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Old 01-08-2013, 09:54 AM   #29
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My first thought also, you can put a full body on it but in many states any vehicle with either 2 or 3 wheels will be considered a motorcycle. I know it was that way in CA before I left.
In the FAQ that question is asked and they say "you be the judge"

Alas. that is not the proper answer.. The Government of the state in which you are driving it WILL be who employees the judge if you do not have the proper license class.. And the same government is who will judge what class that needs to be.
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Old 01-08-2013, 02:07 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by wa8yxm View Post
In the FAQ that question is asked and they say "you be the judge"

Alas. that is not the proper answer.. The Government of the state in which you are driving it WILL be who employees the judge if you do not have the proper license class.. And the same government is who will judge what class that needs to be.
The way I interpreted the FAQ is that it not only states that it is a motorcycle, but it also correctly states that the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards classifies it as such. The "you be the judge" statement is rhetorical and refers back to the question, "But what do you see when you look at the Elio?". I don't think they are trying to say that it is a car, only that it shares many of the same characteristics of a car with the exception of how many tire footprints it has on the ground.
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Old 01-08-2013, 02:43 PM   #31
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Hopefully no one puts a deposit down..

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The Reservation Payment is NON-REFUNDABLE and provides you with the benefits in Section 4 below depending on the level of your payment. This Agreement does not constitute an agreement for the sale of a vehicle and does not lock in pricing, a production slot, or an estimated delivery date.
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Old 01-08-2013, 10:45 PM   #32
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I've seen Smart ForTwo's on the highway and there's no way I would travel the highway in one.
Care to explain why you think a smart is not a valid highway vehicle? I've had mine up to 85 mph and it feels as stable as any other small car at that speed - and is certainly safe, with ABS, traction control, anti-skid control, and a 5-star rating with IIHS...
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Old 01-09-2013, 12:02 AM   #33
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Care to explain why you think a smart is not a valid highway vehicle? I've had mine up to 85 mph and it feels as stable as any other small car at that speed - and is certainly safe, with ABS, traction control, anti-skid control, and a 5-star rating with IIHS...
To me .. it seems SO small, and yes it's designed to be. But when travelling on the highway, other vehicles just seem to dwarf it - especially 18 wheelers and say, RV's like us.

I'm not doubting its safety features, after all it is in the Mercedes family and certainly has well engineered safety features for a car its size - along with mostly good (highest) ratings by the IIHS - but for me, its the size itself, the small size of the overall safety cage and along with the small size, comes more of an opportunity for a car this size to become a ping-pong ball in single or multi-car accidents. With less physical structure to absorb crash impact, the vehicle itself has to dissipate this energy, and generally that's through the vehicle being "thrown" away from the crash scene.

This video in itself is pretty scary. A 40 mph offset crash that not only throws the Smart, but nearly causes it to flip over.

IIHS Crash Test Of Mercedes C300 Versus Smart ForTwo - YouTube

Had it flipped over, there would likely be issues with the roof being crushed. That said, the ForTwo does score good in the structural roof test, although there is certainly some roof crushing with over 9,000 lbs of force, but I would say the safety cage itself appears to be pretty strong.

2009 Smart ForTwo Roof Structural Test IIHS - YouTube

Before we purchased our VW Tiguan in 2010, we did a lot of research - including safety research and watching IIHS videos of all small SUV's in the category. After seeing how well the Tiguan and its safety cage performed, we knew our decision to purchase it was right for us.

With multiple people in our family in the medical field (Paramedic, ER Doctor, Police officers) we hear all too often about crashes, and it seems more often than not, where accidents involve the roll over of vehicles. The safety cage structure and roll over protection in the VW Tiguan is second to none.

This IIHS video shows the roof strength test, and with 15,000 lbs of force, the Tiguan hardly shows any damage and concludes the test with all windows intact with no breaking or blowouts. Compare that to the KIA in the same test - it's a very scary difference.

