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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Smart Cars

I've actually thought about buying a Smart Car. I saw them in France in 2002 and thought they were just the cutest things ever. The difference between the US and France, though, is that there is a SIGNIFICANT average car size difference between here and there. There also happens to be a lot more traffic flowing at high speeds here in the states. However, in my recent quest for cars I did consider at least test driving a Smart. There's a weird auto dealer near my house that seems to sell specialty cars like Purple Hummers, Corvettes, Lime Green Mustangs, etc, and they always have something weird sitting in their lot. Right now, they have a Smart Car.

So, this morning I saw on the CBS Early Show that Smart Cars are actually getting good crash test ratings. That was really surprising. You'd think a car that small would just crumple like aluminum foil. Still, I don't think it would fit with my lifestyle. Here on the east coast there are just too many crazy drivers, too many high speed highways with heavy traffic, and I don't do a lot of city driving. Still, it's a thought for a second car if I perhaps chose to get something less conservative on gas as my primary vehicle. They are certainly cheap enough.

As it is, I've increased my emergency fund, which reduced the amount I had put aside for a down payment on a car. And, I have invested another part of my down payment, leaving me with next to nothing for a down payment. So, it seems that I've accepted that I'll be driving the CR-V for at least another year or two. It's not like I don't have the money, it's just that now isn't the right time. Not really a big loss, as I am fine driving the CR-V. I do need to clean it though. Maybe this weekend.


Wacky Neighbor said...

I also have one foot in the car market and saw the same thing on the Smart Car. As appealing as it is to have a small, high-mileage car like that, I just don't believe that it's practical for those with regular long commutes or do a substantial amount of highway driving. While the price is generally a bit cheaper and the mileage is better for the Smart Car, if I'm choosing a small car I'd rather go with a Civic or a Corolla, which is a bit bigger and bit more practical.

That said, I have no idea what I want at this point. Yargh.

Kim said...

I was thinking that my commute that I do everyday is pretty simple, down a country road and then about a mile and a half on a highway. I get off of the highway and travel on smaller roads to work, for a total of about 40 minutes. I think I'd feel comfortable driving a smart car just on my commute back and forth to work, which would save me gas money. I could then keep driving the CR-V for a while as a second car for longer trips and when I'd need to get on, say, 695, 95, 495, etc, or when I need to haul anything larger than about 3 feet wide. After a while, if I want to, I could then trade in the CR-V for an Element (as I discussed, the car I really want), and use that for my longer traveling. It's a thought, and since my company would give me a subsidy for driving a high MPG car, the price of the smart would be shockingly low. If you think about it, it's no different than buying a motorcycle.

Still thinking though. Big problem - we already have 3 cars in our household, so where would we park it??

Kim said...

Upon further thinking...

Buying two cars just to save gas daily... Is that really logical?

The thing with the smart is that the gas mileage isn't THAT impressive, considering that the Yaris' base model is the same price as the smart's base model. So, I guess I'd be more likely to get the Yaris for a commuting car at this point. I'd have to work out the math on it and see if it would really be worth it to have 2 cars, 2 insurance policies, less parking spaces... or just suck it up and keep the CR-V for another 2 years, which is what is most likely to happen.

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