Get Smart

David K. Israel

According an article in today's New York Times, the Smart car, which we've all marvelled at on our trips across the pond, may be coming to a dealership near you as soon as 2008! According to the article:

DaimlerChrysler, which shelved an earlier plan to bring its Smart mini-car brand to the United States, plans to announce on Wednesday that it will introduce the tiny, two-seat vehicle to the American market early in 2008, according to several executives at the company.

Since it's appearance in The Da Vinci Code, Steven Schneider, CEO of ZAP, a Santa Rosa firm that markets alternative-fuel cars, says "We have 53,000 e-mails (from prospective buyers) that we've not been able to get back to."
So what's so smart about the little bugger, other than its size? Here's the skinny:

* First called a Swatchmobile by Swiss Swatch inventor, Nicolas Hayek, when he designed it; the Smart Car is a compact, 2-seat, hybrid, fuel-efficient and environmentally sound car.

* Size: 8 feet 2 inches long; 4 feet 11 inches wide * Weight: 1,588 pounds.

* Gas mileage: 60 mpg in Europe; 40 mpg expected in the U.S. because of emissions tinkering.

* Price: Mid-$20,000s. (Though this hasn't been confirmed.)

* It just looks so cute, especially when sized up next to the Hummer in the photo above. How could you not want one? Even just as a pet? "Hey, Bob, you see my pet Smart car yet? Check it out!"