Chrysler wants you to get Smart

Tom Hanks has been seen riding in one. So too Inspector Clouseau. How about you?

DaimlerChrysler on Thursday announced plans to bring a version of its oh-so-tiny Smart ForTwo car to the United States. Three-cylinder two-seater has been tooling around in Canada and Europe for some time now, and there have been occasional sightings in the lower forty-eight, as well as at the cineplex. (For pictures, click here.)

Smart car

But now it's official. The automaker is working on getting a dealership network established, and plans to start selling the Smart car in early 2008.

There won't be much competition for it as the smallest four-wheeled vehicle on the roads. The Smart ForTwo is just a little over eight feet long and weighs in at all of 1,610 pounds. Its speed tops out at 84 miles per hour (zero to 60 in 15.5 seconds!), with gas mileage of 46 mpg in the city and 70 mpg on the highway, for those who dare share the road with 18-wheelers.

Blog community response:

"Smart's spiffy ForTwo model is shorter than the (BMW) Mini; it will be the smallest car sold in the USA. How Smart owners will enjoy doing battle with the huge 18-wheeler big rigs that ply the nation's highways remains to be seen."
--Steve Parker, The Car Nut & Car Nut TV

"Altogether, it's only 8 feet long. If you tipped a smart car on its nose and put a basketball hoop on the bumper, I could dunk on the thing. That's just crazy."
--Dustin Dwyer

"It will probably be a favorite in cities like San Francisco where those supporting Kyoto will drive it as a badge of honor. Of course, other urbanites may purchase it to cut down on their 'parking spot search' drive time."
--The Bullwinkle Blog

"Smart's press release mentioned that there will be three models of the fortwo. Certainly there will be the coupe and convertible, but is the third model just a trim variation? Could the rumored hybrid model be ready by 2008?"
--All Cars All the Time

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About the author

Jonathan Skillings is managing editor of CNET News, based in the Boston bureau. He's been with CNET since 2000, after a decade in tech journalism at the IDG News Service, PC Week, and an AS/400 magazine. He's also been a soldier and a schoolteacher, and will always be a die-hard fan of jazz, the brassier the better.

 

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