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.
My initial misgivings were unfounded (might not be perky enough for comfortable interstate highway speeds, not high enough for practical sight-lines--both completely unfounded). It's cute and very economical to operate and because it's pretty much entirely white and shaped as it is, it resembles an enormous Storm Trooper's Helmet.
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.
Are you on the hunt for a budget-friendly ride? This list of best ranked cars under 10K was compiled based on CarMax average prices and sales data from November 1, 2017, through April 30, 2018. Check out interior and exterior images of a variety of vehicles to suit your needs.
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