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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi there! I am not a Smart Car owner but thinking about it! I’ve always had tiny cars but not this tiny! I had a Fiero two seater for my first, a series of Beetles and now a 2012 Prius C ( which I am keeping!) So.... question is... if I could find a Smart under 50K miles that I could afford, what type and year is best? Obviously the 2012-15 are cheaper but apparently there was a major remodel in 2016 and they are supposed to be safer and more reliable after that. True? Anyone have experience with CarMax, Carvana or Vroom? Opinions? Thanks for any advice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks! I think the newer ones would make me more comfortable (if I could afford it). Which did you end up choosing?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Have you been happy with it? I’m not sure I like the newer styling either. Looks more like a Jeep.
 

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So far so good. It has 13k miles on the clock. It’s a passion model with all the bells and whistles. Will be replacing the radio with a Apple play unit. I like to have a screen to look at. Plus all my music is on my phone. Sirrius, Spotify and etc. and was easier to move from car to car. Rather then spending 100’s of dollars on each car that sits. I will be lowering it with the smart madness springs. I’ve heard that it will give it a much smoother ride. I do live in the city of potholes 🤣 New Orleans. So we will see how it goes. On the interstate I was impressed with the power it has. Only 70hp but it goes well. I’ve been passed before on the road by a smart car or two. Then I bought one. So I wonder how much longer parts will be available. Since Mercedes in my city will have parts available until June 2021. And then they are popular in Europe. So I would assume it will not be a real issue. Just might take a little longer for parts. At the same time I’ve read people on here have 100-150k miles on them. So that makes me not really worried about the quality. Hope this helps you with your questions.
 

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I bought my first Smart(451) about a year ago. Initially it had some surprise show-stopping issues and I had some buyer's remorse for about a month while I figured out the issue and repaired it. Since then it has been a decent little car that's fun to drive, but there are some caveats I would consider before buying one...

I work on my own cars which drastically skews my repair costs.

If this is to be your only car, I wouldn't recommend a Smart. They appear to be nice reliable cars so don't misunderstand this as a slight on the car, but parts and support can be harder to find which makes it less desirable for an only car. With Smart leaving the North American markets, this will become the norm. Something more common, for which mechanics and parts abound, would be my suggestion for an only car.

The available space can be a real limitation. I have dogs, I occasionally buy lumber and other materials; I could fit all of the dogs or a surprising amount of lumber in my old car (Saturn SL1) but the Smart is a challenge to fit just one dog (they are big dogs). It's fine for commuter type loads; groceries, typical packages - some even pretty large, but space is greatly limited compared to most other cars on the market.

I have other cars so none of this is an issue for me; I drive the truck when I need to haul large heavy things, I drive the hybrid when I need to haul people or dogs, and when I'm popping off to work I drive the Smart. If it needs repairs and I can't get parts quickly, I just drive one of the other cars. I like to tinker and learn and it scratches that itch, too. It's a great car; I love it and enjoy driving it, but it has limitations and it isn't what I would consider a good choice for an only car given what one could acquire in a similar price range. Not trying to discourage, just trying to inform.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thank you. It a would be a car as I would be keeping my so far reliable Prius but I am NOT mechanical at all! I thought if I bought from CarMax or Carvana that I would take out their service warranty for about $25 a month extra. That makes me wonder if I really should stick to the 2016 or 17 models. I want the sunroof and want a colorful one with low mileage but don’t want to have a large monthly payment. I do like the looks of the earlier ones better and they are cheaper but the reliability concerns me. What did you think of CarMax/ Carvana or Vroom?
 

