Smart Car of America Forum banner

1 - 20 of 22 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
905 Posts
2018 January, Motor Trend. Smart 453 ED review.

Sounds about right.

The math just doesn't add up
We Like: The fun handling and the small size for the city

We Don’t Like: The very short driving range and lack of comfort and value

Smart is the name, and small is the game. Too small for most Americans, though. The ForTwo’s size makes sense in old, extremely dense European cities, but it doesn’t for wide-open North America. When you factor in the 58 miles of range, the math just doesn’t add up.
The small size is great for maneuvering in and around tight spaces (we love the tiny turning radius) and for the fun handling it provides. The light weight coupled with the instant torque of the electric motor only compliments the fun-to-drive factor. Some might like the quirky design elements, and the braking feel is great for an EV, but that’s where it ends for the ForTwo.

The Smart’s rough ride and questionable highway driving characteristics can be partly attributed to the short wheelbase and narrow tires. “The car gets very upset on rough surfaces,” Jonny Lieberman said. “Imperfections that are minor bumps to other cars feel very threatening when encountered in the Smart.” Ed Loh agreed: “The ride is pretty terrible.”
The biggest drawback is the lack of value. With room for only two people, very little cargo, one of the shortest driving ranges in the industry, and a price similar to larger, longer-range EVs, the Smart ForTwo ED is a hard sell. “Value is simply not there,” Loh said. “It’s priced high at $24,550-$29,230, especially relative to the Nissan Leaf.” Angus MacKenzie concluded: “There’s simply no reason to own one in the U.S. And so there’s no reason why it should be Car of the Year.”
 

·
Premium Member
MY08 cabrio MY09 cabrio Brabus MY15 ED
Joined
·
7,762 Posts
Sounds about right.

"The biggest drawback is the lack of value. With room for only two people, very little cargo, one of the shortest driving ranges in the industry, and a price similar to larger, longer-range EVs, the Smart ForTwo ED is a hard sell."
Yup, and that review won't generate much showroom traffic - if one of the "surviving" smart Centers happens to be nearby?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
922 Posts
Not having been in a 453 ED, is the ride much different between that and the 451 ED? I say that because I don't think the ride in our 451 is bad at all, especially considering the length of the wheelbase. It's roughly on par with our (admittedly 21 year old) BMW 3-series that rides on sport springs and Bilstein HD shocks. It has a firm, damped feel over most road imperfections. Stuff like expansion joints aren't all that different, and hitting a pothole is worse but not significantly so. I guess I'm surprised because what I've heard is that the 453 has a much more compliant, modern suspension feel.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
905 Posts
Not having been in a 453 ED, is the ride much different between that and the 451 ED? I say that because I don't think the ride in our 451 is bad at all, especially considering the length of the wheelbase. It's roughly on par with our (admittedly 21 year old) BMW 3-series that rides on sport springs and Bilstein HD shocks. It has a firm, damped feel over most road imperfections. Stuff like expansion joints aren't all that different, and hitting a pothole is worse but not significantly so. I guess I'm surprised because what I've heard is that the 453 has a much more compliant, modern suspension feel.

And that should be an indication of just how poor the ride of the 451 is. I have owned motorcycles that have had a smoother ride. I would compare my smarts ride to a 650 Suzuki Burgman maxi scooter I owned last year. The smart fortwos wheelbase isn't much longer than a large motorcycle. Very difficult to have such a short wheelbase and not have a Choppy ride.
I just wish the doors of my old 08 and current 09 didn't sound like they were falling off when I hit bump or close them.
Makes a BIG difference doesn't it? I recently purchased a 2014 BoConcept Cabrio and much to my surprise the PO had the entire car done with soundproofing. I can't believe the difference it made over my 08 Passion Cabrio. Even shutting the doors or hitting the plastic outside panels you get a much different sound. Like that of a quality vehicle (that the smart really is). The sound level inside with the top up and cruising at highways speeds is more like a hard top now.
I guess I could add soundproofing ,but if it were truly a quality vehicle (nice try DowneasTTer) I shouldn't have too. Really, closing the doors on a smart car does not invoke thoughts of quality.
It is what it is. A cheap (by European standards) micro car designed for the small, congested streets of Europe.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
718 Posts
[/b]
I guess I could add soundproofing ,but if it were truly a quality vehicle (nice try DowneasTTer) I shouldn't have too. Really, closing the doors on a smart car does not invoke thoughts of quality.
It is what it is. A cheap (by European standards) micro car designed for the small, congested streets of Europe.
The thing is I'm been an owner since 08. Max my original cabrio was in the family for almost 10 years. Even with all the horror stories of owning "first year cars" he never let us down. In fact only needing typical maintenance items like one battery (at 7 years). Oh and he still had all his original light bulbs except a right rear brake light. So I guess we have different options of what a quality car is:D

