2008 Smart Fortwo: I'll Take a Justy Instead.
August 04, 2008
Remember that list we showed last week? A staff survey on forms of transport we'd prefer to our Smart Fortwo? Well, hop in Doc's Delorean -- we're going for a ride back to 1988...
Twenty years ago, I needed a second car, something for short money that was good on gas and good in the snow. I didn't want to use my nice '69 Firebird 350 Convertible (Blue with White top and interior) that I bought over the summer as a daily driver. I ended up buying a new, leftover '87 Subaru Justy GL 5-speed.
Okay...after you're done laughing follow the jump.
Okay, I know it's not one of the cooler rides that I've owned ('88 MR2 Supercharged, '70 Chevelle SS396) but that little bugger was a great car. Bought it new for $6,200 (with A/C), put 100k on it and the only thing that ever broke was the A/C compressor. It averaged nearly 40 mpg the whole time I owned it. Nearly every upshift was conducted upwards of 4500 rpm and it never let me down.
The point of this? That was a car from two decades ago that equaled the Smart's fuel economy while being driven in a manner not conducive to max mileage and boasting a seating capacity of four adults. It could also haul a lot of stuff with those rear seats flipped down. Granted, it didn't have the airbags and whatnot that the Smart does, but cut it some slack -- it's from the '80s. Given all that, I'd expect the much more modern Smart to get 50 or so mpg (our team of leadfoots is averaging around 37) and have a better transmission.
If the Smart were available with a turbodiesel engine and a six-speed manual, it'd probably get close to 60 mpg and be a lot more enjoyable to drive to boot.
John DiPietro, Automotive Editor @ about 7,400 miles.