Dodge Ram 2500 4x4 6.7-liter Cummins Against Smart
Fortwo 0.8-liter CDI Brabus Nightrun Coupe
By: Mike Levine Posted:
04-22-07 23:45 PT
© 2007 PickupTruck.com
  
hear the one about the two dogs that walked into a Las Vegas wedding
chapel? One was a Great Dane, the other a Chihuahua. We’d
tell you the rest but our family-friendly reputation would be toast. The
point is they’re both canines who happen to be the results
of some mighty strange selective breeding by Homo sapiens. Great
Danes were bred as bear hunters and warrior hounds in ancient Europe,
while Chihuahuas were created to star in Taco Bell commercials.
really not that different when it comes to cars and trucks. Like
man’s numero uno amigo they come in all sorts of different shapes
and sizes to meet every conceivable type of automotive urge - except
cars and trucks don’t elope to Vegas, and, uh, neither do dogs
for that matter.
the 2007 Clean Diesel Technology Tour in Sacramento,
California, we played with two very different breeds of vehicle from
the species ‘Petroleo combustus waytbetterthanaprius’, Latin
for clean burning diesels.
diesel powered Dodge Ram 2500 Mega Cab 4x4 and Brabus buffed Smart
Fortwo CDI are as different from each other as a Great Dane is from
a Chihuahua but they’re
distant cousins in DaimlerChrysler’s extended family and virtually
identical when it comes to the compression burning genes in their stop-and-go
to a recent poll conducted by the Diesel Technology Forum, a non-profit
group of diesel vehicle and engine makers, components manufacturers,
and fuel providers, when Californians think of ‘diesel’,
61 percent think of heavy-duty trucks, like pickups and semis. It’s
not hard to find that number credible when you see a new 2007 Ram 2500
Heavy Duty with a 6.7-liter Cummins mill under its hood. The Ram
is the poster-child for diesel driven haulers with its big rig looks,
beefy footprint, and 6.25-ton towing capacity.
though, the perception of diesel is almost the exact opposite. Across
the pond oil burners make up over half the passenger cars sold versus
about 1% of new car sales stateside. Why? Because of economics and
environmentalism. Over there fuel is taxed to outrageous heights
but government subsidies knock diesel costs down to less than gasoline
prices. Diesel also contains more energy per gallon of fuel compared
to gas, which means up to 30% better mileage and lower amounts of greenhouse
gas emissions, like CO2.
One of Europe’s
favorite diesel-driven rides is the inline-3 (not a typo), 0.8-liter
(not a typo) Smart Fortwo CDI two-person passenger car, which is also
available in Canada. Next year the Smart Fortwo will come to America,
but only with a gas engine.
have a fetish with small cars. It has to do with the
reasons mentioned above and tightly packed cities with narrow streets
dating back to feudal times, when ox carts were the primary mode of conveyance.
The rear engine Smart Fortwo takes this micro-auto obsession to an
extreme. With a length of only 106-inches, it’s like an extended
cab pickup without the front engine compartment or cargo box. And it’s
about as useful.
read gushing reviews from the European press about the Smart Fortwo.
How it gets a combined 56-mpg in city and highway driving and helps
avoid parallel parking with its ability to place itself tangentially
between two cars.
commentator and occasional Motor Trend contributor Paul Horrell, from
the U.K., describes the Fortwo as, “a jewel where the average
American car is a big ugly boulder.” With
all due respect Mr. Horrell, I was always taught that no matter how much
you polish a turd it’s never going to be a diamond, and when it
comes to cars the Fortwo is a tiny little rabbit pellet that’s
about as useful as one to most drivers here in the good ole U.S. of A.
the CDI Smart Fortwo Brabus Nightrun Coupe we drove costs $26,000 CDN,
or about $23,000 Washingtons. Hmmm. Half a vehicle at a full vehicle
price. It only
fits two people with room for a laptop in the cargo area behind its seats.
Such a deal! We’ll give it a few points though ‘cause
got a tailgate.
Mister Horrell or other Smart-lovers get their knickers twisted in
a bunch, we happen to be big fans of many small Euro cars, particularly
their diesels. In addition to owning and driving all sorts of trucks
and SUVs, this writer also owns a Volkswagen Jetta TDI. A small
car for sure next to the 2007 Chevrolet Silverado Crew Cab 1500 we’re
currently testing but nearly as capable when it comes to daily driving
needs that don’t require 10K-lbs of towing ability or hauling
more than five bags of fertilizer home from the local gardening center.
The diesel Jetta averages combined city and highway mileage of 38-mpg,
fits four people comfortably plus a week’s worth of groceries
in its spacious boot. All
this for $25K USD brand new. Now that’s a European small car
worth bragging about.