Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Smart (?) cars

When we moved to Italy 3 years ago, we had our mini van shipped (note: our mini van is not the car pictured on the right).

In Italy, there's nothing mini about our van...in fact, "mammoth van" would be a more accurate term. It doesn't fit into parking spots. Well, it does...as long as no one is parked on either side of you. (And if that's the case, you can't open your doors, so your exiting options are limited to the rear gate).

Italians love cars like the smart car shown in the photo here. And yes, it is officially called the smart car, written in lower case...even the letters are small. It's built for two people, and if you were sitting in the front (only) seats, you could actually reach back and touch the rear window.

So what's so smart about this car?

1. It's great on fuel economy...and gas here is more than twice the price in America, believe it or not.

2. Parking...you might notice the white lines in the photo, and note the fact that this car is only taking up roughly half its allotted space. I love parking behind these cars.

3. Parking...again. I wish I had a photo to illustrate this, but these cars can actually parallel park sideways--with the nose facing the curb and the rear end facing the traffic. Can we call this perpendicular parking?

What's not so smart about these cars?

1. They're driven in Italy.
2. Where Italians drive (see yesterday's post).
3. Yikes.

My behemoth van may not be cute. Or sleek. Or sporty. But it beats driving in a tin can. As long as I keep driving in circles and don't actually need to park...


TinaFerraro said...

Hi Natalie,

Oh, yes, I've seen these cars, but didn't know the name. In fact, my husband was given one from a rental car company when he flew over for business, and said it was fun to drive.

I am LOVING your blog!


Schnooks said...

Hi there Nat! Love that "Smart Car". I guess owners of those have no children! We NEED the minivan to haul kids and stuff! Don't Italians have stuff??

I'm enjoying your blog!
Talk to you soon!

Natalie said...

Thanks Tina! I'm sure they are fun to drive...did your husband wear a helmet? ;-)

Hey Karen! I do see some older kids riding in the passenger seat, sans "stuff," though. Italians keep their cars notoriously neat...they don't eat in their cars. Can you imagine? I cringe every time someone sees the inside of our mini van!

Alison Ashley Formento said...

I wish we used these cars here--a lot smarter than massives SUV's gorging on gasoline and hogging space! smart cars do look smart and fun.

Natalie said...

You're right Alison (...or do you go by Alison Ashley?) Even though gas is much more expensive here, Italians don't spend near as much time in their cars as Americans do. And roads are much bigger in the U.S., so a smart car might get swallowed up by all the SUV's!