New roof strength tests - YouTube

To be fair, the frontal crash from the Tiguan certainly has significant damage and the vehicle does get thrown back from the impact, but with more mass, the vehicle itself absorbs more of the impact, the heavier mass keeps it closer to the impact site and there is considerably more of the front end left in place. Not to mention that the windows are still intact, further helping to protect the occupants. Although with the ForTwo there is less frontal area to begin with.

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Old 01-09-2013, 12:37 AM   #34
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This video is at the same time, scary and impressive and probably shows a little more real world effects of a ForTwo crash at high speed

SMART car crash (TEST) - YouTube
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Old 01-09-2013, 10:44 AM   #35
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The trouble with all small cars, regardless of make, is that they do not have enough mass to keep them from being violently thrown around in a collision. While the passenger compartments may remain largely intact, and even though seat restraints are used and airbags deployed, there is nothing that will prevent the trauma that the human body will suffer due to the violent forces that are released during and after impact.

Look at the head and neck of the dummy in the slo-mo close-up in 2labs first video. The head is violently whipped around as the Smart Car is thrown to the right after impact. There is just no way that the human body can survive those types of forces. Conversely, look at the C300 and how the mass of the car keeps all four wheels on the ground and only allows the car to spin out before coming to a halt. The Smart Car left the ground and literally became a ping pong ball.

I think my Jeep will be as small as we're ever going to go.
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Old 01-09-2013, 08:25 PM   #36
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It all comes down to mass x velocity and mass will win every time.

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Old 01-09-2013, 08:50 PM   #37
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We owned 3 smart cars when we lived in UK , all were great city cars , economical and fun to drive . I would agree with other posts that its not the car I would want my family driving on a busy US interstate
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Old 01-10-2013, 04:40 AM   #38
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I hope they work out. I was one of the last construction workers on the old GM plant when it was first built in the late 70's. The 1500 workers would help S-port a lot. This may be just the vehicle I would use for a quick run somewhere if the wife has the Equinox. I had motorcycles when I was young so would be familiar with it some. It would appear to be at least as safe as a motorcycle.
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Old 01-10-2013, 07:30 AM   #39
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Being as safe as a motorcycle.... ?

I saw a Smart Car lose a minor argument with a Camry.

Smart Car: 2 seriously injured.

Camry: just a fender bender.

Everyone chooses their own risk level
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Old 01-10-2013, 10:19 AM   #40
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It all comes down to mass x velocity and mass will win every time.

Ken

How TRUE!!!!
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Old 01-10-2013, 02:18 PM   #41
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Ah, yes, the Reliant Robin. The subject of one of my favorite Top Gear episodes.
Rusty

Is that what I saw in Virginia last summer ?
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Old 01-11-2013, 12:06 AM   #42
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Being as safe as a motorcycle.... ?

I saw a Smart Car lose a minor argument with a Camry.

Smart Car: 2 seriously injured.

Camry: just a fender bender.

Everyone chooses their own risk level
...and I've seen smart vs. Toyota Tundra: smart was able to be driven away while the Tundra got a ride on a roll-back.

Anecdotes are fun, but that's all they are. The smart car is definitely NOT for everyone, but it IS a viable option for many. It has more leg room, shoulder room, and head room than our 2001 Ford Escape; it has a feeling of spaciousness to it because the windshield is farther away from us than our Escape. People who sit in it all say the same thing: "how can they fit so much room into this tiny thing?"

For two people it's a good option for everyday transportation. Why carry around 6000 lbs of SUV, with seating for 7, when there's only 2 of you? Granted, some people need lots of seats, but how often are all the seats used? If we need extra seats, we force ourselves to fire up the Escape, but it spends most of it's time sitting on the driveway these days. the smart is a great toad - it only weighs 1800 lbs and is easy to haul around. When we're not hauling it, we've got our motorcycle on a trailer behind us so I guess you can call us doubly crazy for having both a smart and a bike!
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