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Discussion Starter #1
Technically about 1 year and 7 months, but 2 years was more suiting for a title. So after having my smart for a little over 1.5 years I figured I would share my thoughts on the car, specifically going over some things about the car that I don't see mentioned at all or that often.

I'm not a car person, I take really good care of my cars and can do all the basic maintenance, but to me they are just transportation and the less money they cost me in the long run the better. I just can't see myself ever buying a $30k+ car even if I was very wealthy. Something I can keep indoors and out of the elements I have no problem spending alot on, but cars just have too many environmental factors trying to tear them down. I want a car thats cheap to buy, good mpg, very easy to maintenence, has good rust protection, isnt larger then I need, and has reasonably good reliability. All the things that most people care about like power, handling, interior space, ride comfort, and just overall looks, I could care less about. Lets be honest, the smart isnt any of the above, looks being very debatable, yet I still decided to buy the smart.

Back when I bought my smart I was looking at a few other cars. The Chevy Spark and Scion iQ where the main ones, but also the Nissan Versa, Toyota Yaris and a few others. My main focuses where on small, simple, inexpensive, and good mpg. I liked the Spark because it was a Chevy (easy to find service and parts), but also because it has a simple and clean engine bay making it easy to service, and the interior has pretty decent gadgets and design for a "cheaper" car. The exterior look I wasnt crazy about with its huge headlights, 4 doors, and overall look, but like I said looks are far from important to me. Plus I think 2013 was the first year the Spark was available in my area so I didnt want to pay new prices for it. The Scion iQ I really liked, small, looked cool, I liked how it looked more then the smart. It just looked more rugged then the smart, plus it was built by a dependably brand Toyota. Then again 2012 looks like the first year it was available around here so again basically new prices, and the iQ is certainly not that cheap. The Versa just looked boring and larger then I wanted, and the Yaris was a little bit nicer then the Versa, but again a little too plain and also again a little larger then i wanted.

A very small 2-door hatchback that just felt different from the rest is where I was heading. I don't really need an ultra small car, but I just didnt like the idea of 4 doors and 4 seats when I'm rarely going to be using more then 1, and rarely going to be carrying anything around. So after doing some extensive research into the smart I went to look at a MB dealership about 45 minutes away. A pure was my first focus (due to simplicity), but the salesman showed me a white w/ white tridion cell Passion that only had 7500 miles on it and it was their loaner car for people that were getting service done. What sold me on this car was the low mileage, the white on white color (which hides swirl marks from washing), and it had all the features of the Passion that I wanted, while dropping the features that I didnt want. I wanted the alloy wheels and vinyl roof, but I didnt want the rain sensor or power steering.

So after having the smart for a while I figure I could share my experience for interested buyers or new buyers, and also throw in a few thumbs up or complaints that I have. Maybe Smart could take notice of some of the issues I mention :)

So to start of with the most common concerns...

- Transmission
In case some people took the word of uninformed reviewers. The smart does not have a regular automatic transmission. You will probably bump into reviews saying how the automatic transmission performs quite poorly. The transmission could probably use some tweaks, but its a manual transmission and so will have the sometimes jerky behavior that people experience when shifting gears manually. The difference with the smart is that the gears are changed automatically for you (or you can use the paddle shifters or center console gear shifter). So its like a manual transmission where someone else is changing the gears for you. Getting the gears to change as smoothly as possible is just a matter of knowing when to let off the gas and getting use to when the smart likes to change gears. In all honesty the gear changing is not that jerky and you get use to it. However there are 2 things that Smart should try to remedy with the transmission. If your creeping along at 5-10 mph in automated mode, the transmission cant decide which gear to stay in so it causes the car to buck back and forth. It seems normal for this car, but the best way to handle that is to switch the car into manual mode when creeping along in slow traffic. The other thing is that the transmission sometimes slips when starting out after sitting for a while. Sometimes you'll start out your driveway in the morning and give it moderate steady gas and it seems like it wont quite catch a higher gear and will bounce back down in gears. That causes a "smooth" bucking motion, which goes away shortly after and can be remedied on the spot by giving it a little more gas. Still a little strange that it would do that in temperatures that arent that low, but it seems normal for the car.

- Not safe to drive
Theres enough assortment of safety features like airbags, traction control, and "roll cage" around the car. Due to its small size I can see some people being worried and I can see where they are coming from. Being in the car you don't really feel that unsafe as the car smoothly cruises the highway at 70 mph. Larger vehicles and high winds do push it around a little on the highway but not so much where its an immediate danger. Its marketed as a city car but in all honesty I think its best use is for moderate speeds of 40-50mph on open country roads.

