Americans have been slow to accept super small cars for whatever reason. In a country where most families use their vehicles daily for hauling people from place to place, fuel economy usually takes a back seat to passenger comfort, space and amenities. This is rather unfortunate considering it has a direct impact on the environment. It has only been within the most recent years that American drivers have finally started to see the appeal of smaller cars. This being said, most still view mini vehicles as more of a novelty than a viable driving option. The Smart Pure Coupe Hatchback was the first micro-car to find its way to America, but is only recently gaining popularity, and only among a very specific market.
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With gas prices continuing to rise and no relief in sight, paired up with concerns for the environment, American are taking more thoughtful factors into consideration during the decision making process. Now, smaller, more fuel efficient cars are practically booming in the United States. The Mercedes-Benz company's introduction of the Smart Pure Coupe Hatchback could not have come at a better time, as it is positioned to be the standard by which other micro-cars are held as they are introduced to an increasingly eager U.S. market.
The Smart Pure Coupe Hatchback is ideal for a very specific consumer, namely the young urban driver who wants a car that gets great gas mileage and is easy to park, yet is attractive enough to turn heads. This is not the car you choose for a long commute. It offers a rough drive on the highway and loud engine sounds. In addition to this, a difficult shifting mechanism in the transmission in the upper gears is a common complaint. However, for its niche market, the Smart Car is right on target.
As its name suggests, the Smart Fortwo is a two-seater, designed to transport two people and not much else. The Smart Fortwo comes in a standard or convertible edition. Both of these have two doors. It is powered by a 1.0-liter three-cylinder engine that has a five-speed manual transmission with a rear-wheel drive. It works for city driving, and has a top speed of 90 mph although it is tough to handle at that point.
The Smart Pure is a product of the Mercedes Car Group and can be found at many Smart dealerships and a few MB dealers in the U.S. It is offered through Smart USA Distributor LLC, a part of the Penske Automotive Group. The car is marketed here as the Smart Fortwo.