Smart Car of America Forum banner

1 - 11 of 11 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I just finished test driving a Smart Pure and absolutely loved it, but I had a few questions. While I actually enjoyed the shifting of the transmission, I wasn't too fond of when it was choosing to change gears. I was wondering if I drove in the Tiptronic Mode if it would allow me to shift a bit later?

Also, The car felt really high off the groud! While I'm sure the seating position is something I could quickly get accustomed to, I would really prefer it to be a bit lower. I know there's seat adjustments for front to back, but are there adjustments for height as well?

Sorry if this seems mundane. This should have been something I checked out for myself, but I only had about a half hours time I could spend at the Dealership before I had to be at my other job.

Thanks.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
28,243 Posts
:welcome: to SCoA! :)

The smart has a high seating position giving great visibility. It's possible to raise the seat height, but not to lower it (without some major surgery...)

As for the transmission, if you used the auto mode ("D" on the instrument panel) the car will shift for maximum fuel economy, although it is possible to influence that by using the accelerator position. In the manual mode you can have the transmission hold any gear to the redline if you want to.

The official smart transmission video: smartshift® Transmission - smart USA insider

:)
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
7,593 Posts
I just finished test driving a Smart Pure and absolutely loved it, but I had a few questions. While I actually enjoyed the shifting of the transmission, I wasn't too fond of when it was choosing to change gears. I was wondering if I drove in the Tiptronic Mode if it would allow me to shift a bit later?

Also, The car felt really high off the groud! While I'm sure the seating position is something I could quickly get accustomed to . . .

. . . are there adjustments for height as well?
Welcome to SCoA, your handle "Deathoftheparty" hopefully does not foretell your LOVE for smart?

Shifting and the tranny has been highly documented since the 451 introduction to the U.S. in 2008. That being said in "manual" you can wind it higher than the computer does in auto and add to the smart "fun factor" BUT the transmission is hardly a true Tiptronic experience.

Feels like you are sitting high because of the vehicle configuration after all, you are sitting atop the engine and drive train. There is NO HEIGHT adjustment for the seat, it is what it is?

It is often said - "smart is not for everybody." A word of advice, DO NOT buy until you have taken another test drive and satisfied at least these two open questions.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the quick response, the transmission was my only true concern. The seat is something I'll grow accustomed to. I used to drive a SUV, so I was just thinking for it's size, it felt a little off, but I didn't take the engine being in the back as the reasoning. That makes sense now. It was kind of nice to be looking over the Corolla that was in front of me actually. And it will definitely help with the bright headlights from all of the trucks in my area.

My only fear with the transmission was pulling out onto the street from the dealers lot, it chose to change gears mid turn and I feared that it would cause the cars behind me to have to slow down to avoid an accident. I guess I should just be more cautious before I pull out.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,588 Posts
For many of us old time Smart owners, the high seating position is a real plus. No frame to climb over. You just easily slide in and out.

Many of us on this Forum never drive the car in "D", but use the paddles and wind it up in every gear. The car is much more fun to drive this way, and the engine loves to live without lugging. :) A2Jack.
 

·
To the XCAPEPOD!
Joined
·
6,076 Posts
I've always driven my 2008 in manual mode to control the shifts and to ensure that the trans is in the right gear at the right time. The fully auto mode just isn't enjoyable to me, but I'll use it from time to time when holding coffee, etc. and it's not convenient to do my own shifting. Unlike a conventional manual trans, at least we have that option. :)

 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
28,243 Posts
My only fear with the transmission was pulling out onto the street from the dealers lot, it chose to change gears mid turn and I feared that it would cause the cars behind me to have to slow down to avoid an accident. I guess I should just be more cautious before I pull out.
Being cautious before pulling onto the street is a good idea - some folks seem to have a hard time seeing smarts (much like motorcycles.) You'll learn to drive it in Auto ("D") - not as bad as some would have you believe. The key is application of the accelerator pedal; if you slowly depress it the car interprets that as you aren't in a hurry and may upshift "early." If you depress the pedal sharply to about the 3/4 position that tells the car to GO! and it will take off and hold the gear unless you let up on the pedal. It's all about the car training us on how to drive it. :wink:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
I remember when I test drove mine, I was also somewhat non-plussed and concerned about the acceleration from a dead stop, especially pulling into traffic from a cross-street or driveway. (I tried to drive it like a normal automatic transmission and floored it...)(no va...)

