NYT Weenie Roasts Smart ForTwo

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
nyt weenie roasts smart fortwo

You'd think The New York Times would love the smart fortwo. It's trendy, chic and politically correct in an entirely metrosexual kinda way. True to form, Eric Taub's review starts with a love-in: "the Smart Fortwo may be the cutest and most unusual-looking production vehicle to arrive in this country since BMW’s front-loading Isetta 300 of the 1950s." Yeah, those wacky old Bimmers! Who [s]needs a life[/s] can forget them! And then Taub gets waylaid by the smart's herky-jerky, unacceptably quirky automatic transmission– the only autobox in the world capable of competing with the M5's SMeGma cog swapper for the title "worst gearbox in the history of the world ever." "It may be enough to make you reach for the Dramamine: the engine temporarily slows as the car is about to upshift, jerking the driver forward and then back with each shift. Several times, my wife threatened to walk home. This may bring back fond memories of your first pathetic attempt to drive a manual transmission car. The solution — if you can time it right — is to lift your foot off the accelerator when you think the transmission is about to shift, something I was able to pull off about 50 percent of the time." Throw in mediocre mpg's and even Taub can't resist the conclusion that the smart is stupid. "With its limited carrying capacity, seemingly mediocre fuel economy, erratic handling and fitful acceleration, one question that potential buyers in this part of the world should be asking is, what’s the point?"

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  • Whatdoiknow1 Whatdoiknow1 on May 12, 2008

    I guess a Smart will appeal to the same type of person that believes a Segway is a "smart" idea.

  • David C. Holzman David C. Holzman on May 12, 2008

    While I think RF is being too hard on the NYT, I think Stephan Wilkinson is giving it too much credit (But thanks, Stephan, for the info on Le Louche's (sp?) great ride thru Paris!). To wit: * The Jayson Blair scandal--PC run amok * Judith Miller's absolutely craven coverage of the build-up to Iraq. Real reporting conceivably might have averted that fiasco, such is the power of the NYT * very biased coverage of mass immigration issues, basically a shill for the immigration advocate groups who are a shill for the US Chamber of Commerce--this happening AFTER the Miller and Blair scandals.

  • David C. Holzman David C. Holzman on May 12, 2008

    And why DOES that dinky little thingamagigger get such lousy mileage? That's the travesty. I like whatdoIknow's comment two above

  • Edgett Edgett on May 12, 2008

    what David Holzman said... both about the NYT and the query on why the Smart gets such mediocre fuel mileage. The NYT, as a formerly great voice of journalism, owes the American public a sincere apology for aiding and abetting the run-up to the war in Iraq, which never did have anything whatsoever to do with WMD's or democracy. The Honda Fit will carry four people and isn't saddled with a silly transmission (although it cannot park 90 degrees to the curb) and gets similar gas mileage.