- Not enough room
The most common comment I have heard when people see my car is how can a 6'2" person fit inside. Take a look at other small cars and you will see that small cars don't sacrifice much on passenger space. Sure they "usually" have a little less passenger space then larger cars, but you will be surprised when you look inside and sit down. Plenty of head space, and enough leg space to comfortably fit someone a little over 6' tall. Now if you are "thicker" then average then it may not be the best car for you, but the car isnt super tight on width either. When you take into account that the seats are almost at the back of the car, its surprising to find out that there is enough space behind the seats for luggage for an overnighter with almost 2' of depth to the trunk. Alot of the reason the car looks so small is because the engine is not in the front adding 3' to the front of the car. Instead the engine is underneath the trunk area. For 1 or 2 average size people that occasionally carry smaller stuff around its got enough space.

- Overall ride quality
Small tires in the front, short wheelbase, light weight, manual steering (on some), small engine, I'm sure there are a few others. People are right when they have concerns about the cars ride quality. Is it really bad? In my opinion no, but it definately isnt Cadillac quality either. The small tires and short wheelbase do make any potholes worth avoiding and you will feel small bumps more then you will probably like. The only issue with its light weight is like I said about blowing around a bit in excessive highway turbulence, but again not that bad when you get use to it. The manual steering on some cars doesnt make the experience worse at all. The car is so light and there is so little weight on the front end that manually steering this car only feels different to power steering when you are turning the wheel when you're stopped or moving very very slow. Other then those 2 situations it feels like the car has power steering. The small engine is certainly not going to set any speed records, but the car can travel the highway at 70 mph all day, it doesnt feel way too weak driving around town, and it can get up to speed on the highway in an acceptable manner. The car is pretty well insulated from engine noise so other then some vibrations at certain rpm/mph, the engine feels and sounds like any other car.

- MPG could be better
I can't really argue with this because I also think a car like this should probably get a little better gas mileage. I have experienced 37 mpg on the low end and 43 mpg on the high end, with about 60% highway and 40% city. The premium fuel requirement doesnt help, so my 40 mpg average drops down to probably 37 mpg if I was to equate it to using regular fuel. Some reviews say you can get so much more car that gets the same or better mpg, but how much more are you paying for the car and what if you want a really small car? My previous 2007 VW had a gas tank that was 14.5 gallons and I could go about 320 miles before the low gas light came on. With the smart the tank is only 8.5 gallons and I can go just as far as the VW.

Now for some great things that receive very little attention...

- Check out the roof that comes standard on the Pure model. Some sort of vinyl type material though I'm not sure what it really is. Whatever it is, it looks cool, it feels cool, its rugged and its practically scratch proof

- Did you know the body panels are all plastic and some colors are even molded in that color? All the body panels on the smart are plastic so no rusting and a sharp hit will most likely not damage them, plus all the panels can be swapped out for different panels changing the color of the whole car, or single damaged panels can be replaced easily for pretty cheap. Some of the panel colors are even molded that color so there is no paint (only clearcoat) on the plastic. You can get a scratch or hole all the way through the panel and it wont ever rust, and on colors like white (and a few others), any imperfections in the panel will be hard to see due to no variance in color all the way through the panel. Absolutely fantastic setup that I wish other car makers would implement.

- Push clip fasteners
I don't know the official name of these clips but you can search similar words to see what I'm talking about. Anyone that has worked on their car knows how frustrating cheap plastic fasteners are. Too often they break or are difficult to remove. I know alot of cars implement these fasteners but its worth mentioning they are on the smart also. They are found in alot of places where the plastic panels are secured together and they are easy to remove, easy to install, are fairly rugged and should last a while, and finally since they arent metal they wont ever rust. First time I removed one I thought how nice it was to finally see a well designed plastic fastener.

-Wheel well liners
It irks me when I'm interested in a car but it doesnt have any wheel well liners. The liners that go all around the wheel well protect the metal body from rocks being kicked up by the wheels and hitting the paint inside there. Aerodynamic benefit, along with crap not being thrown off the tires and into the engine bay is another benefit, but I can't stand the thought of the wheel wells getting abused by flying debris off the wheel. The smart has full liners front and back, big big plus in my opinion.

