Smart. Very Smart

It looks like Smart cars, which I saw for the first time on my trip to Paris in 1999, will finally be making their way to the US market. At least, that’s what rumors and unnamed sources say in such prominent places as the Wall Street Journal and Der Spiegel. Think that’s a lot of fuss for unverifiable rumors? You probably haven’t filled up recently. The nifty two seater Smart is poised to enter the market at a banner time for small vehicles thanks to soaring post-Katrina fuel prices; fuel economy is reported to range from 46 MPG city to 70 MPG highway. Of course, they crumple like an aluminum can if you breathe on them wrong, but honestly—after my most recent $40 tank of gas, I’m thinking that sounds like a reasonable trade-off for a lower fuel bill.

If nothing else, the Smart should set a bar for other automakers as the subcompact market heats up. Maybe now we’ll finally see the Volkswagen Polo in the US.