Mine hesitates coming off the line, especially when the air is running. I've taken it to the dealer & they tell me everything is working fine - it's just the characteristics of the tranny.

So, you just have to allow for it. Once it's revved up and moving, it's great. Like others, I use the shifter/paddles almost exclusively & adjust the gas pedal between shifts as if I had a clutch.

The engine is happiest between 2500 and 4500 rpm, not so happy lower than 2000rpm (which is where the auto mode tries to keep it, to save gas.) Running at those RPM's, I'm comfortable using mid-grade.

My observations from 2 yrs ownership, anyway...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
185 Posts
The Smart's packaging concept was to give the driver a seating position with a better view into traffic (command seating); give the car strong conspicuity in traffic; shrink overall length and create a large interior volume. The high seats are integral to the solution.

Other small cars that take a similar approach are the Fiat 500 and Nissan Versa... and the original VW Beetle.

Most sports cars along -- and cars like the original Honda Insight (1999-2006) -- take the opposite approach: lower the overall profile; position the driver and passenger low to the vehicle floor; decrease the aerodynamic coefficient of drag and lower the center of gravity... to increase fuel efficiency and enhance handling.

The Fortwo's seat height is excellent for lower back health: to have the hip point (h-point) level with or higher than the knees... as with a dining room chair. Folks will go to great length to get this in a car... but it often means getting an SUV, truck or CUV.

Vehicle "packaging" is such a cool synthesis of art and science:

Smart, Gen II:
3 cylinder, 1.0 litre engine with 70hp
Length: 106.1"
Width: 61.4"
Height: 60.7"
Wheelbase 73.5"
Curb Weight: 1808 lbs
Cd: .35

Insight Gen I:
3 cylinder 1.0 litre gasoline engine with 13hp electric assist
Length: 155.3"
Width: 66.7"
Height: 53.3"
Wheelbase: 94"
Curb Weight: 1878 lbs
Cd: .29


,
,
,
,
,
 

·
He's not mine
Joined
·
9,607 Posts
Welcome to SCoA. Some great replies here. And, I really don't have much to add. Except for the seating height ... in addition to what has already been said, I think there's something to be said for the safety factor too. In many small cars (Miata, BMW Z3-4) you sit with your head around bumper height to most cars. In the event of a collision, I'd rather have my egg crate situated a bit higher than that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
465 Posts
For me the seat height is a real plus. i'm used to trucks and getting my old self in and out is so nice compared to so many cars. it's a major reason I got it. I also have a Pure. They don't have the paddle shifters. I'm not a fan of autos and have been driving sticks for 40 years. I figured I would just drive my Smart by shifting it myself. To my surprise I've found that once I got used to it I rarely ever take it out of D mode.

From a dead stop just step on it and it will go. The place where it will frustrate you is when you are still rolling a little and then pull out and kick it. Sometimes this will confuse the transmission a little and it will hesitate. Solution= don't do that. Be patient and drive safer. Wait till you have room before pulling into traffic. I learned that back when I drove a slow car with a non turbo diesel. After a bit you and the car will learn each other and the trans will be a non issue 99% of the time. It's a car that rewards those who leave a long following distance and plan ahead. Less forgiving of those that are always in a hurry and reacting instead of planning.

Like said above take a couple of long test drives and try a couple of different models. Make sure the car works for you before you pull the trigger. They are not for everybody. If you find it does then you will probably still find your self with a silly grin long after you leave the dealer. Happy hunting!
 
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
Top