Contributing Monkie G Living Staff Monkies
Published on March 26, 2009
This car is no concept. It’s real and you can reserve one now – if you want.
Unfortunately, with all the alternative fuel cars out there these days, I’m not sure the ForTwo is the way of the future. Smart, an offspring of Daimler, boasts about its earth-friendly production — and the small car idea is definitely overdue (use only what you need), but the ForTwo is neither fuel efficient nor practical enough to catch on.
Smart, once reviled for the first generation bouncy, boxy kitsch cars, has improved its design according to The Truth About Cars, upgrading the suspension, wheel base and gear shift. The overall size has grown by a few inches, as well, but there isn’t enough there to make me want one. If I’m going to drive something with only two seats, it needs to be either super-efficient or a Ferrari – not a boxy little car that would get eaten up by even the smallest SUV. The ForTwo gets only about 40 mpg – a good bit less than an average hybrid – and it’s certainly not viable for family outings.
Only the greatest cynic would not find utility in these smaller, cuter vehicles, though. They make a great interim commuter car if you can’t afford a hybrid (the ForTwo starts at under $12,000) and I can see great value for urban rent-by-the-hour car companies like Zipcar. The ForTwo is still just over 8 feet long, giving it the ability to park just about anywhere and navigate even the tightest parking garages.
If Smaller is Better, then Smart should also look at the car’s footprint. The diesel engine is only available in Europe, I haven’t seen any discussion of hybrid nor flex fuels, and there is no mention of reduced greenhouse gas emissions on the ForTwo.
Given the small size and the relatively paltry fuel efficiency, I’m going to save my money for a hybrid.