By Eric Hill
Smart cars took Europe by storm. Unfortunately, the same can't be said in the U.S. territory. For some reason, Smart Cars didn't spark the same amount of interest in the American market as much as it did in European countries such as the U.K., France, and Italy.
Smart cars are the small, two-seat coupes of 60 mpg. They are made by a company based in Europe named Smart. And that's precisely how they got their name. Whether the car is really smart or not is out of question. The only concern is that will it suit the streets of the U.S.?
If you have watched the film "Da Vinci Code", you must have seen what the Smart Car really looks like. It is a very small car indeed, with not much leg room or space for anything else that you might be carrying other than yourself. It is a car that can contain you and one passenger, perhaps.
Smart Cars can be regarded as smart because they are relatively nifty and thrifty. You don't have to worry about high gasoline costs because this car doesn't consume twice as much as your gas guzzler. It isn't much of a headache as far as maintenance is concerned. This car is very basic in form, shape, and essence.
Parking isn't a problem with this car either. With a car as small as this, you can squeeze it even in a jam-packed parking lot without causing any problems. Merely eight feet long, you can also speed your way at one side of the road when the traffic is heavy. Of course, you still have to make sure that you're within the bounds of the law so as not to get caught by the traffic enforcers.
However, the biggest concern of Americans with Smart Cars is safety. Americans tend to drive fast and freely. And since these cars are very small, how could they fair in a crash rating system? Are there adequate safety devices in the car like seat belts and airbags?
Well, this is actually one of the problems why the mass importation of Smart Cars didn't totally materialize in the U.S.
American car safety agencies require the Smart Cars of Europe be converted first to get approval for use in the U.S. highway. This is yet another hurdle that Smart Cars have to overcome in order for them to penetrate the American car market.
It was believed that Smart Cars don't offer as much protection to the driver and his passenger in cases of crashes. It's primarily because they're lightweight and small. Smaller cars tend to suffer worse impact than bigger cars. With this said, the sales of smart cars in the U.S. became just a vision.
Right now, the American car market is more interested in SUV's. The manufacture and importation of luxury SUV's are on a roll. Almost all major car companies have their own versions. With them standing beside Smart Cars, will you able to pick which one really is smart?