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For those of us who have to wait quite a long time for the tour to arrive anywhere close, please let us know how your "test drive" went. We've all heard lots of the marketing now (which is quite exciting), but I want to hear from folks who have actually given them a drive.

I'm especially interested to hear comments from someone who was already very familiar with the driving experience with the existing smart models. I.e., how do the old and new compare? What is different with the car itself? Interior, exterior?

And did the drive feel any different? What about the not-so-smooth shifting in the old models? Did they remedy that in the new ones?
 

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Test drive today in Arizona

I took the day off today to head for the Chandler, AZ Mercedes dealer. It was 111 degrees here and I dreaded waiting in line in a parking lot and thought maybe I wouldn't stay. Luckily, they had considered the heat and planned the first indoor event. I had RSVP'd that I would be there at noon and it wasn't bad. They were making room for more parking and I walked right in the dealership and took pictures of the safety cell and the Smart that was on the showroom floor then stood in line behind about twenty people. There were four demo cars, I'd say it was less than a five minute route each person got to drive.

I really like the car! I'm used to a 5-speed, so right off the bat I told the Smart Guy with me that I thought the automatic shifting was rough. He showed me how to let off the accelerator when I felt like shifting and that made it so much smoother. He did not offer to let me use the paddle shifters right behind the steering wheel. The car did not feel tiny and it was spunky! I opened it up on a six lane street and I was flying at what I thought was 60mph. I was told later that was metric and I was really going about 35. Oh. The seats are comfy, the doors are big and close soundly. And the air conditioning was more than sufficient with the outdoor temp blazing hot. I even liked the sound of the engine/exhaust behind me. The package shelf is big enough for my groceries. Under that you lift up carpet and a panel to the engine.

I drove the convertible with the top up because of the heat. The man who drove the same car before me insisted on putting the top down and I saw him push the button and watched the top fold back smoothly. The Smart Guy complained to me about having to ride with the top down in the heat!

It was a little rough riding over slow down bumps at the dealership but I wasn't just idling along, either. The only thing I had any complaint about was the steering, which felt a little hard during a tight turn. That could probably improved with different tires and it's nothing I couldn't get used to. I still want one, darn it!! Glenda
 

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Hi Glenda

I am taking off work tomorrow for my Chandler tour. I can't wait. I saw someone driving a Fortwo several months ago in Tucson and it seems like a great car to get around in. Thanks for the info and I will check out the steering.

Teapots
 

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After seeing a couple of Smarts parked out side a building north of Ft. Worth I decided to stop and investigate, turns out the owner was in the process of becoming a dealer for the americanized version. The dealer and I hit it off quite well and he allowed me take the demo for the long Thanksgiving weekend, (died & gone to heaven).


PROS
Styling (I smiled everytime I looked at it)
Very Comfortable
Engine/Exhaust noise (Crotch rocket like sound)
Effortless freeway speeds 75+ MPH
Thumbs up from a guy driving a new Corvette
Attention getter (You cant stop without answering several questions)

NEUTRAL
Ride and handling (choppy and a little twitchy, again not bad but 1000% better than my Samurai!!!)
Shifting (Strange, but great when you get used to it)
Key placement (between the seats)

CONS
Fuel economy (My 300+ mile weekend avg 37 MPG. more than likely due to items 3 & 4 of PROS)
Cant be flat towed by a motorhome, must be trailered
Attention getter (You cant stop without answering several questions)


I will buy one if they sell reasonably close the $12000 estimates

Chuck
 

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Chandler test drive

Took the test drive in Chandler, I was very impressed. It was everything that I had heard it was and more. I think it's a lilttle better quality than I was expecting. Just like everyone else that has drove it has said, it is a little slow to shift but I think that is just the character of the beast. I think for what it is it's great, a comuter just to run around town. I thought the sterring was fine, no problems with it at all, pretty tight little car. If they were taking the money today I wouldn't hesitate.
 

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Experience In Driving and Other Tidbits

Hi Everyone

I received my invitation and went for my test drive in Chandler, Arizona on Friday. Check out my post under News & Rumors - Making Reservations...to or not too - Hopefully some good information for all that has reserved so far.

