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Discussion Starter #1
I have a couple questions I haven't seen answered yet in the forum.

1) I live in a fairly hilly, mountainous area. How does the Smart preform on hills and long grades? Will it maintain the speed limit on those long grades on the hwy. or will it be going 35 mph while the semi's blow me off the road?

2) How about ground clearance? I am most unfortunate to have to drive over about 10 very tall speed bumps on my daily commute. I've seen it stated that it's got the same as most compact cars but I have to ask, how many inches of clearance this baby have?

Thank you for your response.

Friggy
 

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My observation of the smart’s mountain climbing ability is very limited, and not hands-on. I accompanied a smart cdi diesel up and over Kicking Horse Pass (Alberta/BC) on Trans Canada 1. The smart did as well if not better than the rental PT Cruiser I was rowing along with its "3 1/2"-speed slush box. Likely the smart’s 6-speed transmission was put to efficient use.

I’d hate to hit a very high speed bump at speed in a smart and run aground amidships. The fuel tank is sandwiched between the belly pan and the cabin floor, right under your feet and buns.
 

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The mountain climbing ability all boils down to the power-to-weight ratio (in reality, it is weight-to-torque). The rented PT cruiser I was driving (the most modest in the lineup) had a W/T ratio of 26 lbs GVW per foot-pound of torque. A 2007 Nissan Sentra I-4 is 28 lbs. The smart cdi diesel was 29 lbs (the 2008 gassers will be 24). These numbers are based on total gross vehicle weight (car, passengers, fuel, cargo). Obviously, passengers and cargo will have a considerably greater relative effect on a very light car like the smart. But the smart’s numbers are reasonable even when loaded to the gills, and like I said before, the cdi wasn’t doing bad.
 

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I have driven my 2003 smart (gas powered) over several freeway passes without it slowing down much. I did not have to shift down to 5th. Only time I went under the 75mph speed limit was on the hottest days of the summer, due to the car starting to get warm (4th dot lit) and having the AC running. Depends a lot on your passenger weight load as well.

Tom
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the input!

Nice to hear it should do o.k. in the mountains. Of course most driving would be around town (90%), but whenever we leave town it's either way up or way down. Then the reverse is true on the way home. As far as the speed bumps here you pretty much have to come to a stop or you get launched into next week. Sure would be a bummer to high center on the gas tank!

Friggy:cool:
 

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I'll put my answer to your inquiry in terms you should be able to relate.

I have traveled over the 'Grapevine', I-5 over Lake Shasta, the Siskiyous in Oregon and the Cajon pass. Sometimes downshifting to 5th but always keeping up with traffic.

I cannot vouch for the American version of the Smart however, it has a Mitsubishi engine and only a 5 speed transmission as well as being several hundred pounds heavier (Also 10 more HP). This is in no way Model 541 bashing, vouch only from my experience.

Hope that helps

Cheers
Donald LaFavor
 

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Driving in the mountains? I remember driving a 65 Mustang 6 cyl. up a steep mile hill in the PA. Pocono mtns. I had to drop down to 2d gear to make it (3-speed stick). Todays cars have much more get up and go, man. I'm sure the Smarty would have no problem. :cool:
 

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2) How about ground clearance? I am most unfortunate to have to drive over about 10 very tall speed bumps on my daily commute. I've seen it stated that it's got the same as most compact cars but I have to ask, how many inches of clearance this baby have?

Friggy
I don't have a precise answer, but the ground clearance appears to be greater that the typical mid-size car. Unfortunately, that contributes to the high center of gravity and poor wet surface handling characteristics.
 

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Unfortunately, that contributes to the high center of gravity and poor wet surface handling characteristics.
Arguable since the rear mounted engine sitting so low in the back will help to stabilize the car and enhance traction. ABS brakes and sensible driving will alleviate all wet surface problems. :)
 
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