Smart ForTwo vs. Mini Cooper SmackDown

Thanks to a comment by J.K. Bounds, I’ve done a little more studying of the re-designed Mini Cooper. First, I really appreciate this thoughtful comment, though I do not share JK’s disappointment with the Smart. Second, I am no longer selling my Mini– I am now trading in my gas-hog 2005 Mini Cooper S and getting the more fuel efficient 2008.

But notice this recent review of the actual mileage of the 2008 Mini by Edmunds:

“In performance testing, the Cooper S sprinted from zero to 60 mph in 6.5 seconds. As for the base coupe, Mini claims it’ll do the 0-60 drill in 8.5 seconds – but it feels even quicker, especially compared to the previous coupe. Fuel economy with a manual transmission is 28 mpg city and 37 mpg highway for the Cooper and 26/34 mpg for the Cooper S. The automatic drops fuel economy by 2-3 mpg.

My wife drives the Mini most of the time and she insists on an automatic. OK, I pay the toll for the automatic, my choice. But I should add that, when I was at the SF Mini dealer yesterday, purely coincidentally, checking out all of those cute new Minis collecting dust on the showroom floor, I noticed the small print beneath the large 30 MPG City, 38 MPG Highway sticker– ‘actual driving mileage 26 to 32 mpg.’ Ah yes, the old ‘actual driving mileage’ exception in the small print compared to the fake mileage numbers in the big print.

Speaking of which, I have another road warrior anecdote. Last week, I had the pleasure of being a roundtrip passenger from Buffalo to Rochester in my friend’s Lexus Hybrid SUV. The conversation went something like this:

PASCAL: “How do you like the hybrid?”
FRIEND: “Love it, we get 33 miles per gallon.”
PASCAL: “Really? Mind if I reset your mlieage meters for the trip?
FRIEND: “No problem, let’s measure…”

RESULT: 26.5 mpg. Message to Lexus: Get real with the hybrid, stop the hype. We get that kind of mileage in a conventional BMW 535xi Turbo station wagon on the highway.

Finally: check out this fuel efficiency comparison of the Smart v Prius v Jetta v Focus from Edmunds (not too shabby for the Smart):


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