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Hi there! I’m from Milwaukee WI and I got introduced to the world of Smart Cars a few days ago. When I first saw them for sale near me, I thought about how interesting it looked, the fantastic MPG, and how fun they are to drive. Being in the inner city, parking would be a BREEZE! I only live with my GF, and rarely haul more than a cart full of groceries. And my commute wouldn’t be more than 30 miles a day, so generally I thought it’d be a good descision.

The profile picture you see is a VERY excited and proud selfie of me with the 2014 ForTwo passion... My very first test drive with these. And funny story - I didn’t know which side the gas port was on. And when I did, I had to pull around to another pump. Some guy cut me off, and instead of backing out, I managed to squeeze in between the pumps and get to the right one. Couldn’t do that with most cars!

Sadly, when I came back for round two a couple days later, someone else already purchased it... but there’s a 2013 ForTwo near me that’s been sitting on the lot for eight months now. I might go see that one tomorrow. Before I do, though, I’ve done a LOT of homework on them. Now I’d like to get some honest opinions from real owners if you’d be interested. My main questions are:

What are some common problems, both minor and major, with the 2013 and 2014 ForTwos?

The brakes feel much stiffer than a normal car, but they worked quite fine. Is that normal?

My nearest smart center is 80 miles away. My local mechanic said getting parts for them is a bit more difficult and takes longer to work on, so... what are some services I could look into (like insurance, warranties...) to mitigate the cost?

I’m facing 15K miles on the 2013 model. Oil change once every 5K miles... is there anything else specific to the smart I’d need regularly maintained?

Finally, I’m looking at a daily commute of 10 to 20 miles each way. Sometimes I’ll take trips to Madison, which is 80 miles. MAYBE Chicago every few months. But 99 percent of the time I won’t even leave the city. I need to be sure the smart could handle the longer rides... and snow. Milwaukee gets a LOT of snow, well over six inches sometimes. How do smarts handle in that?

Thanks for your help in letting me know if a Smart is right for me. I really love these tiny beasts!
 

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Hiya from the WI-IL border (not far from Gurnee/Kenosha)!

I have a bestie in the Milwaukee area! <3

Facelifted (2011+) smarts don't have any major issues to note. Change the oil every 10,000 miles and it'll take care of you.

There's really only one minor issue to note and it's with the roof on non-convertible models. The see-through panoramic roof (usually on 'passion' models) may experience "crazing" on the inside and the solid textured roof (usually on 'pure' models) may experience bubbling and peeling on the outside. So far as I can tell, nearly all smarts will eventually do this.

Thankfully they're purely cosmetic and there are easy remedies to make them look better when it happens.

Parts aren't really hard to come by and repair work shouldn't take too long with someone who knows what they are doing. The real issue is the cost of work. Getting work done by Smart Center Madison will cost a lot of money, so look into local mechanics and European specialists.

Generic stuff like tyres, oil changes, wheel bearings, suspension components, brakes, alignment, and similar can be done at any shop that can accommodate the car.

I wouldn't worry about getting an extended warranty or similar, though it couldn't hurt to have one. Sadly I don't have any recommendations for one.

Once the warranty ended on my 2012 at 50k miles, I haven't been back. The car now has 148k miles and most of the work done on it was DIY.

I can help with brakes, oil changes, and other stuff. I recently helped that aforementioned bestie do his smart's first brake job! :)

The car can easily handle your commute! A couple weeks ago I towed this 150cc scooter up to downtown Madison (98 miles), picked up a second 150cc scooter, towed both to Milwaukee (taking Interstates the entire way), dropped off the first in Cudahy, then raced back to Illinois down I-94 with the second in tow.





The trailer is 800 pounds with the scooters being 280 pounds each. I traveled something like 300 miles that night.

And with decent tyres the car will be a little monster in the snow. :)
 

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2008 passion, 2009 pure, and 2013 tailor-made brabus owner here. I am a hard driver, i like to go fast and pretty decent distances. The car holds its own on the road unless youre going up steep inclines with several hundred pounds in the car, running the ac on a hot day but im sure it will handle your trips. My 08 and 09 both went strong with nothing major and same goes for my 13. Like the comment above mine the roof crazing, which looks like clear coat fading, seems to be the major problem although my new smart hasnt experienced that. It was a cheap fix with the autobody shop respraying a tinted clear coat. I cant talk about experience in snow as I havent been in any living in California but i know many people use their smarts with small chain sets or snow tires who do just fine. Or just turn traction control off and slide around lol



The braking just takes getting used to. Its an 1800 pound rwd rear engine car so it definitely feels a little different. Half the time i downshift and let that brake for me. Aside from oil and filter changes it really varies car to car. Harder drivers will oil up and adjust their clutch actuator while some who use ac may have to clean and lube their fan motor. But every bit of maitenance varies depending on driving conditons, locations and the person behind the wheel.


Lastly my warranty has been up or a while and I have yet to go back to the dealership. Parts are not as difficult to get as they once were. Most parts can be ordered online at cost cheaper than a dealer anywas. If they offer a deal for a few bucks more than what youre paying for a nice warranty then go for it but most owners I know are fine otherwise
 

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I too found a Passion in Portage. Looked great on-line, then when we got there it was gone.

We found a couple of Pure(s) in the Chicago area and drove one back that evening. Cars2Go dumped their entire inventory of base models on the market, all with less than 20K on the clock.

I too have a bit of a commute to work. 44 round trip. Part of it Beltline, some of it on I90.

The car reminds me a lot of my '74 1200 Civic. Short, easy to get around, and looks easy to take care of.
 
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