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David and Goliath: Smart Cars Coming to America

By Louis in News on Mar 29, 2007 8:00PM


Chicagoist has spent many hours circling city blocks looking for that one parking space that has been overlooked. That is why a Smart car interests us. No, the car isn't "smart" it doesn't park or drive itself. Smart is the brand name of the diminutive, overtly-Euro cars that are manufactured by Daimler-Chrysler.

They have become fairly prolific in European cities with their have unbelievably tiny dimensions and better than average gas mileage. In fact the Smart is all of 8.8 feet long, which means that you could squeeze TWO in a single Chicago parking spot. The tiny little two-seater gets an estimated 40mpg under normal driving conditions, though the official numbers will be released once US production is ready.

U.S. production means that the car will be here in the first quarter of 2008. In order to be the first on your block to have a one of these beasts, Smart USA will begin taking $99 Reservations on April 2nd. The ForTwo will go on sale for a whopping $12,000, and the more powerful (relatively) ForTwo Passion will be $14,000. But, if you really want to show off, throw down the big bucks ($16,000) to get the ForTwo Passion Cabriolet.

The size and gas usage has made them popular in Europe, but there doesn't seem to be any trend toward smaller vehicles in America (other than the popular Mini Cooper). Seeing that driving a full sized Hummer is somehow still legal downtown, the David and Goliath analogy may be apt (though this video proves it can hold together in a collision)
However, for those non-city drivers, the Smart should arrive just in time for the downfall of Chicago public transportation.