate them before turning them back to automatic. When I shift into reverse, the rear wiper turns on to clear the back window. I would like to tweak their programming a bit, but it is a nice feature.

I went shopping at BJ’s Wholesale Club last weekend. I didn’t buy too much, but I did get a dozen papertowels and a pack of kleenix. Everything fit just fine in the back. There has also been enough room for trips to the grocery store. My one complaint is that if bags slide around, they can slip behind the drivers seat. I hopefully have that problem solved as I purchased a trunk organizer that uses velcro to stay in place. I should be able to put my groceries in the organizer to keep them from sliding around. The engine is below the back, so it is important not to keep too much stuff in there or it will be hard to access the engine when needed.

The smart fortwo definitely attracts attention. It is still very new and it doesn’t look like any onther car on the American market. I can’t go into a parking lot without someone making a comment or asking a question. I have had someone ask if you need a drivers license to operate, it it can go on the highway, and more commonly, where can I get one. I drove past a person on a bike (likely commuting to or from work) who gave me a big thumbs up.

The smart fortwo is a fun car, but it could never be my only car. I will always need something that can seat three or four people, have room for luggage or new TVs, and a place for my dog. My Trailblazer and fortwo are complete opposites, but compliment each other nicely. The smart fortwo works for daily commutes by myself and the Trailblazer works for longer trips or times when I need room for passengers and storage.

1 Comment »

  1. I wanted to add a comment about blindspots and the rear view mirror. Both the driver’s seat and passenger’s seat are full size seats and they create a small opening between them to see out the rear window. There is no trunk space, so the rear window is really the back of the car. I feel like the small opening between the two seats creates a blind spot behind the driver’s seat. I can look over my right shoulder to see if there is someone on my right, but there really isn’t a way to look over my left shoulder and see anything except out the window on the door. I have adjusted the side mirrors out further that I normally do on my Trailblazer to see better into the left lane, but I haven’t quite figured out how much room I have to merge when I see a car in the mirror. I think I will get better with practice, but that has been one of the adjustments I have had to make.

    Comment by Mike — May 16, 2008 @ 9:28 am

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