Wednesday, June 07, 2006

But will it make it over Vail Pass?

Finding a mountain worthy fuel efficient car
Andy Stonehouse June 6, 2006

Drivers in the Vail Valley were among the first in the state to be hit with the grim reality that is $3-a-gallon-plus prices for fuel. And there is every indication that costs will be even higher as the summer rolls along.
It’s times like these that begin to prompt folks to consider some different automotive options, exploring the notion that there may be more to the car world than the oversized SUVs that nearly everyone purchased over the past few years (and now feel more than a slight pang of regret every time they head to the pump).
The most radical of the bunch is the Smart car, now sold at a variety of Front Range dealers (including Loveland’s Mountain View Motors). With looks and size that make it seem like a highway-worthy golf cart, the Smart’s 60 horsepower three-cylinder engine generates mileage in the 60 mpg range – but can still reach 85 miles an hour on the interstate. Whether or not you’d be interested in actually driving an eight-foot-long, 1,500-pound micro-micro-car on Vail Pass is another issue. The Smart cars, pioneered by Mercedes-Benz, might find a better fit in urban areas; facing off against 18-wheelers and Suburbans (not to mention winter weather), the little vehicles will probably remain a specialty item for years to come.

Read full article here.

Note: Vail Pass has an altitude of around 10,000 feet. We crossed the Continental Divide at over 7,000 feet with no problem. Can anyone report a higher climb in a smart car?

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