Smart ForTwo Model 453 Reliability Inquiry - Smart Car Forums
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post #1 of 56 (permalink) Old 08-22-2016, 07:48 PM Thread Starter
 
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Smart ForTwo Model 453 Reliability Inquiry

Thinking about one for my next car, probably next year but wanted assurance they're fairly reliable. I don't care what Consumer Reports says about the low testing score; I just want to know if the 453 is reasonably dependable. Maybe it's too early to ask; this design hasn't been on the market long enough to truly assess that. Nevertheless, while I'd not have bought a ForTwo in its earlier 451 design, I really like the new, wider 453 on paper. Can any of you tell me if you've any issues with the 453 yet. I'd buy the automatic for better gas mileage. Thank you all so much for any comments.
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post #2 of 56 (permalink) Old 08-22-2016, 08:14 PM Thread Starter
 
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Just adding that I want to know if anyone in here runs their ForTwo on 89 octane midgrade gas? The premium fuel recommendation (or is it a requirement?) is a bugaboo for me; seems a bit odd. Can one get away with using 89 octane, maybe with a slight power and fuel efficiency hit? Thanks again!
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post #3 of 56 (permalink) Old 08-22-2016, 08:54 PM
 
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Smart ForTwo Model 453 Reliability Inquiry

Other than the gas tank nuisance issue which is being worked out, a couple of media quibbles, an occasional alarm switch repair, and a few one-off niggles, the 453 has been amazingly free of serious troubles. Mechanicals all seem to work well, with a high level of fit and finish. My smart service manager reported that the 453 has been extremely reliable and generally trouble-free during its first year in the US.

It's an important car that's benefited from a long and well-funded developmental process.
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post #4 of 56 (permalink) Old 08-23-2016, 03:31 AM Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for that update. I'll keep checking for more; not doing anything until at least spring of next year. Hope these few issues get worked out by then. The media will always pan this car in some way so my decision will be based on reliability but I'd like to know if the car can run on 89 octane fuel instead of 91. I know it would likely take a small power and MPG hit; maybe I'd alternate between 89 and 91 octane fuel between tankfuls. Unlike many of you, I'd just get a basic Pure coupe with the automatic; not looking at the upscale designer versions. That the car now has a 4 year, 50,000 mile warranty also increases the likelihood of my buying one; the earlier 451's 2 year, 24,000 mile warranty was less than other car makers' warranties. The closest Smart Center to me is 19 miles away but I'd likely rate it and the other regional dealers not too far away. Though this is much smaller car than any others I've owned, I think I could make it work for me even though I'd be driving mostly on the highway and not in city traffic. It appeals to me largely on low price but also because in some ways, it comes across like a fun little sports coupe. Though fairly slow, I imagine it's pretty fun to drive based on YouTube video reports I've seen.
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post #5 of 56 (permalink) Old 08-23-2016, 07:18 AM
 
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The car is designed to run on Premium fuel. The difference in price is really negligible over the long haul. It is not a recommendation but a requirement. The 453 engine is a small, high performance turbocharged engine and requires the characteristics of Premium fuel.

The 453 has been out in other parts of the world for about 2 years and, other than those minor things mentioned in a previous post, doesn't seem to have any serious issues so far.
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post #6 of 56 (permalink) Old 08-23-2016, 09:15 AM Thread Starter
 
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Thanks OliverB for clarifying that. In the past, some small Chrysler Turbos have had an 89 octane rating but you're right about the small difference in price. Where I usually gas up, on Wed. & Sat, they knock 5 cents off of 91 octane, bring the per gallon price difference down to only 5 cents for every gallon bought; on other days it's 10 cents, still very small, especially when you're only buying about 7 to 8 gallons each time. With some cars, premium is recommended but not required. I certainly wouldn't have tried 87 octane; I just thought maybe I could occasionally get away with mixing 89 with 91. If Smart specifically states 91 is required, I wouldn't use anything else; was just thinking I could save a few more pennies.
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post #7 of 56 (permalink) Old 08-23-2016, 09:43 AM
 
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When you have a Smartie you want to get the most fun out of it. Premium fuel maximizes engine power helping you get those wicked smiles on your face while driving. Of course, seeing as this is a new year event, the new 453 ED will be out and then you won't have to worry about gas prices at all!
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post #8 of 56 (permalink) Old 08-23-2016, 11:42 AM Thread Starter
 
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I likely wouldn't go for the ED; my car must be outside, not in the garage so recharging would require running a cord under the garage door. Not practical for me. And with an ED, I'd have some range anxiety since it's not possible to recharge at work. Most days I could get by with it but I'd rather not have that to worry about. But I get it that most turbo motors require at least 91 octane gas. Premium was recommended for the old 451 but, from what I heard, not required since it didn't have a turbo. It just had better performance and fuel economy with 91 octane than with lower grades. Heck, the Mazda MX-5 Miata doesn't even have a turbo engine but is tuned for 91 octane although with that car you might be able to get away with 89 octane, albeit with a small hit on performance. The ForTwo is really more about compactness and low cost than it is about MPGs and you could also think of it as a baby sports coupe or cabriolet. If the specs say 91 octane is REQUIRED, that's what must go in. Thank you!
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post #9 of 56 (permalink) Old 08-23-2016, 11:48 AM
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The "91 octane" issue has been discussed to death. Just put it in; if you can't handle around 2 bucks extra per tankful maybe buying a Sonic will be a better choice.
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post #10 of 56 (permalink) Old 08-23-2016, 12:06 PM
 
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i put 87 octane in my 09 that "requires" premium. it has 97,000 miles now. i would prolly use premium in the new smarts because of turbo....
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