Friday, January 25, 2008

fortwo for you?

Interesting excerpts from the C-J-- an update on the Louisville debut of the "for-two"...

In reviewing the fortwo, which is only a foot longer than a standard golf cart,, the auto trade publication, reported that it can withstand crashes "as well as or better than much larger cars."

The 9-foot-long wheelbase, four airbags and the steel cage system that surrounds passengers help the fortwo endure impacts. The fortwo meets crash standards set by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration but has not yet been rated for crash safety. The agency begins its rating process after cars go on sale in the United States.

"We want to make sure we're testing what people are buying," said NHTSA spokeswoman Karen Aldano. But Edmunds reviewers concluded that with its 1-liter, 70-horsepower engine, the fortwo is "not really suited to highway travel."

"For those who spend 90 percent of their driving time by themselves in traffic or meandering through congested city streets, the fortwo makes an awful lot of sense," the Edmunds review concluded.

When driving the fortwo on Interstate 64 and I-71 yesterday, every bridge joint and bump in the road could be felt. Acceleration was not a problem, and the extremely direct steering made lane changes a breeze.

Still, the fortwo felt jostled when passing a tractor-trailer or even a large box truck. The experience, complete with a lot of wind noise, was not unlike highway driving in a Jeep....

Unlike a demographic category that sorts buyers by age and income and lifestyle, the automaker asserts there is a "psychographic" category for smart fortwo buyers. These are individuals, but they think alike...

The first Louisville buyer picked up a new fortwo from the just-opened Sam Swope smart dealership on Blankenbaker Parkway Saturday. While Will Swope declined to say how many people have reserved a fortwo, customers can expect to wait 15 to 18 months if they order one.


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