On Monday, June 9th, 2008, I finally picked up my brand new Smart ForTwo Passion at the Mercedes dealership in San Francisco (500 8th Street). I’ve been on the waiting list since March 2007 and am really excited to finally drive the car I’ve seen for so long in other countries!
Not surprisingly, the fortwo has been available in Europe for years. I grew up in Vancouver Canada and go up there regularly to visit friends and family. The fortwo has been up there for about 2 years and you see them everywhere. But down here in the United States, bureaucracy and red tape has kept the tiny car off the shelves … until now.
It’s funny because people actually wave at you when you drive it. Some people (including my neighbor) had no idea what it was when I first showed her. When you park somewhere, people immediately walk up to ask questions and you can usually look around and see most people smiling or chuckling as they look at it’s tiny dimensions. Overall, this car brings happiness to the people who see it.
Let me tell you a little about my new toy. It’s manufactured by Mercedes in a factory located in France. In 2007, it boasted 40 MPG in the city and 45 on the highway. But the restrictions on US auto sales required a more powerful engine and a variety of other enhancements, lowering the MPG to 33/40. It runs on a 3-cylinder engine and has 70 horsepower. The car weighs only 1800 pounds.
The car only seats 2 but the inside is actually quite roomy and the back trunk area is enough for an average Costco run. I elected to get all the available options (except the convertible) including the reinforced “Passion” frame, a premium sound system, an iPod jack, A/C and heated seats. It also comes with regular automatic as well as paddle shifters on the steering wheel.
The car was recently tested for collision safety. Amazingly, it did really well, achieving a higher score than a number of other common cars. The frame is quite rigid but it has a bunch of airbags inside, all designed to protect the driver. The passenger has an airbag as well but it’s only activated when there is more than 80 pounds sitting on the seat. Yes, it’s attached to a scale. So you don’t have to worry about turning the airbag off when you have a child as a passenger.
As I said, I’ve been on the waiting list for over a year. And today, the wait to get a new one is over 19 months. I paid $17,319 for the car and that price included taxes registration and a $645 delivery fee. My model is currently selling on Craig’s List for $22,500. That would leave me with a $5K profit and I have considered selling it myself.
I got the blue outside color with silver detailing and the red interior. They call that color combination the Superman. It’s sporty and really fun to drive. In Walnut Creek (where I live now), I have the very first one and that becomes obvious when you drive it through the downtown streets. I’d recommend it to anyone. Not only will it save me money on gas but it makes driving fun again.
I’m quite proud of my new car, as evidenced by this blog post. If you have any questions about the car, please let me know. Also, if you’d like to get on the waiting list, you can do so at SmartUSA. It will cost you $99 and that money is fully refundable if you later decide against the purchase. To me, there’s a limited downside to a car like this and I hope to see more and more of them as time passes.