Geek News: Latest Technology, Product Reviews, Gadgets and Tech Podcast News for Geeks

The Smart Car vs. My Toyota

Posted by Matthew Greensmith at 7:05 AM on May 14, 2008

I read an article this morning touting the safety of the Smart Car, the tiny two-person, just shy of 9-foot car in production by Daimler. The Smart twofer did well in crash tests, achieving an overall rating of “good.”

But that’s not what caught my attention about the article. No, what caught my eye was the touted gas mileage the Smart twofer gets. “Up to” 31 mpg in the city, and 40 on the highway. We all know those factory-touted numbers are inflated; actual mileage is usually 3-5 points less. This means the Smart twofer, in reality, probably gets about 28 or 29 mpg city, and 37 or 38 highway.

Color me not impressed. My 1989 Toyota Corolla Wagon regularly gets 30 mpg in the city, and 40 on the highway. That’s with the air conditioner running! And I can fit four people easily in my Toyota, and carry cargo as well. I’m not sure what my Toyota is supposed to get in mileage, I just know that in the year and a half I’ve owned it I’ve been happy with the mileage it gets.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m getting awfully tired of hearing “gets 25 miles to the gallon” like that’s a good thing. My 1967 four-door Ford Fairlane got 25 mpg city, and that was back in the early 80′s. When they can start advertising 50 miles to the gallon, or at the very least, 40 miles to the gallon, in most cars, we’ll be getting somewhere.

In the meantime, I’m growing less and less impressed with the Smart Car. It’s not cheap to buy, and doesn’t get good enough miles per gallon to even pay for that extra cost over the years you would own it. I’ll stick with my Toyota, thanks.