MCC Smart

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The new Mini is Smart

My introduction to a Smart was a little reluctant.   Attending the Geneva Motor Show, I wished to contain my costs and the cheapest car available by a country mile was a Smart, complete with 'Swissair' logo's all over it.  Never mind, just do it - all I wanted was to reach my hotel.

However, I took this car up hill, down dale all over the Alpine foothills and was mightily impressed.  Not only is it huge inside with a comfortable and commanding driving position, but it also has a surprising turn of performance accompanied by growls and whistles from the back end when revved - sounds reminiscent of a Porsche Turbo.  And the gear-change which some of my colleagues had referred to as 'awful' and 'sudden jolts' was not true at all.  In auto mode quite smooth, but in 'manual' mode giving its all, the change was excellent when given only slight assistance from the accelerator foot.

Parking it nose-on to the kerb was normal, in Annecy I parked alongside a couple of other Smarts, and very fine they looked.  Why was I in Annecy anyway?  Well, this car is such a hoot that I just took the morning off work to drive it around - 150 fun miles at more than 50mpg isn't bad, is it?

Criticisms?  The suspension is only marginally softer than a Formula 1 car, so although the road-holding and handling is good on a smooth surface, bumps and craters certainly are to be avoided.  Also, I don't see how MCC Smart can be making any money out of a car so brim-full of technology at such a low retail price.

So, this car is not only cute, but practical and very enjoyable just the same as the original Mini was.  Maybe it is truly the spiritual successor to Issigonis's Mini - remember the 'Mini Spiritual' shown by the Rover group at Geneva a few years ago?  At least it makes absolutely no dishonest pretence to have seats in the back !

I'll have one.

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Last modified: January 10, 2013