What comes to mind when you think about your next car? A cute compact? An adorable 3-cylinder engine? 71 horsepower? We thought not. But do you ever think of something smart? Designed to be lean and green, smart cars are hugely popular overseas, and they’re coming to the US in 2008. It may not be the brawn of your dreams, but it’s got the brains to make mother nature smile.
The smart concept began in 1994, and wouldn’t become a production level vehicle until 1998. Daimler-Benz AG purchased the company right-out that same year. The smart fortwo was one of just six cars to sit at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. It’s the only remaining production car to hold such a distinction. This certainly isn’t your grandfather’s muscle car.
Sites worth visiting
Mum seems to be the word from the official smart website. They have a handy FAQ and a nice product gallery, but they are lean on specs. Still, they have all the feel-good eco-info a guy could hope to handle.
Smart on Wikipedia
The smart entry on Wikipedia is surprisingly comprehensive. They’ve got a nice company history along with a discussion of smart distribution by region. If you’re new to smart, this is a good spot to learn a few things.
Smart Car of America
The name of the website is a bit misleading – this is not an official site. Smart Car of America is a privately held organization trying to get the word out for green drivers. They primarily promote smart brand cars, but they’ll also discuss other hybrids and non-conventional transportation options for the savvy consumer.
Around the Blogosphere
Smart at Autoblog
If you love cars, you’ve got to love Autoblog. If you love smart cars, you’ll can probably dig on the smart site at Autoblog. There’s a lot of buzz around modded smarts, and they cover it all. Check out those beefy, 112 horsepower tuned engines.
Smart Car Owners of Toronto
It’s a wonder how a teacher could manage to grade papers AND update 6 blogs, including this real-life look at owning smart. She updates consistently with all the latest news, including some general green reading to warm your soul.
Smart Car Pictures
This funky site can’t seem to decide if it’s a photo gallery or a blog. That’s not such a bad thing, because it means more info for us. Check out the latest news on smart’s US debut, or view some videos of your favorite two-sweater.
Smart Car 101
This fan site is your one-stop shop for getting into smart. They have a news section, a detailed spec sheet, and a photo gallery. Be sure to check back for their “where to buy” updates as the smart release inches closer.
Talk Smart Car
The folks at talksmartcar.com have a growing forum population and some nice, original articles for your perusal. Their ads can be a bit cumbersome at times, but once you get the feel of the site, you’re sure to find what you need.
If you want to get in on the hype early, check out smart Maniacs. The UK based site gets a flood of smart enthusiasts every day. They’ve partnered up with a tech site to keep owners on top of important maintenance. Get yourself a smart ownership preview here.
Is Smart Safe Enough?
Plenty of people wonder about safety when they see the tiny smart car. Daimler-Benz stands behind the “shell” technology in the car, but physicists tend to disagree. While the shell may stay in tact, how much force will the passengers take?
Smart Has a Twin
Our friends at Daimler-Benz have been considering a lawsuit against what appears to be a Chinese made clone of the smart fortwo. The guys at Autoblog have all the pics you’ll need to compare Shuanghuan Noble with the real intelligence on the streets.