-Plastic rocker panels
Another rust preventative like the wheel well liners. On alot of cars rocks flying off the wheels hit the rocker panel area and chip the paint causing eventual rust. Again something I hate to see on cars I am interested in. One remedy is to buy mudflaps, but these can trap dirt and moisture behind them and some people just don't like the looks of them. Its good to know that the rocker panel area of the smart's tridion cell has a plastic cover that goes all the way from the front wheel to the back wheel. Again another big plus in my book. I don't like how dirt can get wedged between the plastic rocker panel cover and the bottom of the tridion cell and scratch the paint, but I think its alot better then not having the cover.

Finally some critiques...

- Carpet could use some improvement. The foam is a bit too cheap and the carpet is a little too cumbersome to move out of the way when you need to access the battery, engine etc.. Accessing the engine and the battery isnt exactly a lesson in quality design. Also I think I would prefer to see the battery located somewhere else and more of a regular "hood" for the engine, so the carpet doesnt have to be raised at all. I don't like the idea of the carpet not extending all the way to the doors and allowing dirt to get down under the carpet. If they kept the setup where the carpet is raised to access the engine and the battery, then perhaps a setup where a section of the carpet can be completely removed might be better.

- Interior light could use some improvement. Just seems very very cheap and basic to me. 1 more light and perhaps slightly better quality lighting would be good. Not looking for anything high end.

- Lug bolts a little more rust proof. I know lug bolts rust on just about every car, but I noticed the rust forming a little sooner then I think it should.

- I noticed its easy for dirt to get trapped between the plastic rocker panel cover and the bottom of the tridion cell (on the outer vertical part of the tridion cell). This means potential scratches to the paint on the tridion cell. Don't know how that can be fixed but maybe extend the plastic cover further on top of the door sill. Having the seem between plastic and metal be inside the car would mean less dirt will get between the two.

- Engine bay access could be better. Other then having to raise the carpet, you also have to reach over the lowered tailgate. Might be better to have a full hatchback door that raises the whole door over your head.

- Battery access could be better. Just another ease of access like the engine bay. I don't see how they couldnt place the battery near the engine or somewhere under the front hood

- The transmission slipping when starting out after sitting for a while is probably unfixable and not really that big of deal since it goes away quickly, but the bucking in automated mode at low speed cruising probably should be remedied.

- The setup with the hood on the front of the car probably needs some inspiration. Instead of sliding the hood out and resting it inside some supports, why not just have a basic hinge setup like most cars have?

- Finally the last thing I'll say for now is I think there needs to be some way for the air pressure inside the car to escape when the doors are closed. You will notice that a little extra push is needed to close a door when all other doors are already closed. This is partly because the doors are so light due to being mostly plastic, but probably also because the car is very air tight (just a guess). If the air can escape (another door or window open), then doors close easily, but with all other doors and windows closed, you will find yourself oten having to push the door again because it didnt latch the first time. Not a big deal, but probably could be remedied.

I am ready for your comments/agreements/disagreements/rage/TLDR/WallofText .....
 

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Thanks for the novel, er ...post. :D My guess is many of the things you mention will be addressed when we see the upcoming 453 fortwo (although it will probably bring it's own new set of quirks.)
 

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Your a prime candidate then for an iq I have an iq and a smart and I luv my smart but there is NO comparison to my scion iq I'm not sorry I bought my smart but I hate to say it on this fourm but the iq performs better in every catagorie then my smart
 

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Your a prime candidate then for an iq I have an iq and a smart and I luv my smart but there is NO comparison to my scion iq I'm not sorry I bought my smart but I hate to say it on this fourm but the iq performs better in every catagorie then my smart
I think that's in the eye of the beholder... we just bought a Yaris to get a car with a back seat for our dogs but I test drove the IQ during the process and found it to not have anywhere near the room of our smarts. Engine/throttle response also wasn't as good as our smarts. I actually pretty disappointed in the IQ... though it explained the bad sales numbers for them.
 

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I own a 500, and smart car. Hope the next smart is as nice as the current Fiat. It's a 7 year old design too, like the smart. It's sales beat both the smart, and IQ all to together, since day one. Fiat knows how to build cheap city cars. They been doing that the history of their company. It's not prefect, no car is. All vehicles, have a wish list. Smart owner for 6 year. Fiat for 3. The IQ is a better built car. Too bad it never caught on.

Add to the Op's smart list
Missing tilt wheel
Lumber support adjustable, the current seats are flat. No type of adjustment
Not such a vague dash board
Better ride, and handing
A real transmission. Fiat offer the same thing on their 2 banger European models it's bad too.
A good sound system
OEM wheels/tire you can actual rotate.
Space saver spare. Vintage micro cars offered them
Blue tooth
Loose all the cheap plastic rattles
Ceramic brake pad.
A glass roof. I go as far to say power glass sunroof
Cheap service.
 

