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Review: 3177 Small Car

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Poll: How do you rate this set? (60 member(s) have cast votes)

3177 Small Car

  1. Poor (0 votes [0.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.00%

  2. Below Average (2 votes [3.33%])

    Percentage of vote: 3.33%

  3. Average (15 votes [25.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 25.00%

  4. Above Average (21 votes [35.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 35.00%

  5. Outstanding (22 votes [36.67%])

    Percentage of vote: 36.67%

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#1 Rufus


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Posted 07 February 2010 - 03:52 PM


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Beautiful though they may be, the plethora of 6-wide vehicles that have arrived in Studsville are starting to crowd the streets.  What the go-getting City entrepreneur needs is a means to nip around town and dodge the traffic.  Since many real people have chosen the Smart car to achieve the same end, it seems only natural for Lego people to follow suit.  Enter the 3177 Small Car; let’s see if Lego have done a good job of it…

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The Stats

Name: Small Car
Number: 3177
Theme: City *
Year of Release: 2010
Pieces: 43
Figures: 1
Price: £3.49 | US$ 4.99 | DKK 39.95 | EUR 4.95 | AU$ 7.99 | CAN$ 6.95

* Interestingly, Shop @ Home lists this set under ‘Transportation’ but the Lego Cache describes it as ‘Airport’.

Shop @ Home said:

For the driver who’s always on the go!
It’s time for a fun day of driving around LEGO CITY! Thanks to this compact car’s modern size and styling, you’ll be able to avoid traffic jams and squeeze into tiny parking spaces wherever you go. Includes driver minifigure.
• Includes car and driver minifigure!
• Zip around Lego City in this little compact car!
• Ages 5+.

Links:  Bricklink  Brickset   Peeron  Instructions

Priced as an impulse set, this little number has caused ripples of excitement around Eurobricks, mainly because it contains a new unique figure; but also because of the return to a 4-wide vehicle base without the usual monster wheels. The tiny car has resulted in a few compromises, as we shall find out.

The Box

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The box measures H 90 x W 120 x D 56  mm.  It’s a reasonable size for a low-priced set, and is mostly filled by the contents.  Using Rufus’ patented Billund Air Ratio, that’s a score of 16 (compare to the Republic Swamp Speeder which has a score of 39).  There’s a nice representation of the figure on the side of the box, but TLC has not gone to town on the rear:

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‘Choking Hazrd.  Contains small parts.’  No alternative models, as is usual these days.  The bottom of the box (when standing) tells us that components are made in DENMARK, HUNGARY and the CZECH REPUBLIC.

The Contents

Inside the box are the instruction booklet, a single polybag, and the base piece loose in the box:

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The Instructions

I was pleasantly surprised to find a booklet for a set this size, rather than a folded sheet.

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The steps are clear; no piece callouts, and none necessary with only 2 to 3 pieces per step and only 43 pieces to choose from.

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The are two scene pictures, one of the town and another of the new airport sets, and the now ubiquitous parts list:

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The Pieces

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The only real pieces of interest are the minifigure torso and head, which we’ll look at later, and the base piece, which I was surprised to find has been used many times before: see Peeron.  There are two leftover pieces: knowing which parts typically come as extras, can you guess which they are?  

The Figure

This little dude – I’ve called him Alec – looks like he’s enjoying life with his little car.  He has a new torso – a hoodie! – with a printed rear, too:

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Alec’s face has a slightly lopsided smile, making him look happy but not vacuously beaming like some of the latest figs.  The torso and head are unique to this set, at least according to Peeron and my quick search of Brickset.  I suspect many will buy multiple copies of this set just for the figure.  Alec has a briefcase, which we’ll see later.

The Car

The build process is simple:  the following pictures are a sample of the building steps, with numbers to give you an idea of how little is done in each step.  Note the 2x1 green plates which are used as fillers; I don’t know why they are green, but it beats the usual red/yellow/blue mix we get,

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I had a bit of trouble getting Alec into the car, solved by moving his hands upwards and leaning him as far forward as possible:

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The Complete Set

Alec leaves work, looking forward to the quick hop home in his minicar.  I’m not sure what he does; a man with a hoodie carrying a briefcase is either a web designer or he’s stolen it.

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Some more shots of the vehicle.  You can see the little storage space for Alec’s briefcase, and note the only rear light is the brake-light strip under the roof.

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It would be quite easy to modify the set to include rear lights, using one of these in black.

