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post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-02-2007, 07:42 PM Thread Starter
 
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Manual Transmission

Does anyone know why they dont offer the smart in a true manual transmission?
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post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-02-2007, 10:28 PM
 
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The reason stated is because a true manual is a pain in the butt in a stop-and-go city environment. I couldn't say if it was true or not; I've always had an automatic.
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post #3 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-03-2007, 12:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Walrus View Post
Does anyone know why they dont offer the smart in a true manual transmission?
maybe:

1) too many americans no longer know how to shift a manual, and feared few would buy a car they could not shift.

2) on initial launch, too complicated/costly to offer two of something, if they can get by offering one.

when i first drove it, i thought it drove horrible, cause i thought it was a usa typical automatic trans.

when i found out, it has a clutch plate, and shifts and operates just like a standard manual, only an electric motor does your foot work, while the elcetric motor shifts the gears manually for you (ie, manual automatic),

it made a lot of sense, and i wished i could drive it again, to feel it go thru the gears, like i would if i was pushing the clutch in to shift gears. i wanted the manual, because its more mpg efficient than than a typical usa automatic with the same gear ratios.

when i found out, it is indeed what i wanted, my disappoint turned to joy, and curiosity returned to drive it new all over again.

this a a major consumer information point, that the company must clearly emphasize, and easily explain,

ie, that this is the fuel efficient manual clutch plate transmission, and the only difference from typical manual five speeds, is that they added an electric motor, to do your clutch foot pushing work for you.

that little bit of understanding, totally changed my perception of the whole vehicle. and i am a little familiar with engines, as i have re-built an entire engine (one).

for those less mechanically inclined, its even more important to make this easy point clear for anyone to understand.

its not a difficult marketing task. but it makes a huge difference in the cars perception by a potential buyer. it certain did for me.
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post #4 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-03-2007, 02:00 AM
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Originally Posted by propes View Post
The reason stated is because a true manual is a pain in the butt in a stop-and-go city environment. I couldn't say if it was true or not; I've always had an automatic.
Most likely true.....since the car is being sold as an urban/city car, basically. Shifting gears would suck in the city. If they offered manual, I would buy it because I don't need to shift that much and enjoy more control that way.
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post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-03-2007, 02:10 AM
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I don't think so. I think Americans have forgoten how to drive. I live in the Dallas metromess and drive a stick shift with no problems. Just watch a truck driver next time you are stuck in traffic. Most of the experienced ones know how to keep the truck moving without using the clutch too much.
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post #6 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-03-2007, 05:49 AM
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Close to 40 years and a million miles of driving, I've done most of it with manual transmissions and have hated every autiomatic I've ever driven (including the Smart). Most people I know, drive manual transmissions, but that's probably because most of them enjoy the thrill of driving and don't see it as a chore. I think the issue on the Smart is that Mercedes for decades has assessed the American market as hating the manual. In truth, I think they have lost sales of their sports models as a result of not offering manual transmissions. This philososophy, unfortunately, has carried over to the design of the Smart. Despite the fact that the MINI is targeted at Urban markets, a very small percentage of them are sold with automatics. It just takes the fun out of driving it. Our Smart is primarily intended for my wife's use, but even she is a bit wary of having a small car without a manual transmission. Just because you can't drink your coffee, chomp on your big mac, jaw on the phone and apply your eye liner while shifting, doesn't make a manual transmission the wrong choice for an urban commuter. If and when a full manual is available on the Smart, we will be trading in for one immediately.
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post #7 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-03-2007, 06:17 AM
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My take is a little different, and with a bit less motoring bravado.

First is a marketing decision: there is at least something for everyone in its dual-mode design without complicating the manufacturing and distributing process with multi transmission choices. I recall that in manual-centric Europe the dual-mode transmission was specified from the beginning.

Second is the possibility that the fuel tank, which is right under the shifter and cabin floor, would interfere with mechanical shifting linkages, either manual or automatic. An electric cable bundle is an easy do.

Separately, I think the paddle shifters in the passion and cabirĂ³ are absolutely superfluous, an unnecessary whiz-bang. Maybe OK for the Walter Mittys in pulses and Brabi, but I would do without them.
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post #8 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-03-2007, 07:53 AM
 
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It's not just an American thing, I don't think the Smart has ever had a true manual, even when it was exclusive to Europe. I'm quite concerned about the transmision, last time I had an automatic was a 1973 Vega, and that brings back memories I was hoping would stay suppressed forever. lhoby, I think you were right on.

Last edited by kurt013; 11-03-2007 at 07:55 AM. Reason: addition
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post #9 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-03-2007, 08:22 AM
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I'm quite concerned about the transmision, last time I had an automatic was a 1973 Vega, and that brings back memories I was hoping would stay suppressed forever.
Remember that the smart transmission is NOT a torque converter (an "automatic"). And in concept it not much different than a Formula 1 transmission - gear teeth, electronic clutch, and all. No, you can't throw a heroic-sounding, double-clutch downshift, but neither can Kimi Raikkonen.
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post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-03-2007, 02:34 PM
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Originally Posted by fishrdnc View Post
No, you can't throw a heroic-sounding, double-clutch downshift, but neither can Kimi Raikkonen.

You know, that may be the whole point. With any type of tranny, this thing is never going to have the term "performance" associated with it. At least with a manual and a bunch of over-revving and double-clutching, you might have made it sound impressive. ;)
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