This was my first time at driving a Fortwo. Not bad. Steering was OK. I found that it shifted a little hard. I am an automatic person and when it was in automatic I was OK. Rep & I decided to also switch it to standard and I used the little paddles. That was when I could really feel the shifting, but it could have just been me I was told later by someone that was experience at driving the Fortwo that if I would drive it for about 20 minutes, I would get the hang of it.

I was in the convertable and the Rep put down the top with ease and I had her put the top back up since it was already about 110 degrees. Air was excellent and we tested out the radio...no problems in hearing it.

Cupholders...how many times have you bought a car and took your first drink Iinto your car and found out that the cup was too large for the cupholder? No problem there. One cup holder could handle one of those very,very, large drinks and the other looked like a regular or large drink.

Other things that I found out:

1. There is no spare tire. The car comes with a tire repair kit and a compressor. (Does anyone know if Auto Club would come out to fix a tire like this????)

2. After receiving your car and you want to change the color, you can buy different color panels. It is part of the accessories that the dealer will carry. It takes about 1 1/2 hours to change the panels. No cost was available.

3. The dealership that I went to has not been named yet as a Smart Car Dealership. They are awaiting word. But I did ask about "trade-ins". The Smart Car Rep had me talk to the Dealer Rep and I was told that "trade-ins" would be welcomed.

4. Speaking of dealerships, I was told that the Fortwo is very low maintenance but I would have to take the Fortwo to an "authorized" dealer for service. That means, right now for me, I may have to go 100 miles for my Fortwo to be servced.

It will be my first car without a spare and the servicing issue could b a problem (but I could see my granddaugher that lives in the same area)...
YES I STILL WANT ONE !!!

Teapots
 

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My wife and I took the test drive last Friday in Indianapolis. She got to drive the cabrio and I had the hardtop. I'd have to agree with most of what has been said so far. The seats feel comfy (and looking at the trident safety cell model we know they are supportive!) and the interior was as roomy, if not more, then my MINI Cooper. Again, A/C felt ample for the hot 90 midday sun (although I had no idea what it was set on - full blast?) I did not like the shifting, but as mentioned above and as the other rep told my wife - if you let up on the gas as you approach the shift, it will be a lot smoother. Didn't get to try the manual mode however. Except when shifting, the car's ride was smooth, and everything did feel pretty solid.

All and all, I was impressed! :)
 

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No Spare

I've had three cars in a row without a spare tire and none had run flats. You get a compressor and a can of goo. So far three flats, two on the first car, none on the second and one on the third (yesterday). All were caught before totally flat and managed to get repaired after filling at a local convenience store in order to make it to the tire place. Never used the goo. I carry an old fashion plug kit too. All had road-side assistance, but I've never called them. But, it stills bothers me that there isn't a spare. A paradigm shift is slow in arriving in my mind.
 

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Test drive in Columbus Ohio

Went to the test drive at local MB deal in Columbus Ohio. Got it up to 45mph on main road, not fast to rev up, but not slow either. Trans shift lag was noticeable, but towards the end I started to get the feel for the "let up before shift" resulting in a smoother shift. AC blows cold. 6' 190lbs, room enough, feels spacious from drivers view. Passenger seat is offset a little to the rear compare to drivers position. Greta visibility. Lots of break pedal movement before engaging / gripping. Seemed to have some drag / roll resistance from a standing still to movement. Engaging parking brake like manual trans seems to be the proper method to park, unlike true auto trans
 

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I drove a cabriole ...

...with the top up, and the ride was pretty quiet! There was very little road noise and I heard no wind noise.

...I briefly got up to about 75 miles per hour (and got a dirty look from the Smart Car "chaperone"), and the ride was surprisingly smooth at any speed.

...I made an extremely tight and fast U-turn (and got another dirty look), and I was really impressed with the turning radius and maneuverability. I wasn't expecting that from such a relatively "tall" car.

...it didn't take long to get the hang of how to perform smooth gear changes. I drove the car in both the manual and automatic modes, but the ride was too short to really compare the two modes...I'll just say, that for the very short time I drove the car, I couldn't really see any difference between the modes.

