the city can be a frustrating process, but just wait till you try
parking on its streets.
All too often
it repeats its own annoying pattern.
You drive along, anxiously scanning for a slot in a solid line of
parked cars, trying to find a space, all the time aware you are
moving further away from your destination.
Then you find one, swinging towards the vacant space, the car strikes
a stance like
a predatory beast guarding its kill.
Two feet into the space and the awful reality hits you, the car
is too big for the prized vacant slot.
If I had a chainsaw,
I could hack the boot off, trim away the front bumper to allow the
car to fit, otherwise it's back into the traffic for more space-hunting.
Passing along a line of parked cars, I see two have managed to sneak
into otherwise wasted spaces - bumpers facing towards the kerb,
their tiny size means they fit within the unbroken line of parked
allows you to rewrite the rule-book on the streets.
This is the
smart car concept in practice, bringing a new approach to inner
city traffic problems.
car design is a paring down of car basics. Throw in some new technology
to sweeten the mixture and there you have it - a car that's built
to enjoy city life.
The smart people opted for a two-seat design because most commuter
cars contain one person, so building a two-seater means you can
appeal to this market and shave the car dimensions down quite radically.
Small size means small engines creating less weight, so you use
less fuel and benefit from lower tax and cheaper insurance.
Giving the designers a free hand allowed the chance to have fun,
with bright colours, detachable body panels, and
a radical but functional new interior.
OK, it looks
different and appears to offer a new way of dealing with urban traffic,
but who is behind the MCC group which make the smart?
| Less is
more at least in this case, smaller than most other cars on
the road, the smart car packs in safety and design features
that leave others behind.
provided the engineering expertise. They in turn are owned by the
American company Chrysler, who are one of the giants of the motor
So it looks smart
and trendy and has a good pedigree
but what is it
like to drive one?