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Little runabout finally ditches that awful transmission.

Daimler’s smart car is a tiny runabout that was designed to offer generous fuel efficiency, youthful quirk and easier maneuverability than a shopping cart.

In theory, it should have been a great success with motorists residing in big cities around the globe, places where tailpipe emissions and limited parking are major issues. Unfortunately, it never really seemed to catch on.

At least in America, the car was largely panned by critics, and for good reason. Driving it the length of a parking space was all it took to realize the smart was a special kind of repugnant. Its half-baked automated manual transmission was rougher than using 60-grit sandpaper in lieu of Charmin. This blunder ruined the vehicle, transforming a potentially useful car into something to be avoided.

But for 2016, Daimler has totally redesigned this vehicle. Company representatives say it offers more space, refinement and standard equipment, all in a package that’s even more maneuverable than it was before. That all sounds promising, but did they actually get the execution right this time?
Same Length, Broader Shoulders

In spite of its brand new styling inside and out, the 2016 fortwo is exactly the same length as its predecessor, a truncated 8.8 feet. But to increase space for occupants and cargo, the car has been widened by nearly four inches.
Read the complete 2016 Smart fortwo first drive at AutoGuide.com
 

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After reading a number of different reviews on the 2016 smart fortwo, I think that when my current '08 model finally dies, it will probably be replaced with a fully-loaded Chevy Sonic, in the same price range as the smart. I still LOVE my smart, even with all it's quirks, except for the noise & bumpy ride, especially over rough roads & freeway expansion joints, or lanes that the trucks have turned into washboards. Even my wife's Chevy Aveo rides smoother than my smart. As I get older, I need a smoother ride and a little more luxury. As an avid RVer, I also need my next ride to be towable 4-down, 'cause I'll never go back to using a tow dolly.
 

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Hmm...engine compartment cooling fan. Most interesting. Will that keep the head from overheating when it gets a bubble in it or did they fix the design flaw to keep the engine full of coolant so far from the recovery tank? I have some 12V muffin fans but wouldn't this fan fill the engine compartment with dirt from the road under it?
 

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To me, an engine compartment cooling fan is just a patch for poor design or engineering. Obviously the engine compartment was getting too hot, so they added a fan, which is okay, but a better solution would have been to design it properly in the first place. That fan is just one more thing to eventually need repair. Just my two cents.

As for the "awful transmission" my 2015 451 shifts fine. Once in a great while it'll seem to get a bit confused, because it seems to want to keep the RPMs too low (probably for fuel economy). I've found if you shift it manually the car is more fun to drive anyway. My 2008 transmission did seem more quirky than the 2015 transmission. I think every review of the car and every transmission complaint from journalists stem from the 2008 models. Yeah, lets jump on the smart car transmission issues, that's an easy criticism. It's not a perfect transmission, but I don't have any complaints about it and it does seem durable from what I've read about it on the net.
 

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"Driving it the length of a parking space was all it took to realize the smart was a special kind of repugnant." I stopped reading after that. :)
 

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"Like its predecessor, the 2016 smart fortwo is powered by a rear-mounted three-cylinder gasoline engine that sends torque to the rear wheels, just like a Porsche 911." Thats where i stopped reading......
 

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Technically, it's a mid engine, as there is more of it in front of the rear axle than behind it. Also, i disagree with criticism of the 451 transmission. The car shifts it's manual gearbox at the same speed I would shift a manual gearbox. Try this when driving a 451: When the car is about to shift gears, pantomime clutching with your left foot and moving an imaginary shift lever with your right hand. You may then agree that the shifting speed is appropriate. People who compare this setup to an old-school automatic miss the point.
 

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Hmm...engine compartment cooling fan. Most interesting. Will that keep the head from overheating when it gets a bubble in it or did they fix the design flaw to keep the engine full of coolant so far from the recovery tank? I have some 12V muffin fans but wouldn't this fan fill the engine compartment with dirt from the road under it?
An air bubble can cause overheating in any engine. This is an unnecessary and irrelevant point because it is as likely to occur in a smart car engine as it is to occur in any other engine on the road.
 

