2008 Smart Fortwo: Highway Adventure
May 28, 2008
First things first, doesn't this face look like that of a Japanese anime character's? Kawaii!
OK, due to my propensity for cute cars, I was eager to try out our 2008 Smart Fortwo. And instead of just driving it around Santa Monica, I drove it clear across town about 20 miles away to Los Feliz to visit my friend Beth, an avid toy collector. I knew she'd get a kick out of this toy box vehicle... Thing is, I had to take a bunch of freeways to get there. Driving the Smart during stop-and-go rush hour wasn't a big deal. It was the coming back at night with crazy drivers on that one stretch of 101 to the 110 South that worried me. Our Fortwo only has 70 horsepower and 69 pound-feet of torque. I already couldn't trust it with its spotty acceleration, how could I trust it tangling with fast-moving traffic?
After I left Beth's house at 10pm and hit the highway, my heart started to beat faster and my mouth turned dry. I was actually really nervous. But once I got up to speed, I was fine. That lag in acceleration only seems to be more pronounced shifting from 1st to 2nd. In the higher gears, it's actually not TOO bad.
When I merged onto the 110 South a CHP pulled up behind me. I irrationally imagined him pulling me over for driving the Smart on the freeway or something like that. But he just tailed me for a little bit and then went on his way. Other drivers around me had the same reaction. Which was a good thing; they were super aware of the car so I wasn't in danger of getting sideswiped by someone who couldn't see me.
Still, I'd probably be more apt to use this as a city car (meaning driving on city streets) than for driving long distances (anything that requires you getting on the freeway). I see it as a step up from a Vespa.
Oh, another funny thing, or annoying to other drivers, about the Fortwo is that when I accelerate, I noticed that its headlights shining on the car in front of me ride up and spotlight the driver's rearview mirror briefly. Fortunately, no one has mistaken this for high-beaming and gotten pissed off by this yet. But then again, can someone really get mad at someone driving a clown car?
Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor @ 5,237 miles