A year ago I sold my 1998 Volkswageon Jetta TDI with nearly 500,000 kms on the original engine and body. I really loved that car, but it had reached the stage of life that required a large influx of work and I didn’t want to invest into a car over a decade old.
Brent and I thought we could get by with his Jetta aka “the tomato” and the F350 truck, but we soon learned that the price of fuel would make it next to impossible to affordably drive the one ton dually. We started looking for something fuel efficient and cost effective.
Together we decided to purchase a vehicle from Florida and drive it home. In mid-December we flew south and brought home the 1986 mercedes benz. She is a tank. We named her Bertha and it became apparent that Bertha was a thirsty girl. She was also old.
It didn’t take long before the car hunt began again. With Bertha listed on numerous websites I started my search for a car that was a little fresher. Perhaps born in this decade.
After some internet research and talking with friends the first thing we decided was to discover what was most important to us in a vehicle. In about a second we agreed it was fuel efficiency. We also wanted something green and friendly.
Size was our next discussion. Eke. We had the truck for big things, so size was not an issue. We don’t have children and our three little pups will fit anywhere. When I saw the Smart Car I was drawn. It fit everything we wanted including: size, green and at 68 mpg it is the most fuel efficient vehicle on the road.
Hours were spent looking on line for our Smart and the prices were all over the place. Ten grand could buy you a 2010, 2009, 2008-05. Milages ranged from 40-156,000 kms. We set our budget and struggled to find our Smart.
We weren’t in a rush, but when I found the 2006 with 56,000 for under $8000 I was excited and she was close: St. Catharines. Most of the Smarts for sale are in Toronto. They market it as a city car, but I think they’re missing the rural market who are forced to drive fifteen minutes or more to hit a grocery store.
We learned that Smart came to Canada in 2005 and to the United States in 2008. They introduced a gas version (much less fuel efficient) in 2008 thinking it would be better received than the diesel. The first Smart was created by Swatch and Mercedes in the mid 1990’s and the engine notably died at the 60,000 km mark.
After over a decade of German engineering the three cylinder Smart will go forever on a thimble of diesel fuel. It makes my environmental heart beat a little faster.
I was overly excited when we pulled into the dealership to look at the 2006 and when I walked up I immediately said “no. no. no.” It was so small up close. Tiny. I could see why people would make fun of this clown car, but then I drove it. The passenger compartment was spacious and extra care was taken to make the driver’s side comfortable. The car ended abruptly behind the driver’s seat, but you could still fit a couple of puppies and some groceries in the back.
The semi-automatic shifting was fun and the vehicle was peppy. I loved it as soon as I pulled a U-turn in the middle of a narrow street. Fun to drive and fun to park.
On the QEW it was stable and quickly accelerated up to 130 km/hr without hesitation. We passed a few transport trucks with ease and moved through traffic with agility. I was searching for a draw back and couldn’t find one, except my husband was not that keen on the Smart. A guy thing, but it was too late because I was smitten.
Now, to negotiate. Gizmo’s time to shine.