Volume 16, Issue 37 - September 11 - September 18, 2008

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Getting Around

Stories on the move

by Erica Stratton

For Liz and Larry Ulvila, their smart car isn’t just a way of getting around. It’s a media event. When they stop at a light, people take photos of their vehicle. Sometimes this confuses Liz — until she remembers what she’s driving: “Oh, I’m in the clown car. I forgot.”

At first glance, clown car is apt: The vehicle is 8.8 feet long. Yet the Ulvila’s both attest to the comfort of the ride. A look inside reveals why: The car is almost entirely a roomy front seat, though there’s room in the back for groceries.

The Ulvilas first saw the smart car during trips to Europe. Upon returning to the States, they were the second couple in town to purchase one. They use it mainly to run errands. “It’s just perfect for Annapolis,” Liz says. “There’s nothing bad I can say about it.” She lists — along with the safety of the car (the cab is a woven steel “safety cell” that resists impact) and its need to be filled up “only every other week” — the “fun factor” of driving one.

“We’re automobile enthusiasts,” says Larry. “We love driving cars.” In addition to the Smart Car, the family drives two limited edition Audis, one in “imola yellow,” the other “sprint blue.”

Three versions of the Smart Car are now available in the U.S. The cheapest, the Fortwo Pure Coupe, starts at $11,590.

“It’s not the expense of it,” Larry says, but the waste of fuel they would encourage by buying a larger vehicle. “We’re all getting more conscious about how much we consume.”

See last weeks: Getting Around: Stories on the Move Horse-Drawn Carriage

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