I'll chip in here....I have one in diesel form, a convertible, and it is great! We have a smart car forum at www.clubsmartcar.ca - new USA members are welcome!
I think the USA will only get the gasoline version until at least 2008, but I would not be surprised to see a gasoline hybrid come out too. There are several prototypes on the road already.
It will be the "next generation" smart car that comes to the USA, not the current one. It will be on sale starting April 2007.
A Class? Not available here, but Canada does get the B-Class, which is the A-Class with a bit more room (same platform). MBUSA feels the B-Class is too "downmarket" for them to sell. No such class warfare exists at MB Canada so far as I know.
Imagine the ruckus that would be created if Mercedes USA would allow a vehicle that fits a family of 5, gets 50mpg, and costs under 30,000. (Mercedes A Class, 160 diesel engine) Only an approximation, I know euro's don't convert exactly....
I just returned from a 375 kilometer bicycle ride across Missouri on the converted Katy railroad to trails system. I joined over 300 others for the five-day ride.
One special surprise was Derek from British Columbia who drove to the ride in his smartcar that he loves. His community has a couple of dozen and he has a special, strong A-frame bicycle rack on the back. Both of us were featured in the local Clinton, Missouri newspaper. On the way "down" from Canada his smartcar averaged 70 mpg and my Prius averaged 69 MPG coming from Colorado.
His biggest concern was servicing that must be done at a Mercedes dealer and they seem to "find" additional service work that they say 'needs to be done'. He is not sure.
He has a true story when his wife, a registered nurse, was late to work and decided to park in a small space and ninety degrees from the other vehicles. Since the smartcar at this angle takes less distance than other vehicles parked "normally", it seemed like a good idea. But she received a ticket. Derek took the ticket to the judge and court and the judge ruled in his favor saying there was no law against parking that way. Way to go--yea.
Is there a website similar to the fuel economy .gov that rates cars from all countries? I keep hearing about cleaner diesel cars in Europe and Argentina (bio-fuel) - I would like to see stats on cars from all counties.
Don Best tank 67.5 mpg (555.5 mi.) Best trip 91.5 mpg (42.2 mi.)
I fell in love with the Smart many years ago, before kids. However, what I would like to see is for Daimler to bring over the Mercedes A Class. Think Smart Car that the family can fit into....
I saw the Smart Car in Germany years ago and was all over a parked one checking it out. Great little city cars, rarely seen on high speed lanes of the Autobahn though I also had the honor/joy/experience of driving close to a 1000 miles on German roads in a Mercedes A Class - 3 adults (w/ substantial luggage ,1m2f) Little 5 spd that would putter about at 90-100 mph all day. It would go faster, but required a bit more input involving mild perspiration - kept it sub 3 digits to quiet passengers as well. If I remember correctly, we got close to 40 mpg over the course of the 2 weeks. Two full days of driving longer distances, the rest flitting about catching up on the Wurst, Kuchen, und Bier w/ friends and family over 3 generations. Don't get me started on the benefits of having well trained drivers in consistently logical traffic systems while running through 5 A class gears at every opportunity. There can be a lot of traffic in Germany, but people work together and take traffic circles at 40 mph as routine... AAAhhh
Anyway, caffeine fueled rambling mode off...