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I have a 70 pound chow chow fits in my iq no problem it my smart not so I'm not putting down the smart but I Owen both an iq and a smart and in my opinion the iq is a better built car. I really like my smart but I don't think u can compare quality to the iq
 

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I have a 70 pound chow chow fits in my iq no problem it my smart not so I'm not putting down the smart but I Owen both an iq and a smart and in my opinion the iq is a better built car. I really like my smart but I don't think u can compare quality to the iq
Oh what a feeling, Toyota. :)
 

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IQ = Tin Top..... smart & Fiat = topdownfun.... enough said on the topic.. now back to the pros and cons of smart ownership.......
 

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I think that's in the eye of the beholder... we just bought a Yaris to get a car with a back seat for our dogs but I test drove the IQ during the process and found it to not have anywhere near the room of our smarts. Engine/throttle response also wasn't as good as our smarts. I actually pretty disappointed in the IQ... though it explained the bad sales numbers for them.
I think that's in the eye of the beholder... we just bought a Yaris to get a car with a back seat for our dogs but I test drove the IQ during the process and found it to not have anywhere near the room of our smarts. Engine/throttle response also wasn't as good as our smarts. I actually pretty disappointed in the IQ... though it explained the bad sales numbers for them.
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What engine/ throttle response mean here we go again I'm not bashing the smart i Owen one I got it 7 weeks ago I have both iq and smart and you cannot compare the transmission in them night and day I can do 80 on the highway easily with my iq my smart I don't think so
 

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Kilos, short for kilograms, are measures of weight: 1000 grams.
Kilometers are measures of distance: 1000 meters.
I know, they don‘t use the metric system in Lower Alabama, but you might travel one day, after the ocean takes that part of the seashore back permanently.
:)
 

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What engine/ throttle response mean here we go again I'm not bashing the smart i Owen one I got it 7 weeks ago I have both iq and smart and you cannot compare the transmission in them night and day I can do 80 on the highway easily with my iq my smart I don't think so
You're correct. The iQ has an efficiency-sucking CVT, the smart an automated manual. No comparison.

You do know the right pedal is called the accellerator pedal for a reason correct? I do 80 in my smart virtually every day. In fact, it likes it up there. I have no problem passing most folks on the highway. 157K, and I still enjoy it...:D
 

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Kilos, short for kilograms, are measures of weight: 1000 grams.
Kilometers are measures of distance: 1000 meters.
I know, they don‘t use the metric system in Lower Alabama, but you might travel one day, after the ocean takes that part of the seashore back permanently.
:)
Yes, I do know the difference in a kilo "meter" and kilo "gram". Probably like you I have traveled extensively throughout Canada, Mexico, and almost all 48 States (yes, I know there are 50) and drove 110 Km in Canada! I guess I should have properly abbreviated it as Km to avoid confusion. I moved here from SoCal (Southern California) so not a true "Redneck" as I assume you moved to Mexico and are not a true Mexican. Only the tiniest part of Alabama actually touches any of the Gulf Coast. I'm about as far South as you can get on the East side and am still 85 miles from the Coast so don't think I'll have any beachfront property soon. Probably a better chance of that happening in Riverside, California, LOL!
 

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Kilos, short for kilograms, are measures of weight: 1000 grams.
Kilometers are measures of distance: 1000 meters.
I know, they don‘t use the metric system in Lower Alabama, but you might travel one day, after the ocean takes that part of the seashore back permanently.
:)
Yes, I do know the difference in a kilo "meter" and kilo "gram". Probably like you I have traveled extensively throughout Canada, Mexico, and almost all 48 States (yes, I know there are 50) and drove 110 Km in Canada! I guess I should have properly abbreviated it as Km to avoid confusion. I moved here from SoCal (Southern California) so not a true "Redneck" as I assume you moved to Mexico and are not a true Mexican. Only the tiniest part of Alabama actually touches any of the Gulf Coast, no Oceans at all here! I'm about as far South as you can get on the East side and am still 85 miles from the Coast so don't think I'll have any beachfront property soon. Probably a better chance of that happening in Riverside, California, LOL!
 

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Aw Heck; I can‘t get away with pulling your leg, since you aren‘t a true Alabamian. Actually, I have fond memories of a particular oyster house on a beach town in Alabama, which went away in one of the recent storms. The raw oysters were particularly good, even though I don‘t usually eat them raw south of the North Atlantic. I commented on their quality, only to discover that they came from Texas; Ugh! The home of willful pollution for money. But, that is another story, which will make you want to never use a car wash again. Not even for your little smart.
 
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