smart center Seattle opens its doors – might even have cars to drive by tomorrow

OK, I know, I love my MINI. There is even a song titled that made for MINI enthusiast owners (email me if you want me to send it to you, fellow MINI fans). But I have to say, I am being beckoned by the new smart passion fortwo.

I think I am going to refer to it as the smart foroneandadog. Since my biggest consideration when considering this vehicle is the comfort and safety of Sophia, my Italian greyhound, my work assistant, mischief sidekick, and exercise partner.

The current configuration in my MINI is that back seat has been folded down for nearly two years, with a dog bed on the flat folded down area. She can lay, she can stand and walk around, and she uses an after-market arm rest – which I call a “paws rest” – to get to the front seat from the back. Because sadly the MINI, since it is a two door car, does not have rear windows that open to allow for that oh-so-vital whiff of outside air that tells Sophia where she is and which direction she is headed.

My husband and I have been talking about it, and in the process of even contemplating trading in my beloved MINI Cooper for a more environmentally-friendly set of wheels, I wondered if I should be considering an EV (electric vehicle) or hybrid. I don’t think there are any pure EVs out there yet that can do 100 miles on one charge, and I regularly log 100 miles in a day for my work. And the hybrids that are out there just take me right back to why I got the MINI – they either are too big or too ugly. Or both. (The Honda InSight the exception, and it is too LOW.)

So that brings me back around to the smart car. I first saw one when visiting Paris, France in 2000. We were walking down the street and went wha….ha… whattheheckisTHAT?!? In fact, I know we have a picture of it, somewhere on a computer around here. When in Rome, Italy two years ago we actually went into a showroom and sat in one. A friend of ours in Germany actually bought one about a year ago – and then hit the road to drive around Europe for about 6 months and loves it. But I have yet to drive one.

So here’s how our IM conversation went this morning:
Wendy HJ says:
Should I be thinking about an electric car as opposed to the Smart car?
StephenHJ says:
Lets wait and see… I’d like to do a bit more research on the real plusses of the electric/hybrids… Not sure of the real carbon footprint (CF) yet, but the Smart has a known CF that we can research.
StephenHJ says:
Depends on what your goals of ownership are.
Wendy HJ says:
What do you mean goals?
StephenHJ says:
Do you want to have a “cool” car, or is it purely a choice based on CF?
Wendy HJ says:
Neither – I am drawn to the Smart car because it is all the space I need really, gets super mileage so I will MAKE money in my job as opposed to just keeping up, and I can freakin park it anywhere, I bet even sideways
Wendy HJ says:
I don’t think it’s “cool”, I think most ppl think it’s freaky looking and dangerous to drive
Wendy HJ says:
Oh and I like that I can change out the color panels
Wendy HJ says:
no other car does that that I know of
The only reason why we are even having this conversation is because we have decided to sell our teardrop trailer. It is fully loaded with all of the camping gear you need, and a well-appointed galley. Steve’s decided that with a dog who likes to sleep under the covers and has VERY long legs there just is not enough room in a four foot wide space for all three of us. And since camping is supposed to be a FAMILY outing, I don’t want to leave the dog behind…so I guess we are done camping in the teardrop. And the darn mosquitoes – we had a very bad experience 4th of July weekend in 2006 and the dog has been freaking out over buzzing sounds and floating dust motes ever since.

So, without needing to tow a trailer, I COULD drive a different vehicle.

And so the process continues. We’ll let you know how it turns out! I still haven’t driven one. I need to be sure the dog will be happy, I can still carry a file box around in the back with papers in it, and that the paddle shifters and automated manual transmission is going to work for me.

And if YOU are interested in a smart fortwo, be sure to visit the smart center Seattle web site and make an appointment for a test drive.

And if you are interested in purchasing a 2004 teardrop trailer that was locally built in Burien, send me an email.

One of the coolest features, in my opinion, is that the color panels on the smart car can be removed and swapped to a different color. My plan is to get a black one, that my husband will feel comfortable driving, then get panels customized in green with my Green Spaces Real Estate business information, and another set in pink for when I just want to just be me and go have fun without working. Steve was a graphic designer so he created an image of what Wendy’s Pink smart foroneandadog looks like. Awesome!!

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