Saturday, September 02, 2006

Christine Wilcox's smart car looks friendly and is especially nice to your wallet

By VINCE DEVLIN of the Missoulian
Smart? That's the question Christine Wilcox's father wanted her to pose on her license plate after she bought a European-built, bread box-sized smart car. “But they don't do question marks on license plates,” Wilcox says.
So she settled for a plate that reads 𔄝 X 8,” the dimensions, in feet, of her tiny ride. It's so small the company that makes them doesn't even bother putting a capital letter on the car's name. That, evidently, would take up too much room.
First, the things a smart car is not:
- It is not a hybrid.
- It is not electric.
- You do not pedal it (as you do many of the modes of transportation offered by ZAP, the California company that imports smart cars and refits them to meet American standards).
- Oh, and it is not big.
But you figured that out already. Still, the two-seat interior of the eye-catching automobile is surprisingly roomy. And the gas-powered engine delivers 50 miles per gallon, an especially nice feature given Montana's high gas prices.
The 60-horsepower, three-cylinder turbo engine is mounted under the small hatchback area at the rear of the car. Wilcox, who is from Missoula, was just finishing two years of living in Spain when the smart car hit the European market in 1998. She instantly fell in love with the little thing. “People say it's so great, I'm being so fuel-efficient,” Wilcox says. “But the reality is I've wanted it forever. I'm not trying to be an environmental wonder woman. I got it because I wanted one.”
Read full article here.

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