The Ultimate Guide to Maximizing Your Smart Car's Mileage

Smart Cars have always been innovative, compact, efficient and perfect for urban living and commuting. Ownership of the brand is unstable in the North American market, but regardless of where you reside, it is important to know how many kilometres a Smart Car can truly cover on a full tank of gas. This guide will shed new light on the fuel efficiency of the Smart Car, while tracking the success of the brand from inception to present.

The Ingenious Design Behind the Smart Car's Fuel Efficiency

The Swatch-engineered Smart Car, a creation of the alliance between the Swiss watch manufacturer and Daimler’s Mercedes brand, is perfectly designed for the city-dweller. Such mini-cars can navigate the narrow streets of a city and squeeze into tiny parking places. Although their shape is modest, their range on a full tank is anything but.

The Smart Fortwo: A Model of Efficiency

Take the aptly named Smart Fortwo, a big seller with the humble 8.7 gallon fuel TANK, which has an additional 1.3 gallons in reserve. On the surface, 8.7 gallons seems impossibly small, especially to someone used to driving a larger car such as a Toyota Camry, with its 14.4 gallon tank. But it’s the Fortwo’s fuel economy that’s impressive: 33 miles per gallon around town and 39 on the highway.

Such efficiency is reflected in the significant mileage: users earn as much as 287.1 miles for a fill-up in a city like New York, stretching to 330 miles, if you keep a pedal down. But dare to venture farther away, and a fill-up (with the reserve) could take you as far as 390 miles, revealing how much more there is to the Smart Car than meets the eye.

Navigating the Urban Landscape

The size of the Smart Car isn’t ideal for long road trips, but who said city dwellers were always holed up in their apartments. They’re the furthest anything can get from homebound. The car is optimised for that higher calling: the city. Its ability to go far while stopping less often suits the metropolitan nomad just fine.

The Hunt for a Smart Car in North America

And today, the acquistion of a Smart Car in North America is a little bit of a quest, in the wake of Mercedes’ decision in 2019 to pull the brand out of the regional market due to sluggish sales. sales peaked in 2008 at 25,000 vehicles, but this gentle decline was exacerbated by the tide ebbing out from all gas-powered vehicles.

Embracing Electric: The New Era of Smart Cars

In North America, these developments were dealt a blow, but in Europe, the Smart brand remained resilient, reinventing itself in the fully electric era with the Smart #1 and #3 models, which have scaled up in size by adopting the more dominant SUV shape while doubling down on the brand’s promise of efficient small-car urban mobility.

The Ever-Evolving Smart Car Landscape

As the Smart Car’s engineers continued to move away from the original gas-powered mini and toward the electric dynamo we now know, the automotive industry at large shifted to become more sustainable and efficient. As electric vehicles (EVs) achieve a higher level of popularity, the Smart Car’s original design and mission seems to reappear.

Smart SUVs: A Glimpse into the Future

The development of the SUV models, the Smart #1 and #3, thus represents a strategic expansion of the Smart brand into a larger niche. These new models keep the core principle of Smart cars – small and efficient – but offer more space and versatility, appealing to new customers without losing any of the aspects that made Smart special in the early days.

A Deep Dive into the Smart TANK

This tank under the hood of a Smart Car is typical of the work inside a tiny overinflated fuel system. The precise arrangement of main and reserve tanks in a Smart Fortwo enables it to easily achieve much better mileage than a typical car, encouraging drivers to push the limits of the tank, to go further than usual before it’s time to fill up again.

Yet this is no savings account. What the tiny tank symbolises is the Smart Car willingness to cut out stops. And all those spare seconds might add up, making your trip that much smoother, that much more enjoyable. On city streets. On the highway.


In combining a forward-leaning vision of automotive design with compactness, efficiency and the construction of an ethos that embraced the urban habitat, the Smart Car had it all. Smart is now moving on, and if anything, its electric models (and, someday, possibly leading the industry to broader acceptance of EVs) owe more to Porsche than they do to Merc. The Smart’s petrol slide in the end was a brilliantly efficient clunker, and its story a fascinating chapter in the broader narrative of modern mobility. From careful beginning to busier end, there’s nothing more or less Holy Grail than the future of automotive transport.

Jun 15, 2024
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