Fun little car to drive! If you think it is unsafe, you are wrong. IT IS QUITE SAFE. You basically are sitting in a steel cage. Great gas mileage, and believe it or not, good cargo space. When in the car, you do not even realize how small it is. It feels as though you are in a normal size car, that is, until you reach you arm around and touch the back window! Allow extra time and space when changing lanes or pulling into traffic since with only 3 cylinders it can be slower to accelerate. Also allow time and space with lane changes for fellow drivers to "see" you. Be aware that there is the dual drive, and it is easy to "slip" over to the manual when moving gear shift to drive. If it revs too much, put in "N" and stay on right to "D"
It is fun to drive. Gas mileage is great for a non-hybrid/gas-only vehicle. (I wish they marketed the diesel model in the US). Easy to park. You don't have the sense that you're in a "micro" vehicle. I tell people that it is small on the outside and big on the inside.
It's fun but not a car. It would definitely depend on the friend. Again - the Smart is NOT a car. Many people who've been disappointed with the Smart are comparing it to a car and I've decided that that is not what the Smart actually is. It's actually a go-cart. Gas mileage, performance, handling, comfort are equivalent to a go-cart with a nice interior and a surprising amount of clever storage space. So if you think it might be fun to drive a go-cart daily, the Smart is for you. I personally love it. I grocery shop, take long-ish trips in it, take my dogs too and from the park in it, etc etc. It's my daily driver.
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