By Frank Ferri
When I first laid eyes on the smart fortwo, I thought it was the elaborate result of one of my wife’s modular origami folding sessions, during which she created a miniature version of a compact car out of red and black washi paper. After kicking the tires (and then putting those tires back on), I deemed it to be close enough to a genuine automobile for it to garner a review.
GLASS INTEGRITY: I tested the smart fortwo’s windows and windshield using the strong arm of my 3-year-old son, Joey. Armed with a Nerf football, Joey was told to have at it. He threw and threw and didn’t leave a mark on the car. A secondary glass test involved me parking the car beneath an oak tree. The windows withstood the weight of the falling leaves remarkably well; resulting in only a few minor spider cracks.
BODY STABILITY: This part of the testing process left me disappointed. I placed my coffee and bagel (my usual breakfast, which I eat during my commute) on top of the smart fortwo. The car buckled immediately under the weight of the leavened raisin-studded bagel and freshly brewed java. It should be noted that the bagels I eat are rather dense and the coffee was an extra large and contained three packets of Splenda. Even so, I believe the car should have held its ground.
CRASH TESTS: Both front and side impact crash test results garnered mixed reviews. Joey provided me with a sturdy yellow Tonka truck. Using the toy truck, I rammed the smart fortwo with substantial force from all angles, causing the front and side airbags to deploy. I was pleased to see these safety features functioning properly, but I was a bit disappointed the following day when the car was totaled after my nephew accidentally hit it while roller-blading.
ENGINE: The smart fortwo gives drivers the choice of a V-3/4 engine (comparable to the engine in my son’s remote controlled Hummer) or a handheld fan. The model I tested came with the fan. The passenger (or, if traveling alone, the driver) must hold the fan out the window to spur the vehicle on. When traveling with the wind, the fan propulsion system is marginally faster than walking.
ACCELERATION: The smart fortwo reached zero to 60 in four minutes, 19 seconds when pushed down a steep hill. On flat terrain, the car never reached 60 miles per hour. To test the car’s acceleration, I challenged a neighborhood child with a Big Wheel to a friendly street race. The smart fortwo held its own for the first 25-50 feet before eventually losing the 1/10 mile race by a sizeable margin. In the car’s defense, the Big Wheel driver was ten years-old and an experienced street racer.
OTHER: The smart fortwo failed the “emotional stability test” miserably. Everywhere I went in the vehicle, I was pointed at, mocked, and at one convenience store, bullied into buying a female septuagenarian a Snickers bar. I fear that those who purchase the smart fortwo risk severe emotional damage and, for men, the development of a sense of inadequacy in the bedroom. For me, these feelings manifested themselves in a lifetime membership to the NRA and a short-lived attempt at a beard. Unfortunately, the added weight of the facial hair significantly diminished the car’s performance.
Final Assessment: Despite its numerous features, I cannot recommend the smart fortwo for anyone weighing over 100 pounds. It could perhaps be used as a training vehicle for children under the age of nine, but a golf cart or ride-on lawn mower would work just as well for a fraction of the price.
Frank Ferri is a copywriter who thinks he’s funny. His work has previously appeared in McSweeney’s, Yankee Pot Roast, and The Big Jewel. You can visit him at frankferri.com.
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