Cars

You Can’t Blame the U.S. For Banning This Smart Car Model

The U.S. is particularly strict when it comes to which vehicles are allowed on the road. In order to be street legal, the vehicle must have a good amount of standard safety features and be thoroughly road-tested. However, these tests require multiple vehicles, which means that you may never see expensive exotic European supercars stateside any time soon. 

Driver’s safety has become a top priority for car manufacturers in recent years. Vehicles can now be purchased with parking sensors, lane merge or keep assistance, and forward-collision warning to cut down on the number of accidents yearly. The Smart Crossblade car has none of these features and even lacks some of the components considered to be the bare minimum of motor safety.

Smart car Crossblade general specs

The Crossblade has a Brabus 3-cylinder engine capable of 70 hp and 73 lb-ft of torque. It has a 6-speed manual transmission. The first version of the model released in 2002 could only reach up to 80 miles per hour. However, the latest version can go up to 130 miles per hour. Despite this, all Crossblades have terrible acceleration rates, 17 seconds to get from 0 to 60.

Like any smart car, it gets great gas mileage. The Smart Crossblade gets a combined city/highway rating of 44 mpg (53 in the U.K.). It can only seat two riders and has a very limited trunk space, but drivers were more drawn to the aesthetics of the car. It looks sporty and unconventional compared to most vehicles on the road.

Obvious safety concerns

Looking at the Crossblade, it’s very clear why this car was banned in the States. Its “doors” consist of a singular rail to keep its passengers inside, which would offer very little protection in the event of a collision from the side of the car. The car also has no roof, but the materials inside were marketed to be weather-proof. Still, the passengers are left exposed to the elements.

Another big issue is the windshield. It’s noticeably smaller than many cars, leaving the driver with no protection during a head-on collision. Windshields also protect the passengers from bugs or other various debris while driving at high speeds.

The Crossblade’s windshield is made of plexiglass rather than standard safety glass. This helps contribute to the overall lightweight design of the car, but it’s also an incredible safety hazard. 

The Smart car company

The Crossblade is actually a variant of the Smart Fortwo, another popular car made by Smart. The automaker is based in Germany, but many of its models are very limited. This makes the cars rare to see even on the streets of Europe. You can purchase a Fortwo through a U.S. dealer, but it will be discontinued after this year due to its unpopularity. 

It has the same engine and gets slightly better fuel economy ratings. Unlike the Crossblade, it has regular doors, windows made from glass, and a roof. Smaller cars can’t hold up as well during a head-on collision because of the smaller crumple zone. However, it still received excellent crash test scores and comes with many safety features.

Where can you find the Crossblade?

Only 2,000 Crossblades were ever made, but the car occasionally pops up on auction sites. In 2016, a listing for a Crossblade appeared on Bring A Trailer from a seller in California. It sold for a little over $25,000, which could be considered a bargain due to the rarity of the car.

It’s still legal for Crossblade fans in North America to drive the car around their homes if they can get their hands on one, as long as they don’t test drive it on public roads.