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A smarter ride: a national downsizing?

At 8 feet long, the Mercedes Smart car is about 4 feet shorter than a Mini Cooper and about half the length of the average SUV.

When the Smart hits the US market in 2008, it will be the country’s smallest car, but it will be just a bit bigger and heavier than the international version. And gas mileage will suffer: instead of the 60 or 70 mpg for the foreign car, the American Smart will get 40 mpg. Of course, instead of sizing up, some US dealerships are importing the European Smart car for sale here.

In this video, we ride in one with Bryce Lathrop of Seattle’s Green Car Company. He talked to us about why the American auto market is so oversized and why he sees some hope for a national downsizing.

Bryce also burned some rubber in a three-wheeled electric NmG.