A delightful surprise hit my inbox earlier in the week.
How about you take that lovely lady friend of yours out for a lazy Saturday afternoon, our treat!
Go pick up the keys to your weekend cruiser from your local Mercedes dealership.
Oh, and there’s a pre-paid credit card on the way for fuel and goodies.
The Smart Crew
Saturday couldn’t come around soon enough.
After dropping the kids off at a friend’s house, we headed to the land of shiny and expensive toys. We turned the corner and that familiar Mercedes billboard came into view, the air of prestige immediately setting in like a cool ocean breeze. The front entrance was surrounded with a perfectly formed battalion of the most elite four-wheeled machines in the yard, all coloured in the dark shades of Hollywood.
The anticipation of which of these sleek, uber-luxurious vehicles would be ours for the day was killing me!
‘Hi, Jake. We’ve been expecting you. Right this way to your vehicle, sir.’
I was taken aback with the astute level of service, and also felt a smug sense of satisfaction knowing that my next breathe would be filled with rich tan leather. I marvelled at the crispness of my attendant’s freshly pressed suit as he led the way (I mean, how does he get those creases so damn crisp?) when I was momentary distracted by something undeniably eye-catching amidst the army of dark, metallic beasts.
It was a little….actually….a tiny red car. I’ve seen kids toys that have a longer wheelbase.
I laughed out loud a little, only then realising the attendant had stopped and was now directly looking at me.
‘I’m glad you like it.
Now here, hop in.’ (We both obliged)
‘Insert the key and then push this button to start. It’s an automatic but also has a manual paddle shift just like the F1 race cars, which can be a lot of fun on tight and winding roads, especially if you open up the glass roof to let in some of that beautiful sunshine we’re expecting today. Anyway, you’ll get the hang of it in no time. No need to bring it back this afternoon, tomorrow morning is fine. See you then. Have fun!’
From the ironically spacious cabin, we looked at each other, and then back at the dash of our sporty Smart ‘Fortwo’ car, aptly named due to its seating capacity for just two passengers. I laughed out loud again, this time a little nervously as I pondered whether:
- We were on Candid Camera
- My wife was ever going to speak to me again
- We needed to wear helmets if we drove this on the open road
Throwing caution to the wind, I started her up and locked her into gear. After the initial shock of looking behind me and seeing the dealership wall an extremely uncomfortably close distance from the car rear windshield, I put the pedal down and headed for the beach. Even though it was a sunny Saturday on the Gold Coast, I was confident that this particular weekend I would have no problems finding a car park.
Well, it turns out this cute little red machine is a heck of a lot of fun to drive. You wouldn’t know it’s a 3 cylinder vehicle; we took it on the open road all the way down to Fingal in Northern New South Wales and it had no problems accelerating thanks to the turbocharged engine, and sat comfortably on the 100km/h speed limit albeit it a little shaken by passing semi-trailers.
Not surprisingly, fuel economy wasn’t even really even a thing with a Smart Car. It cost all of $30 to fill the tank, and to be honest, I’m not sure the fuel gauge even moved even after eighty kilometres of driving in both free-flowing and congested conditions.
And turn heads? Man, I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a whiplash epidemic proclaimed for South-East Queenslanders come Monday morning. The fresh, glossy red paint and uniqueness of the Smart Car really stands out in the crowd, despite the pint-sized stature of the vehicle itself.
My precious cargo sat comfortably in the passenger seat and I also had plenty of head, arm and leg room. Truth be known, the cabin felt delightfully spacious, accentuated by the moon roof which really allowed us to feel connected to our surroundings.
Of course, you just need to look at the Smart Car to work out that storage for additional cargo is limited – there’s room in the boot for a few bags of shopping, or in our case a picnic basket and blanket, but even that’s a refreshing change to the space-hungry SUVs that are hogging our roads, fuel and wallets. And that’s just it. The Smart Car is a refreshing change in every respect. With it’s Fiat-esque European styling it’s unique, cosy, quirky and genuinely practical in certain situations.
While a Smart Car most certainly isn’t a family car, in my humble opinion it’s a great option for those seeking a super-efficient vehicle, whether it be on fuel, on space or even on the wallet, that will bring a smile to your dial every day of the week.
I mean, who really needs that boring, run-of-the-mill black Merc anyway….