...overall, the Smart Car was more peppy that I thought it would be.

...I liked the exterior and interior...good attention to detail, and pretty good use of space.

...while lining up to drive the Smart Car, I noticed that most of the cars had a pleasant exhaust note, and that the engines didn't make the whiney sound that I was expecting from a 3 cylinder car.

...once you're sitting inside of the Smart Car, you really forget that you are driving such a small car. And you really wonder what everybody is staring at. :p
 

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...I briefly got up to about 75 miles per hour (and got a dirty look from the Smart Car "chaperone"), and the ride was surprisingly smooth at any speed.

...I made an extremely tight and fast U-turn (and got another dirty look), and I was really impressed with the turning radius and maneuverability. I wasn't expecting that from such a relatively "tall" car.
That explains it!

I thought your "chaperone" was more of a regular blond when she got in the car with you, but left as a ghostly platinum blond! :D
 

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.

...I made an extremely tight and fast U-turn (and got another dirty look), and I was really impressed with the turning radius and maneuverability. I wasn't expecting that from such a relatively "tall" car. :p
You must have had "Lisa". She was, how shall I put it, less than exuberant. :D
 

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Test Drive in CT

My husband and I both test drove the Passion and Passion Cabriole (European versions) during the road show in Hartford, CT on July 12th. I had the luxury of driving the SMART using both manual and automatic modes, backing up and doing some quick stops (to test the brakes). The auto shifting will take getting used to, but the manual shifting was fun and didn't have the "lag" that the automatic seemed to have. Having the reservation and the special invite meant there were no long lines, so we tested 3 of the 4 SMARTS. Great little car! 1st time around I was "timid" to see how it handled. After that, we REALLY tested it... Love it want it now!! We have a Cooper S that we love, so we have a good comparison car for the SMART.
 

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Driving the SMART car

I drove a Gray-Market SMART this past October at Ron Gaus' dealership in St. Louis (ASMARTCAR.com) and the 2008 SMART at the Indianapolis SMART USA "Traveling Road Show" two weeks ago.

In my opinion they both drove pretty much the same, but the 2008 model is alledged to have addressed all the issues found in the earlier models. Due to their small size they will be more than lilkely be a handful on the interstate when dealing with high winds or when being passed by larger vehicles. Anyone who has experienced driving the old VW Beetle on the interstates will know what I mean.

As for the 2008's Mitsubishi engine, I find that having to use premium fuel will be disappointing, and the mpg will be less than the SMART powered by the Mercedes engine, which uses regular fuel.

As for the peculiar shifting of the transmission in the auto mode, I guess this will take some getting used to.

Due to the size of the SMART car, being seen by other drivers will be important - the brighter the exterior color the better off you will be!
 

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How is acceleration from a dead stop?

I have a couple of on ramps on my commute that have full stop signs at the end. My current car (2000 Passat wagon, 1.8T,APR Chip) handles the acceleration into traffic with no problem. I do not want to get "caught" by an SUV in a Smart car!

How noisy is it at speed?

kurier44 says Premium fuel? That's a big minus in my book.
 

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From a dead stop I was pretty impressed with the pickup of this car. I can not give any numbers as to the 0-60 of this car but I can say that it was faster then my first car, a 1989 Toyota Carolla. With that being said, I sure that the performance of this car will likely beat out many of the other same category when compared against the likes of the Nissan Versa, and some of the Hyundai make and models.
 

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How is acceleration from a dead stop?

I have a couple of on ramps on my commute that have full stop signs at the end. My current car (2000 Passat wagon, 1.8T,APR Chip) handles the acceleration into traffic with no problem. I do not want to get "caught" by an SUV in a Smart car!

How noisy is it at speed?

kurier44 says Premium fuel? That's a big minus in my book.
0-60 (actually 62) is advertised currently in the European model as 13.3 s
Hopefully it won't change much with any tweaking for US emission standards.

The "premium" fuel surprised me too. I'm not quite sure how 95 RON recommended corresponds to our grading system at the pump.... 91 maybe??
 
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