Alex Dykes thinks so:

Smart FourTwo – At $13,270 the Smart sounds like a great idea. Until you look at the price and discover a Nissan Versa sedan is 10% cheaper, seats 150% more people, carries more stuff, gets better fuel economy and has a transmission that doesn’t shift like a drunk 14 year old learning to drive a stick. If you really must own a 3-cylinder conveyance in America, get a 3-cylinder Fiesta or a Mitsubishi Mirage.

So does that make a Smart a purchase for conspicuity? Perhaps. About the only big selling point remaining on the Smart, if price and mileage are out of the way, is a genuine preference for a microcar. I remember when I was in Zaulem Sound, one of the selling points of Smarts was that they would be easier for parking and – presumably – traffic navigation.

It’s worth noting that the Versa’s increased mileage is a more recent development. Back when I was looking at economy cars in Zaulem, the Versa had among the worst mileage in the class and no non-hybrid really competed with the Smart. So… is this indicative that CAFE standards are working? It seems that the non-hybrid, non-microcars have been improving within the last couple of years.


Category: Road

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4 Responses to Is A Versa Smarter Than a Smart?

  1. I suspect Smart exists for Mercedes Benz to get around CAFE regulations without having to bring 4 cylinder non-turbo models or the A Class. One of my co-workers purchased one, but he has two cars, one of which is a BMW X5, and he’s the ideal market for it as he lives alone with no children in a dense part of Queens with limited parking.

    FWIW, in Japan, there are even smaller cars with less power called Kei cars, and the Europeans have plenty of micro cars from other brands that don’t sell here. They partially sell on price, but also on size as they’re just so much easier to park on a narrow street with few parking spaces. As I’ve noted, Europeans have less on street parking on their main streets* and leave that role for side streets where people to park half-way on the sidewalk in a way that most Americans would freak out about.

    I suspect that once you get a nicer apartment with a parking lot or a garage or a home with a driveway, you blow your money on something nicer like a Golf, Focus, or Megane, or 3-Series BMW.

    *I suspect it works better for traffic as you have less people driving slowly hunting for a spot or blocking traffic on a major street in some attempt to park.

    • Mike Hunt Rice says:

      in Japan, there are even smaller cars with less power called Kei cars

      These are not the K cars mentioned in the song “If I Had $1000000”.

    • trumwill says:

      but he has two cars, one of which is a BMW X5, and he’s the ideal market for it as he lives alone with no children in a dense part of Queens with limited parking.

      It’s a shame that he’s being penalized insurance-wise for his decision.

      It makes sense that parking would be an even greater consideration elsewhere. But even here, it’s one of the things that I miss the most about driving a subcompact.

      • It’s a shame that he’s being penalized insurance-wise for his decision.

        At most, you’ll really get the multi-car discount, but unless you massively understate the miles per year that you’ll drive the car, there isn’t that much savings. I have two cars registered under my name, one which is barely driven, and the difference on the basic insurance wasn’t that much…

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