Thursday, March 5, 2009

Whoa, that's a car?

Carol Topping is an Associate Professor of Social Sciences. She's also a proud owner of a SmartCar, a Daimler Chrysler brand of super compact vehicles.

I sat down and talked to Carol Topping about her interesting little set of wheels.

I first asked her what interested her in such a small car, "The first time I thought that would be the perfect size for me because I'm always by myself. With all the other vehicles I've had, I've always had a lot of extra room that was wasted."

She told me that before she drove the SmartCar, she drove a LandRover and a RAV4 Toyota SUV. "I've been trying to downsize," she added. "At first I ordered a black one, but then I was worried that people wouldn't be able to see me. I switched and ordered a yellow one."

"They're very reasonable priced," she said. So, how much does one cost? According to the SmartCar USA website, the basic models start at around $11,000. The higher end versions start around $18,000. Not bad when you compare a 2009 Honda Civic starting around $15,000, or a 2009 Toyota Corolla for the same price.

The second question on everyone's mind when you talk about vehicles is gas mileage. So I asked her and she answered, "The other night I got 52 miles to the gallon.... It's been down to 34 back a few weeks ago when the wind was bad... But it's usually between 45-50."

When asked about how the car handles, she said it's just like any small car; when the wind picks up, the wind feels like it's pushing the car sideways. She also added that the wheel base is so small than when you hit a bump or a pot hole, you can feel it. "But I'm not use to comfort in my car so bumps just don't bother me or wrestling with the wind doesn't bother me. Other than that, it's really speedy and picks up fast. It's a lot of fun to drive."

The picture is from Flickr's Creative Commons gallery.

Vol State. Volunteer State Community College.

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