Like most Smart drivers posting on this site, I’m loving my car. While fuel economy was a major motivation behind its purchase, I have to admit that lower fuel prices have allowed me to rationalize that it’s okay to “drive it like I stole it.” So instead of easing my way around town, I’m having a blast with the paddle shifters and tachometer... winding out each gear and leaving surprised SUV drivers behind. The stereo is fantastic and the ride is better than expected. Until this week, the big “unknown” was whether I would be able to drive for hours in something so small.
Monday afternoon I drove from my home in Lindenhurst, IL five and one-half hours to Saint Louis, Missouri... returning Tuesday evening. That’s over 600 miles in a 24-hour period. While cruise control would have improved the experience significantly (I eventually plan on installing one of the after market options), I am happy to report that the car is quite capable of a long highway trip. Once I escaped Chicago’s horrible road surfaces (some of the worse in the country from my experience), the ride was relatively comfortable. I was able to drive over three hours at a hop without feeling completely cramped and uncomfortable.
The car has no problem maintaining highway speeds (to the contrary, I had a hard time driving it under 75... anything less felt like I was holding it back!). Acceleration up on ramps or passing trucks also was no problem, although I tend to switch into manual shift when anticipating anything demanding so that I have more control). Even with a strong head wind and pretty aggressive speeds, the car averaged 38 mpg for the trip. (I’ve had 40+ mpg at more reasonable speeds, but what fun is that?) And you’d think I was driving an exotic Italian sports car for all the attention the car got.
All in all the car passed the test with flying colors. The fear that I would not be comfortable in the car for long drives has proven to be unwarranted. I may wait to drive it nine hours to our place in Eastern Tennessee until after installing cruise control, but in the mean time I’m happy as a clam.
Hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving!