PUBLISHED : Saturday, 27 September, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 27 September, 2008, 12:00am

Good things come in Smart packages

A novel Smart promotion swoops on Tuen Mun Town Plaza from Thursday until Saturday. You'll see a Smart ForTwo cabriolet (HK$169,000) in a vending machine (below), a concept from Smart Japan, which is also offering souvenirs. 'You simply twist the button on the vending machine and you'll get a Smart egg with a Smart key chain inside,' the marque says.

Smart has pioneered small cars for city driving since the tiddler's launch in 1998. A spokesman says: 'Also, rising [petrol] prices, increasingly crowded city streets and endless searches for parking have led to an increasing number of people looking for an urban-friendly, economical way to deal with increasing congestion and the high cost of fuel in Hong Kong. The Smart ForTwo is a clever solution and fun to drive.'

Quite so. We have been fans since its launch on account of its manoeuvrability, parking and suitability to Hong Kong. The New York Times in May gave 'this anaemic two-seat tomato can' a kicking however, calling its 70-horsepower engine mediocre and five-speed automated manual transmission 'an engineering embarrassment'.

There is a lag in gearshifts, but it's fine if you wear thin-soled shoes that help you 'dance' with the car by lifting your foot off the accelerator when you sense the box will shift. Get that right and it's fun in Central. But we're still amazed that this one-litre car emitting just 120 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometre is not designated an eco-friendly car by the Hong Kong government, even though the 3.2-litre V6 Volkswagen Phaeton (293gpk) qualifies for its tax incentives scheme.

Porsche rolls in to Kowloon Bay

The Porsche Service Centre Kowloon has moved to 85,000 sq ft premises that boast a training facility and an expanded parts department for local cars (left) at 7 Wang Tai Rd, Kowloon Bay tel: 2926 6261.