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Thank you. It a would be a car as I would be keeping my so far reliable Prius but I am NOT mechanical at all! I thought if I bought from CarMax or Carvana that I would take out their service warranty for about $25 a month extra. That makes me wonder if I really should stick to the 2016 or 17 models. I want the sunroof and want a colorful one with low mileage but don’t want to have a large monthly payment. I do like the looks of the earlier ones better and they are cheaper but the reliability concerns me. What did you think of CarMax/ Carvana or Vroom?
I actually bought my 453 passion off carvana, I’m paying $298/month for it, including the extra 70k mile warranty. I’ve since had friends order cars from them because of my recommendation, and all have had good experiences. Very easy buying process and very clean cars, mine looked/drove like brand new with 16k miles when I bought it. I’m at 37k now after almost a year of ownership with no issues at all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks! That’s very encouraging! I’m keeping my eyes on Carvana and CarMax but like the idea of Carvana. They have a lot of Car2 Go packages. Apparently that was a rental service in Seattle? They used tu use Smarts? Seems like they are all white though😕
 

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Thanks! That’s very encouraging! I’m keeping my eyes on Carvana and CarMax but like the idea of Carvana. They have a lot of Car2 Go packages. Apparently that was a rental service in Seattle? They used tu use Smarts? Seems like they are all white though😕
I’d be careful with a retired fleet vehicle, you never know how people drove it when they rented it. In terms of color you can always get a wrap done if ya don’t like it how you buy it. I got mine wrapped for pretty cheap because of how small the car is, and it completely transformed the car
 

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My recommendation would be for a 453. Had a 2013 451 and enjoyed it but like my 2016 turbo ICE MUCH better. Be 5 years this Dec. Beyond the preference some have for the 451 style, in my opinion the 453 is better in every way. The 453s have been in the U.S. for 5+ years and so far no major issues have shown up in unacceptable numbers. Price will be higher though.
 

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Also if you do end up going through carvana, shoot me a DM and I can give you a referral code for $500 off from one of the cards they gave me when I got my car, I think they’re good till December
 

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Thanks! That’s very encouraging! I’m keeping my eyes on Carvana and CarMax but like the idea of Carvana. They have a lot of Car2 Go packages. Apparently that was a rental service in Seattle? They used tu use Smarts? Seems like they are all white though😕
Definitely easy to change the color. Wraps are great and paint is just as easy. But paint is permanent.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
My recommendation would be for a 453. Had a 2013 451 and enjoyed it but like my 2016 turbo ICE MUCH better. Be 5 years this Dec. Beyond the preference some have for the 451 style, in my opinion the 453 is better in every way. The 453s have been in the U.S. for 5+ years and so far no major issues have shown up in unacceptable numbers. Price will be higher though.
Thanks for the advice! I’m still learning! I’m not familiar with the 453, 451 etc terms. What years are the 453’s?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Definitely easy to change the color. Wraps are great and paint is just as easy. But paint is permanent.
That is a good idea. White seems to be the dominant color for sale. My Prius C is orange so I obviously like color! is painting more expensive than wrapping?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I’d be careful with a retired fleet vehicle, you never know how people drove it when they rented it. In terms of color you can always get a wrap done if ya don’t like it how you buy it. I got mine wrapped for pretty cheap because of how small the car is, and it completely transformed the car
Oh ok! Funny... I always assumed fleet vehicles would be better maintained! I never thought of the driving habits.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Also if you do end up going through carvana, shoot me a DM and I can give you a referral code for $500 off from one of the cards they gave me when I got my car, I think they’re good till December
Wow! Thanks. That’s great. So glad I joined this site. I’m getting great advice.
 

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Thanks for the advice! I’m still learning! I’m not familiar with the 453, 451 etc terms. What years are the 453’s?
In the U.S. we only got the 2016 and 2017 gas versions. After that the gassers were dropped and only the electric versions were imported until the mothership dropped the smart in the U.S. and Canada altogether.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
In the U.S. we only got the 2016 and 2017 gas versions. After that the gassers were dropped and only the electric versions were imported until the mothership dropped the smart in the U.S. and Canada altogether.
ok... thanks. I’ll look out for a 2016 or 17. There’s one I like on Vroom but feel more comfortable with Carvana or CarMax. Guess I need to not be picky on color at this point. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of choices out there! Are they hard to find?
 
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