I have owned many so called "quality vehicles" in my 68 years here on the planet including my current Audi TT roadster. ALL have been in the shop much more frequently than either of my two smarts have been.
 

·
Premium Member
MY08 cabrio MY09 cabrio Brabus MY15 ED
Joined
·
7,762 Posts
I guess I could add soundproofing, but if it were truly a quality vehicle I shouldn't have too. Really, closing the doors on a smart car does not invoke thoughts of quality.
It is what it is. A cheap (by European standards) micro car designed for the small, congested streets of Europe.
Yes, the 453 ride is improved but some would say they "domesticated" our most unique smart?

Not "cheap" by price in comparison to other vehicles and the RECYCLED plastic panels are true to the original smart concept/design.

Adding sound deadening material to the ICE smart can improve the ownership experience. Some have had severe panel distortion from the contraction/expansion of unlike materials - plastic/foil.

453 ED does offer an optional (go figure?) cold weather package adding insulation and heated steering wheel.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
145 Posts
It's a bumpy ride because it has a stiff suspension. But if you loosen the suspension, you'll lose some of it's cornering ability, so they kept it stiff. That's why sports cars always have bumpy rides. As for the price...the EV is currently the cheapest EV on the market so I'm not sure how they can say it's overpriced. I've never liked the magazine reviewers because there's certain preconceived notions that they seem to have, and if you don't fall into their idea of what a car is or should be, then your automatically going to get a bad review. When I first drove my smart I was blown away at how roomie it was. I feel more comfortable in the smart than in any other subcompact I've driven. All other small cars have taken away roominess of the front seat so they can accommodate a worthless backseat. Smart basically gets rid of the worthless backseat and concentrates on a comfortable driver. But according to the magazines, that's a huge problem. It's a 2 seater but it's not a sports car? Automatically a problem for them. Think about it. When was the last time you needed a seat for a 3rd person and you nor any of the other 2 people didn't have a car with a backseat. I honestly can't think of a single time that's ever happened.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,297 Posts
Automotive reviewers are hilarious. They often look for anything to validate the inhibitions of people who follow the pack rather than lead it. The suspension in the 453 isn't even close to problematic. Whatever ride quality flaws they are opining about are absolutely characteristic of a short wheelbase and I don't even know why there seemed to be lack of certainty there. Short wheelbases are going to do what short wheelbases do. I could expand on what is likely to occur with all the various suspension designs, but most folks would fall asleep if I did.

if you gave the critics the design tools and blueprints, they couldn't build a better micro car. Not even close. The belief that the 'tiny, short car' should be 'larger, longer' still taints most smart car reviews.

Not having been in a 453 ED, is the ride much different between that and the 451 ED? I say that because I don't think the ride in our 451 is bad at all, especially considering the length of the wheelbase. It's roughly on par with our (admittedly 21 year old) BMW 3-series that rides on sport springs and Bilstein HD shocks. It has a firm, damped feel over most road imperfections. Stuff like expansion joints aren't all that different, and hitting a pothole is worse but not significantly so. I guess I'm surprised because what I've heard is that the 453 has a much more compliant, modern suspension feel.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,580 Posts
On a decent road the ride of both the 451 and 453 is pretty good with the 453 being a touch better. Problem is that the condition of roads in the U.S. has dramatically deteriorated compared with roads in other developed countries around the world.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,218 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Our roads, highways, where I live are paved in gold. We pay enough state taxes. For that luxury. When my daughter was attend college KU, in Lawrence Kansas. We would drive up and visit her. The city has some old brick paved roads. The little 451 smart, sounded like it was going to fall apart. As you drove across them. Doors, dash board, tail gate. Skinny front tires, short wheel base. Panels made of plastic. Just screwed and clipped on. What do expect from a $14k vehicle?

