I think part of the problem is that the Smart (we have a 2002 Passion Coupe) is a small car and so seems further away than it really is. People also expect it to be going slowly (why should it?) - the result is that they think they have more time/space available to make their manoeuvre.
But there are those who are just natural bullies or drive unthinkingly (in London, lank-haired blonde mums in 4x4s who will happily drive all over you).
Never owned a Smart Car Yet, but have Driven one before, I must say they are cute and if you do not need rear seats I recommend you go out and buy one. However as an Australian writing this I recommend for the same money You can get a Ford Focus, Mazda 2 or 3,Hyundai Elantra or Nissan Pulsar for the same sort of money, Was Considering Trading in my 2002 Mazda 323 Astina for a Smart ForTwo, but after what I have Read here and one Drive I have opted Not to, The Smart may work well in Europe and Britain, but outside of the Continent No Good, I mean Look at Ford Australia They tried with the KA AND KA2 to fill the gap temporarily caused by the demise of the little Korean Built Festiva for two-three years and look where that got them, No Automatic, Wheezy 1300cc Engine and barely enough room, It flopped seriously and thankfully is no longer sold in Australia, Personally the Smart will fail for the same reasons, So if you thinking about buying one My Advice to you is DON'T, Get a next class up or two Korean, European or Japanese anytime over this piece of crap which IF hit by a bigger car you may well die in, Smart Cars Great for Europe Do not Look at outside it.
As regards the last comment, the Smart has been crash tested against larger Mercedes-Benz vehicles including the S class, and the occupants inside would have survived. The reason people buy a Smart over a Japanese car is that there is more to life than getting a lot of car for your money, who wants to be seen in a Japanese car? The Smart may not be suited to Australian conditions, but it was not designed for that country, it was designed for Europe.
I have to agree there, the Smart car was never intended for the Australian car market. I think this is where the US/AUS and European car markets differ. I think it's been a bit too long in the tooth for any other countries outside of the EU to even consider marketing this type of car. It's a bit like considering selling and marketing Holdens here in the U.K; it simply won't work for various reasons like economy and running costs for a start; who wants to drive about in a costly 4.0 litre when they can have a economical practical car that costs a quarter of that to run in a year, and also looks stylish.
EU markets tend to take risks and generally they pay off, whereas the US/AUS don't and they normally go by a "tried and tested" approach, which therefore results in some pretty boring and dull looking cars about. Sorry, but when it comes to car styling, the EU/Japanese do it best.
Although in saying that, the new Mini has come of age in the US, with demand outstripping supply.
I have to agree with the above comment. I'm considering purchasing a used smart with the cdi and the only thing holding me back is the two smart/M-B dealers in my city. their attitude towards DIY mechanics at the parts counter (more like a hole in the wall) is horrible. I experienced this first hand while trying to acquire some parts for a 300SD I was fixing. how dare I bother them for parts. I can only imagine what booking a repair would be like.
Thanks. I must say that any comments regarding the safety of the fortwo being low, are made only by the uninformed.
I have had many different cars in my 50 years; Japanese, Euro and Aussie.
The Smart is way ahead in more ways than just safety. Japanese cars have a limited K's life built in, as do the Korean cars, no matter how well you look after them.
My last Mazda expired without warning, after never missing a service. The dealer told me it was not worth fixing, as it was worth very little, & I should trade it in on a new one. No thanks...
I have better things to spend my money on than rubbish cars, built to be disposable, and not worth fixing.
My smart fortwo has 50.000k's on it without any problems. It has done many long trips on highways, dirt roads, bush tracks, and of course the city run around.
People should not be fooled by its small demeanor, and own one before commenting! The original Fiat Bambino 500 was laughed at, at first. Many were sold worldwide, as well as in Australia
My advice is if it suits your needs, buy one, you will love it. If you never named your car before, you will name this one.
I named mine IDDY, as in iddy biddy little car