The vehicle is clearly intended to be a Smart car:

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I think Lego have done a good job of rendering the Smart car in such a small scale.  If I were to MOC one, I’d make a more detailed one in 6 wide, but that would defeat the object of having a small car.  The model looks a lot better, when built, than I can demonstrate in pictures; better even than Lego have done on the box art.

The advantages of a Smart Car…

Aside from the easy parking, the little car can nip through traffic to avoid the jams, and even hitch a lift:

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A full tank is a lot cheaper: (excuse the dig at UK fuel prices)

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The little car has drawn an appreciative crowd:

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…And the disadvantage

Little cars are harder for other drivers to see:

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This is a superb impulse set.  For the price, you get a well-designed little car that won’t swamp your Town layout, and will fit in most garages, and comes with a unique figure.  The use of commonly-found parts means that you could build several in different colours.

Design: 9/10 A great rendering of the Smart car for such a small scale.  The only thing I would have added is rear low-level lights.
Build: 7/10 A simple, unexciting build, but what did you expect?  As I have said, the use of common parts makes it easy to build in alternative colours without a big Bricklink order.
Playability: 8/10 There’s not much you can do with the set on its own, but cars are always fun to push around, it fits in nicely alongside the rest of the City range.
Figure: 10/10 A lovely unique figure, with a useful accessory; I suspect many will buy the set just for the little guy.
Price: 10/10 No complaints here; it’s not the best price to parts ratio in the world, but it’s a good set for a good price.

Overall, 88%  It doesn’t look that much on the box, but I’d recommend it to any Town fan – you’ll be pleasantly surprised!

I hope you enjoyed the review.  C & C, as ever, welcomed.


Finally, for the fans of the standard bigger wheels, there’s always Pimp My Smart!

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[Edit - musn't leave Canada out - Thanks Dr Spock!]

Edited by Rufus, 08 February 2010 - 07:52 PM.

#2 WhiteFang


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Posted 07 February 2010 - 03:54 PM

Love this review of yours, especially having to see the "real" reference photo at the end of your review, make this design looks just like the real car. Very interactive review, with lots of quality input, and certainly convinced me to get a couple of these cars.  :wub:

Thanks for sharing, and congratulations!

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#3 posades


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Posted 07 February 2010 - 04:47 PM

Haha great review, I found myself chuckling at some of the pictures. :laugh:

I'll definitely get this set for the figure (as you said), though I may have to end up waiting until I see it at actual MSRP *coughToysRUscough* :hmpf_bad:

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#4 TheBrickster


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Posted 07 February 2010 - 05:08 PM

This is a very nice review with excellent pictures. :thumbup:

#5 Zorbas


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Posted 07 February 2010 - 05:09 PM

Great and very enjoyable review!

Stating the obvious here, this is a must buy. :thumbup: I'm planning of getting it in the upcoming week and I really look forward to! The new torso looks great and the car itself is excellent. Small and  simply designed but that's the spirit here. No more busy streets! :wink:

Btw, the traffic jam and the smash photos are brilliant! :thumbup:

Thanks for the review Rufus!
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#6 Fugazi


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Posted 07 February 2010 - 05:41 PM

Awesome review for a great little set! Too bad it can't be built-in-a-bag!  :classic:

But I must say this minifig wins the contest for 2010's most unfashionable outfit. A businessman with white/blue hoodie and green trousers?  :tongue:
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#7 lightningtiger


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Posted 07 February 2010 - 09:29 PM

Thanks 'Rufus' for another funny review. :grin:
Cute car, but you are right - they don't resist downward forces especially when it comes from a walker ! :laugh:
Although if it's mean't to look a like the Smart car - then why round headlights when it has sloped ones ? Copyrights ?
Keep on bricking ! :grin:

#8 AllanSmith


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Posted 07 February 2010 - 09:40 PM

Love the big wheels version. You could try bigger wheels as below  :tongue:

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#9 henryhotspurs


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Posted 07 February 2010 - 10:45 PM

Great review!  I Bought four!  :blush:

#10 zyrex


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Posted 07 February 2010 - 10:54 PM

Really nice review, I might impulse buy a set or two ^^
Relocating... All Lego in boxes .. :/

#11 dr_spock


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Posted 08 February 2010 - 03:58 AM

Excellent review.   Canadian price is $6.95.

#12 Piranha


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Posted 08 February 2010 - 06:43 AM

Excellent Reviewing job you have done here Rufus  :sweet:
Like WhiteFang pointed out I also like the real life reference picture, the similarity is striking.
I also enjoyed the advantages of having a small/smart car  :grin:

The fig is brilliant and the main reason I would buy this set, but the car is fairly nice as well.


