I never could see the reason for the Smart Car. It just seems so impractical. Not smart at all.
I’m sure it must be ecologically friendly. After all, it barely seats two and has no luggage capacity to speak of. Two bags of groceries is probably more than it has room for. I can see the appeal for a single person with no friends, but how big a market is that? Not very big.
Practical perhaps for the city, it seems impractical in a place like Canada where so much of our driving is on highways between cities. It looks like a good gust of wind would blow it off the road. In a collision you’d have no protection. Not that you expect a collision, but it is a consideration. As are the fire concerns.
I realize now, after spending a few days in Rome, that the Smart car is designed for European cities. The cars were everywhere I looked. It might be the most popular automobile in Rome, for a very simple reason: you can park them pretty much anywhere.
Roman parking is chaotic. There are too many people, too many cars, and too few proper parking spaces. The smaller your car, the better. You’d be amazed at some of the spaces a Smart car can be squeezed into.
You can put it sideways into a traditional parking space. It will fit in a motorcycle spot. You can put it on the sidewalk and there will still be room for pedestrians to pass. It is almost small enough to just put into a purse and carry with you.
However, the size of the car doesn’t seem to protect it from the dents and scrapes that are also part of daily life in Rome. In Rome, as in Naples, it seems accidents are a normal part of car ownership. Just ignore the dent and keep going. It is like playing bumper cars in an amusement park. Walking down the street we saw a truck hit a parked car and just keep on going. He might not have even noticed that he had made contact – I didn’t hear the crunch of metal but my wife did. No-one seemed to pay it any attention.
With its small size I would have thought Smart cars were less accident prone, but they seem to be as dented as any other model. I saw one that had been banged up on three of its four corners. That’s the car that inspired this post – the pictures are below. No idea if that happened while it was parked or in motion.
So now I understand: the impractical car has its uses in a large city. I still don’t think I would ever buy one though. I want the freedom to offer rides to those who need one.