i suppose i should be writing this car test in lower-case letters. that's because the smart crossblade inhabits a capitals- free world in which its name, as portrayed in the modified-courier- font brochure and publicity material, exists as a kind of anti- logo. but to do that would render the entire piece of prose unreadable, so i won't. beginning with the next paragraph, the crossblade will gain an expedient capital c.
Never mind decapitalisation, the Crossblade's occupants may even fear decapitation. That said, it doesn't happen much to motorcyclists, and in a Crossblade it's easier to duck. The common principle is clear, though: maximum exposure to the elements, maximum bonding with the surroundings instead of merely viewing them from within a metal box.
Now, motoring writers of a certain sort have long been murdering the four-wheeled motorcycle metaphor. Usually they do this when writing of a Caterham Seven, but I'm going to join them now and redirect the idea to the Crossblade. Because here in the Crossblade we not only have no roof to go with our motorcycle-like compactness and agility, we also have no windscreen to speak of and, indeed, no sides.
So mightn't we fall out? Probably not; seatbelts (absent from motorbikes apart from the strange BMW C1) will clamp you to your sporty, high-bolstered, hose-down seats if directional progress is suddenly compromised, and stout bars pivot rearwards from the base of the "windscreen" and clamp into place just behind your outer shoulder, calling to mind the bar that locks you into a fairground ferris wheel. It's better than no doors at all, even though you do retain the ability to file your nails on the passing road. "Use the underseat storage to hold loose items," advised the information pack, "otherwise they will exit the car quite quickly when you start to drive."
The Smart people clearly expect you to leave your Crossblade out in the rain occasionally, because the dashboard and even the cupholders have drain holes and there are drain channels in both seats and floor. You are however expected to clip the waterproof covers provided over the steering wheel (to protect the airbag) and the centre console (to protect the stereo). Alternatively, if a wet seat doesn't appeal, you can unfurl a complete car cover from the boot, to whose upper edge the tonneau's rear seam remains Velcro- wedded, and drape it over the entire Crossblade. It even has sewn- in ears for the outside mirrors. …