Get Smart - 3rd November, 2017

The bumper sticker says “Be SMART of the Revolution” which may not be the most elegant play on words but you get the idea. I’m not sure that the Smart car brought about revolution but you’d think grid-locked Auckland would be awash with them, but it’s not. However, a walk around the inner city streets of somewhere like Rome suggests the Smart has its place. Maybe it has a place in your life. 

The Smart Fortwo was introduced by Daimler in 1998 and to date nearly 2 million have been sold around the world. They are built in Smartville, a dedicated factory in France, and they have an enthusiastic following...except in NZ where it hasn’t been sold new for many years.

The first generation Fortwo is powered by a 599cc, three cylinder, turbo charged engine mounted in the back. The transmission is a sort of manually operated auto that is less than inspiring to use but I’m sure you get used to it over time. All this is wrapped in a steel safety cell and interchangeable plastic body panels. It’s a perfect city car.

For some reason the Smart has never been fully accepted by Kiwi car buyers. In a country where the massive Ford Ranger is the number one best seller it seems we like our cars big. Some will argue that the Smart is not safe enough but that’s not really fair. The Smart, even the 1st gen cars, have a good safety rating and this video shows just how tough it is. It’s more likely that NZ drivers worry that their fellow will think they look dorky driving one, and we really do like to fit in.

But if you don’t care what anybody else thinks of you and you want to save money on fuel and park in the smallest spaces then the Fortwo might make you the smartest driver on the road. This very tidy 2002 example is not a lot of money and it’s being auctioned at Turners Hamilton next Tuesday. More details here.

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