Lots of old brick, and paver block roads. In Europe. Where there are a large abundance of smart cars.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,580 Posts
Well it sounds as though you are really blessed with fine roads but I’ll bet that isn’t the case for many here. I have driven on some mighty rough roads in both my 451 and 453 but never experienced what you have described.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,208 Posts
Sounds about right.

Too small for most Americans, though. The ForTwo’s size makes sense in old, extremely dense European cities, but it doesn’t for wide-open North America. When you factor in the 58 miles of range, the math just doesn’t add up.
Why does Motor Trend (and for that matter, "Consumer Reports") assume we are all plain wonderbread-types living in sprawling generic suburbia - where their offices are no doubt located? Not all of the USA looks like that - and few millennial aged people in the USA want to live in anything that resembles that. Our Smart ED is the perfect car for Pittsburgh streets - and New York, Boston, Philly, and a goodly number of other places in the USA.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,208 Posts
Well it sounds as though you are really blessed with fine roads but I’ll bet that isn’t the case for many here. I have driven on some mighty rough roads in both my 451 and 453 but never experienced what you have described.
The streets of Pittsburgh are incredibly rough, and our Smart ED is solid and rattle-free at 26,000 miles - and I run the tires well above the door-pillar pressures too!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
905 Posts
Our roads, highways, where I live are paved in gold. We pay enough state taxes. For that luxury. When my daughter was attend college KU, in Lawrence Kansas. We would drive up and visit her. The city has some old brick paved roads. The little 451 smart, sounded like it was going to fall apart. As you drove across them. Doors, dash board, tail gate. Skinny front tires, short wheel base. Panels made of plastic. Just screwed and clipped on. What do expect from a $14k vehicle?
Lots of old brick, and paver block roads. In Europe. Where there are a large abundance of smart cars.
I'll try to do an audio file of driving over some patched roads here, because That's exactly my experience with both my smarts. Possibly a little worse, due to the fact mine were and are convertibles. I grit teeth when I come across rough or massively patched roadway, the car sounds like it is going to shake apart.
I wish I would have found one of those "GOLDEN" rattle free smarts.

Back in 2008, 2009 $14,000 was more like $16,000. That was almost 10 years ago already
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,947 Posts
Possibly if you never modded or had body work done then they don’t rattle? I’ve pulled those side skirts off and the car doesn’t quite feel right after replacing them....
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
17,478 Posts
My 451 only rattles in places that I’ve done modifications, otherwise it’s rather quiet. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,218 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
I'll try to do an audio file of driving over some patched roads here, because, That's exactly my experience with both my smarts. Possibly a little worse, due to the fact mine were and are convertibles. I grit teeth when I come across rough or massively patched roadway, the car sounds like it is going to shake apart.
I wish I would have found one of those "GOLDEN" rattle free smarts.

Back in 2008, 2009 $14,000 was more like $16,000. That was almost 10 years ago already
You can buy used low milage, 2016 453. For around $12-13k. Plenty of preowned inventory, on the market. I don’t know if their anymore rattle free, as the 451’s.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
718 Posts
You can buy used low milage, 2016 453. For around $12-13k. Plenty of preowned inventory, on the market. I don’t know if their anymore rattle free, as the 451’s.
In fact on eBay just the other day a NEW 453 cabrio was listed by a MB dealer for a starting bid of $15k and no reserve..... guess what not a single bidder.:shrug:

Of course the color was the blue/orange... great for a FL Gator fan!!
 
1 - 20 of 22 Posts
Top