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Technically, it's a mid engine, as there is more of it in front of the rear axle than behind it. Also, i disagree with criticism of the 451 transmission. The car shifts it's manual gearbox at the same speed I would shift a manual gearbox. Try this when driving a 451: When the car is about to shift gears, pantomime clutching with your left foot and moving an imaginary shift lever with your right hand. You may then agree that the shifting speed is appropriate. People who compare this setup to an old-school automatic miss the point.
Agreed. It is not an "awful" transmission by any stretch of the imagination. It might be "awful" for sales figures, but not for performance by a driver who knows how to properly use it.
 

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Seems like they're making it more like a Scion IQ, right as the Scion IQ leaves the market. (Disclaimer: we own an IQ as well as a ForTwo.)
 

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"Little runabout finally ditches that awful transmission."

in other news, auto journalists who never could figure out how to tie their own shoes, with those "awful strings" can now buy shoes with velcro fasteners. or maybe that's why they invented driving moccasins.
 

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The new Smart is more like an IQ than the older models. It's wider, had more space inside, and the styling is similar. New transmission, more horsepower... sure seems more IQ-like to me. They're still different cars, of course. And the IQ was less expensive.
 

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You need some help with your maths. IQ was almost $16k and the new smart is under $15k. The iQ was a bad copy of the smart, the smart is an improved version of the previous car, as the 451 is from the 450. There is good reason the IQ failed so quickly.
 

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Pricing is bit a different in the US:

Model: 2016 smart fortwo
MSRP: $15,640

Model: 2015 Scion iQ
MSRP: $15,665

And the new Smart goes all the way up to near $20K which the iQ couldn't.

I own both cars. I can't agree that the iQ was a bad copy of the Smart. They're different in many ways - 3.5 passengers and front engine/front wheel drive being the two biggest departures.

My only point is that the new Smart is much more like the iQ than the old one. I'm not sure why that's controversial.
 

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I've driven a 2016 453 smart. It's still a smart. The engine is in the same place and driving the same set of wheels, which is an enormous difference from the iQ. It is more refined and more comfortable than the 451 and offers modern amenities that the 451 never did. The seats are height-adjustable. You can change the interval of the intermittent wipers (!). Cruise control is built in rather than having to be added on. The ride is much more refined and it has more grip. It's quieter. The transmission changes gears without a delay between gears, although I found that it still benefitted from shifting manually to keep the engine spinning in its power-band ... flooring it in "D" at speed causes a second or so of delay before anything happens - first for the transmission controls to realize that maybe they ought to downshift and there is probably some turbo lag in there as well. If the engine is already on the boil then this is not a problem.

For the most part, the Scion iQ will be forgotten about. I have no interest in a front-drive CVT-equipped box with overassisted power steering. (and yes, the 453's steering is lighter than I'd like it to be, but it still seems pretty good)
 

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Pricing is bit a different in the US:

Model: 2016 smart fortwo
MSRP: $15,640

Model: 2015 Scion iQ
MSRP: $15,665

And the new Smart goes all the way up to near $20K which the iQ couldn't.

I own both cars. I can't agree that the iQ was a bad copy of the Smart. They're different in many ways - 3.5 passengers and front engine/front wheel drive being the two biggest departures.

My only point is that the new Smart is much more like the iQ than the old one. I'm not sure why that's controversial.
Not sure where you got your pricing. The 453 starts at $14,650.... a bit higher than the 451 started at for a Pure... but still less than the iQ. And yes, it goes up to nearly $19k (probably $20-$21k whenever the cabrio comes out)... but i'm sure it offers far more than the iQ did in terms of options and quality.

Your only point being that the new Smart is much more like the iQ than the old one is basically just because its looks vaguely look more like the iQ since they gave it more of a "hood" than the 451. Other than that, NOTHING like the iQ.

And i wouldn't even say that the idea of the iQ being a 3.5 passenger car is a good thing... or even a notable thing. that half-person space is practically unusable in just about every situation except storage space. And even the third passenger would be rather cramped. Not to mention i'd be TERRIFIED if i could even fit in the back seat of an iQ, since the rear seats are practically ON the rear bumper.

Either way, i'd still take a car with a Manual or any form of automatic transmission that's NOT a CVT any day.
 
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