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#13 Rufus


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Posted 08 February 2010 - 07:54 PM

Thanks for the feedback everyone!  Glad you enjoyed it.

View Postspace6901, on Feb 7 2010, 05:41 PM, said:

A businessman with white/blue hoodie and green trousers?  :tongue:
I think 'businessman' is a euphemism...

View PostAllanSmith, on Feb 7 2010, 09:40 PM, said:

Love the big wheels version. You could try bigger wheels as below  :tongue:

View Postdr_spock, on Feb 8 2010, 03:58 AM, said:

Excellent review.   Canadian price is $6.95.
Thanks, added!  :classic:

#14 Ratshot


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Posted 09 February 2010 - 01:32 AM

Your reviews are awesome Rufus, don't change a thing :thumbup:
I might buy 2 of this set if my wallet feels up to it :grin:

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#15 Strand


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Posted 17 April 2010 - 05:48 PM

Nice review

I also agree with everything. It's such a cute itty bitty set! I bought a couple and have them sitting on my work desk and people have noticed how cute and their resemblance to Smart cars are.

#16 Asterios


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Posted 17 April 2010 - 05:55 PM

I bought a couple since its about the only car that will fit in the LEGO modular houses garage.

#17 Darth Legolas

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Posted 17 April 2010 - 07:14 PM

Great review! AT-AT jokes are always the best. :laugh:


Alec’s face has a slightly lopsided smile, making him look happy but not vacuously beaming like some of the latest figs. The torso and head are unique to this set, at least according to Peeron and my quick search of Brickset. I suspect many will buy multiple copies of this set just for the figure. Alec has a briefcase, which we’ll see later.

I have to disagree with you there. The car is a little square, but compared to the photo of a smart car you gave us, it's almost a perfect match.

The figure on the other hand, is absolutely atrocious. If you're going to buy a hoodie, you're not going to buy a white and baby blue hoodie! I would die before wearing that! It's not even fit for a 6-year-old girl! It's just horrific! I say, lose the white and blue, and make it all white or all gray.

Edited by Darth Legolas, 17 April 2010 - 07:15 PM.

...I have a Death Star...

#18 escortmad79


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Posted 18 April 2010 - 01:34 PM

I've got 8 of them after seeing THIS thread ! The 7 in the picture & I've also got a W.I.P convertible

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The black one is all black with black wheels which I have dubbed the "Noir edition" & the white one has racers wheels (which makes it travel further)

Edited by escortmad79, 18 April 2010 - 01:41 PM.

A Lego dog ate my sig!

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#19 simpson228


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Posted 28 June 2010 - 08:06 AM

like this part of your review -  "carrying a briefcase is either a web designer or he’s stolen it" XD
and the reference to a real smart car

#20 Evo Brick

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Posted 01 July 2010 - 09:44 AM

Wow! I love the minifigs torso,it looks so cool!

#21 Duck


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Posted 15 January 2012 - 02:30 AM

Nice review and guide to the advantages of having such a small car!

Picked this little one up today to boost the amount of cars in my city, and its a simple yet effective design! No complaints except that a numberplate sticker would have been nice!

#22 Brickmamba


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Posted 15 January 2012 - 06:55 AM

Nice rendition of the smart car, the fig is impressive prints look good and the briefcase is a nice accessory, thanks for the review  :thumbup:
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#23 Flobnomdob


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Posted 06 April 2012 - 02:38 PM

Great review Rufus, once again.
I bought this one overpriced at WHSmith, but I still love it. I didn't know the face and torso where rare, and was bored by them. I instantly Brasso'd the torso and scratched off half the face, and now I wish I hadn't have done that.:hmpf_bad:

Right now I'm working on mod'ing this set into a super high-tech flying Smart car of the future...
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#24 WideWiiLover


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Posted 28 April 2012 - 12:20 PM

I have meaning to post on this thread for a while....just now getting to it....<stupid school work and exams>  :hmpf_bad:

Anywho...Great review Rufus! I really like your pictorial reviews.  and the jokes make it a worthwhile read.

This car just fits in perfect. I'm thinking of making a 2 seater version, hence why i bought one on S@H a couple of days ago.

It would also really fit well into my upcoming MOC Car Rental location. That could explain why it's shown in the airport sets.

.....I now wish TLG had a car rental company, i.e. Octan Vehicles? :laugh:

Great review as always!
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#25 LOTRfan


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Posted 25 April 2014 - 08:37 PM

I absolutely love this car, I might have to BL a few for my developing city. :wub:
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