One of the biggest perks of Zipcar was the opportunity to drive a Smart Car. Ever since I went to Germany with my high school band in 2001 and saw these tiny, colorful cubes on wheels, I wanted to drive one. Even though I knew I would probably never own one, the possibility of driving one was really exciting.
Emphasis on was.
The actual driving experience of the Smart Car is akin to driving a golf cart. I was pleasantly surprised that my bass clarinet fit in the back. Actually the cargo space was significantly more than I expected. The main problem with the Smart Car comes in the "car" part. The engine has enough power to get off the line, but the transmission makes shifting between gears feel like riding a bucking bronco. Also, if you put the fan on to cool down (kind of necessary when it's 85 degrees outside) the entire dashboard shakes and I was a little bit scared of breaking the thing. The ultimate kicker was the lack of power steering or anti-lock breaks. With a decent effort, you could probably pick the car up, but it's a lot of work to drive.
Now that I've done it once, I never have to drive a Smart Car again. Fantasy realized, illusion shattered.