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King of Smart Gadgetry
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Isn't it sad how many people write off the Smart for the silliest reasons. Everyone seems to have an opinion about it even though they never had one or have any personal knowledge of the Fortwo. And all the bad reports from reporters that drove it a couple of blocks and hated the transmission had nothing good to say. Any good driver could spend 10 minutes in the Smart and learn how to let it shift without a lurching or lunging. If they were driving a stick they would be changing gears themselves the exact same way. Or it's too small your gonna die in it. I have a son in law who told me he would never ride in my Smart car because if we were in a wreck he was sure he would die. Do you know what he drives? A Mazda Miata convertible. How many air bags are in that car and what is it's crash test rating? DCO
 

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I like Consumer Reports testing.
Consumer Reports actually BUYS from a dealership the cars they test. Not some cherry picked model that the manufacturer lends. CR keeps some of their car for years on long term test.

How Consumer Reports Tests Cars
To really put an automobile through its paces, you have to cover a lot of ground. Good thing the Consumer Reports Auto Test Center sprawls across 327 acres in rural Connecticut, where we push the cars and trucks we test to their limits to get all the information and insights you need to make a smart auto purchase.

The cars team tests about 50 vehicles per year, driving them a total of about 800,000 miles. We also churn through reams of reliability and satisfaction survey data collected from our subscribers to supplement the analysis, evaluations, and ratings from the track. It takes a full-time staff of almost 30, including engineers, editors, statisticians, technicians, photographers, videographers, and support staff, to keep the Auto Test Center running.

Most automotive publications evaluate cars and trucks lent to them by manufacturers. But we purchase every vehicle we test from a dealership, just like you do. (Last year we spent $2.2 million buying cars.) That way, we can maintain our independence and test cars with the trim and options people actually buy rather than the special versions that manufacturers want to showcase.

Here’s something else that sets us apart: We’re thorough. The staff at most publications spends a day to a week getting to know a car. We drive each vehicle we rate for 2,000 break-in miles over several weeks before we even start formal testing. After that, we do more than 50 tests using state-of-the-art measurement tools. Our trained staffers use a test-track facility that includes a 4,400-foot-long main straight, a 3,500-foot handling course, an accident-avoidance course, a 33 percent rock hill, and a brake-test straightaway to gauge stopping distances on dry and wet pavement. To evaluate ride comfort, we use surrounding public roads that are studded with the types of bumps and ruts that drivers encounter every day.


Because your safety is always our first priority, we evaluate headlights on moonless nights and use car
like targets to check automatic braking systems. We also use infotainment systems thoroughly and share our experience.

In addition to testing cars, we operate an extensive child-seat program at our Auto Test Center. For our current ratings, we crash-tested 580 seats. Plus we’re the only organization that provides independent tire ratings for consumers. Each year we test more than 500 tires and have ratings on more than 170 models.

https://www.consumerreports.org/cars-how-consumer-reports-tests-cars/
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I probably watched every review of the ICE 453, on You Tube. It’s gotten excellent feedback. 100% improvement over the 451 model.
Europeans, love the 5 speed manual transmission. The Brabus model, Tailor made, and Exculsive, are extremely nice. Beautiful colors, interior, wheel selections. The NA reviews, have been good too. Only complaints, were small cup holders, rear window out ward view, lack of storage compartments. Lots of Hard plastics, on interior pieces. Some test folks, felt the fuel economy, could be much better, for its size.

It’s really sad, you can’t buy a ICE model here anymore.
 

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We went from owning a Smart to now 3 , the 451’s have a quarky transmission but that being said , very enjoyable to drive once you figure it out .. Road manners are great and it’s a fun vehicle to operate , our 453 manual 5 speed rocks the 451 in many ways , but each has its fun factor going on . Yes , sad the ICE is history here.
 

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Honestly I'm not even surprised. The little fortwo cannot outrun its past. It doesn't matter how good the 453 is because at some point the fortwo was something infamously "worse". These cars aren't the only ones targeted of this. It's not hard to find someone who to this day will say a DC-10 or a de Havilland Comet is a death trap, despite after their early issues were resolved they went on to be remarkably safe airliners.

I'm much less aggressive in my defending of smart nowadays. Now that my 451 has 150k I've even allowed other people to test drive it. Literally all of them hated the transmission. Now if this were me circa 2012, I'd tell them "you're driving it wrong, you have to lift your foot on each shift". I've been called condescending a number of times for it because "a well designed transmission that shifts itself shouldn't need a learning curve". And over the years and experiencing about 50 different cars/trucks with all kinds of transmissions, those people kinda have a point? :shrug: So whatever, I stopped bothering to defend the transmission. But that's where the 453 came in and saved the day. Such a shame it never will get the recognition and love it deserves. ♥
 

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Indeed. When I was a kid, we had a '47 Chrysler Windsor with the optional Fluid Drive. A pretty spiff car, with Mopar being very proud of that transmission


You had to let off the gas to make it shift...


SR
Fluid Drive was a torque converter-like device without torque multiplication) between the engine and clutch. This allowed the driver to let out the clutch without stalling the car. I learned to drive on a Dodge with Fluid Drive. The transmission you described was not the same. My uncle had a dodge with that transmission and Fluid Drive.
 

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Fluid drive

Fluid Drive was a torque converter-like device without torque multiplication) between the engine and clutch. This allowed the driver to let out the clutch without stalling the car. I learned to drive on a Dodge with Fluid Drive. The transmission you described was not the same. My uncle had a dodge with that transmission and Fluid Drive.

Our old coupe had three ranges on the column: Lo, Hi, & Reverse. It also had a nice FD emblem on the dashboard.



You had to use the clutch to get into any of them, but dad usually ran in Hi. If you floored it, Lo would engage automatically, then shift back to Hi when appropriate.



So it was a sorta-automatic, and you had to let off the gas to get it to drop back into hi.


The poor thing was wrecked in the late '50's, rear-ended by a '57 Nomad wagon...



DG
 

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IIRC, for that transmission, up was 1st and 2nd gears. Like said, you lifted foot off gas to shift from 1st to 2nd. Then you clutched and moved shifter down to 3rd and 4th. Yes, because of the fluid drive you could just use 3rd and 4th if you weren’t in a hurry to move out.
 
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