frandroid: A large sandworm in front of the fremen invoking him (Great Worm)
I rented my mini dream car, a Smart Car, from car2go yesterday. I just drove it for an hour and a half, so take this review with a grain of salt. Yes, I'm writing a car review. :)

The car2go experience is funny... They've modded the cars with electronics to accomodate the rental system, and it's rather interesting. You put your car2go card on the windshield outside the car to unlock it, and when you're inside you have to enter a pin to start the rental. The car speaks to you and stuff. Not the whole time, but through the transactional process. It's amusing.

As for the Smart Car:
Wow, you have great peripheral vision driving this. I'd compare it to the Chrysler Neon in this regard. Firoza rode with me for a while, and being a short person who has had a challenging time driving certain cars with reduced visibility, she really enjoyed the view. That said, I could fit comfortably height-wise as a tall guy. I felt a little cramped width-wise, but it IS a narrow car, you can't quite avoid that.

The driving was both amusing and frustrating. The most frustrating part is the automatic transmission. It shifts gears like an inexperienced standard transmission driver, i.e. it de-engages from one gear for a whole half-second before engaging the next gear, so one second you have thrust, and then the gear chances, and you are left without thrust for a full half-second. I mean you keep going based on the existing inertia, but remember that this is a light car, so it doesn't have as much inertia as a bigger car. I guess one gets used to it, but I think it could be dangerous in a tight driving situation, like trying to avoid a bad driver or some obstacle on the road. Rather unnerving. The other bad part for time is that you can't sustain acceleration. I mean it's an urban car, so it's not like you're street racing with this, but it feels lacking. If there is a sports package to give the Smart more performance, I think I would buy it.

The second frustrating part is that this car has a rough suspension. You really feel the road. This is part suspension, part small tires, but the end point is that any time you see you're going to hit some rough road, you want to take it easy. On the other hand, I hit a speed bump I didn't notice at ~40kph on St. George St. and the car took it waaaay better than I thought it would. I had some serious bounce but no clanging, no banging, it seems that the suspension took the whole shock without cringing. Maybe that's where this car's light weight was a bonus?

The really fun part about this car is maneuverability. You can turn on a dime, do U-turns in 2 lanes, squeeze between cars on the road, in a parking lot, etc. I was putting the car through its paces and it barely consumed any gasoline, but then again this is like a scooter engine (kinda sounds like it too) so that's expected. The dashboard has an app (!!) that tells you about how ecologically you're driving. I wasn't faring well, but my goal was to have fun! I was paying attention to the road so I didn't notice much, but Firoza reports that lots of people were looking at us. I've always thought this was a special car, so I guess others share my opinion.

The fact that this tiny car doesn't have a backseat means that there is a small but decent trunk. You can possibly fit two large suitcases? I should test that. Groceries for a couple, for sure, but not for a family.

I booked a Smart car for a weekend rental to Montréal once, and when I went to retrieve the car, they were out of Smarts (what part of "I chose a Smart on the website" could they not understand?) so they lent me a Yaris instead. In hindsight, I'm really happy this happened, because I think driving the Smart on the 401 for 5-6 hours would be scary. I'll rent the Smart another time in the futue and try it out on the 401 or DVP and report back...

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