James Delingpole hate Smart Cars (Smug Cars) and the Toyota Prius (Pious).
All right. I admit it, I’m prejudiced. I hate Smart cars.
I’ve loathed them ever since I glimpsed the first ones, crawling along the streets of London — from 0 to 60 in about half an hour — some time in the mid Noughties.
The Smart car was the brainchild of Nicolas Hayek, the man who invented Swatch watches. His idea was for a small, fuel-efficient, environmentally friendly car that would be easy to park in small, city spaces.
The Swatch company started working with car giants Daimler-Benz in 1995 and the first of the new cars was shown at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1997.
The car’s makers boast that their vehicles — from exterior to seats, even the car battery — are 98 per cent recyclable, and each car is classified as an Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (ULEV).
They run on regular diesel or petrol, but are considered eco-friendly because they do around 70 miles to the gallon and their carbon emissions are low.
The truth, though, is that the Smart car — or Smug car, as it should really be known — masquerades as something modest, simple, practical and back-to-basics when, in fact, it’s just a poseur’s gimmick.
Driving a Smart car is the modern version of those horrid old back window stickers that used to say: ‘My other car is a Porsche.’
Except the difference is that if you have a Smart car, your other car probably is a Porsche.
Have a look at the price list and you’ll see what I mean.
These things aren’t manufactured for peanuts by some charming little yogurt-weaving collective in Wales.
They’re made in Germany by Daimler, with pricing to match.
Even the most basic, two-door model doesn’t leave you with much change out of £11,000. Read more »