If you ever thought the Mini Cooper wasn't mini enough, listen up. Last year, DaimlerChrysler announced that they'd be making the Smart ForTwo, the uber-compact car that it's been selling in Europe for years (and more recently Canada), available to U.S. customers by 2008. Looks like they're still on track for that. Now, us Yanks can put our names in the hat for a $99 reservation.
The "Pure" basic model of the car sells for $12,000. There's also a "Passion" version with a souped-up stereo system (and more) for $14,000. And for $17,000, you can get a "Passion" convertible.
But before you reserve a spot for one, here's the deal about the Smart ForTwo. (In Europe, there's also a slightly larger Smart ForFour, FYI.) All this talk of green cars, smart cars, hybrid cars, etc. can be a bit muddling. DaimlerChrysler's Smart ForTwo runs on traditional gasoline, and it's not a "smart" car in the sense that it has any fancy chips or automatic parking features built in. It's just really freaking little. The two-seater measures in at less than nine feet long, just over five feet tall, and less than five feet wide. It's also light: the Mini tips the scales at 900 pounds heavier. (Lose some weight, fatty!)
Then there's the fact that it doesn't go very fast, capping out at 84 miles per hour, which that makes its highway mileage of 70.6 miles per gallon kind of a moot point. (You don't want to be driving this thing in the Southwest.)
But hey, if you're in a city, where you still will get over 45 miles per gallon, the Smart ForTwo could be a potentially smart (ha, ha) driving option. But something tells me that exorbitantly-priced Manhattan parking garages won't let you pay for half a spot with this little guy.