Smart Car Gas Mileage – Update No 2

Back in January 2008, Sparrow Chat featured an article on the new (to America) Smart Car from Mercedes Benz. This feature has received a large number of hits in recent months, due to the increasing cost of gasoline, but as yet no-one has been able to provide a concrete answer as to why the the European version fairs so much better in fuel consumption than its US counterpart, though a number of theories have been expounded.

Recently, Sparrow Chat received another comment on the subject, from Duncan in San Antonio:

“I just looked at the new Smart cars in the San Antonio showroom was appalled at the low gas mileage!! I am a Brit and lived in London where these were every where.

I seemed to remember them doing about 70 MPG in the UK – so I checked the UK Auto Car web reviews to make sure: and for the 70hp Passion it is listed as 36 MPG town (adjusted for the US gallon)and 58 MPG (adjusted for US gallon) highway.

WHAT have they done to the car here in the US???? They are only estimating a corresponding 33 MPG and 41 MPG – not much more than my Focus!

Such a great car but it will not catch on with this poor gas mileage – shame, a real shame.”

In fact, Duncan had made an error in his calculations and later corrected his figures in another comment. The incorrect figures have been replaced in the above reproduction of his comment.

It can be seen that around town the UK model is only slightly more economical (3 mpg more) than the US version. On the highway, however, the difference is dramatic. The UK car manages 17 mpg more than the US car.

This is a stunning difference for which, at this moment in time, there is still no satisfactory explanation.

Would anyone else out there care to comment?

Isn’t it time the importers of this vehicle set the record straight once and for all? Perhaps someone from the Penske Automotive Group the sole distributer of Smart cars in the USA, through its subsidiary, SmartUSA, would care to contact Sparrow Chat with the answer so many people are interested to hear?

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