While the Mercedes-Benz SL 500 wins the most exciting announcement out of Daimler’s booths at the Detroit Auto Show this year; its Smart Car sub-brand gets recognition for the most shocking with the introduction of the Smart For-Us Concept: a smart-car, pickup vehicle.
This feisty, urban street-dweller is fairly reminiscent of something out of a Dr. Seuss novel. It’s hard not to laugh at the cheeky anime face its front façade makes, and the supremely retro interior that would feel more at home in The Jetsons space age.
While this may seem to be a harsh conclusion, it brings us back to the whole point of a concept car: to act as a realized hypothesis for the needs of future society.
While this could mean speed and energy efficiency, such as BMW’s i8 sports car concept; it could also address a niche like the Audi Q3 Vail concept does for winter sports. In this case however, the designers at Daimler thought of the perceived needs of a city resident as they have done in the past. The Smart ForTwo model gave us access to miniscule parking spaces, while the Smart ForFour and Smart Roadster gave us the company’s take on family and sports cars respectively.
In this capacity, the Smart For-Us bridges the next logical gap: the pickup. Who hasn’t at some point needed to move some boxes or furniture from one condo building to the next? While most of us would agree to that, an equal amount have also scrounged around for a friend’s full-size Ford F150 to do the job. Who doesn’t mind trading an afternoon of baggage chauffeuring for some wings and beer: it’s the natural way of life.
Despite the welcome effort, the reality is that a Smart Car is still in the mini-size class; and while zooming around town with an impressive zero emissions and speeding up to 75 mph is fun: 11.6 cubic feet of pickup space will not cut it for grandma’s one ton, hand-me-down sofa.
To be fair, the concept is great for packing up your bike and heading to the scenic suburbs for some exercise. A guilt-free, green alternative to shuffling it around on public transit. With that, we recommend you check it out below
ENGINE: 55-kw magneto-electric motor
HORSES: 75 hp
TANK: 17.6 kWh Lithium-Ion battery
RECHARGE: less than 8 hours
PICKUP: 11.6 cubic feet of space
TOP SPEED: 75+ mph
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Check out this Smart Car's reveal at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show by SNL-alum Jon Lovitz:
Video from Auto Week