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"
While the Smart Car is really small on the outside, it has plenty of room for two big people on the inside. While the trunk area is small too, it is adequate for several bags of groceries and other shopping needs. The engine is small too,,but it is geared for plenty of speed around town and on the interstate. The manual / automatic transmission takes some getting used to, but it works fine and predictably Overall we are really enjoying the Smart Car and marvel at the German engineering to include so many luxury amenities in such a small package. It handles and drives great and is very inexpensive to own and operate.
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.