I've been kind of torn on this one. I'm not convinced that the smart really needs power steering (with so little weight over the front wheels). It would be nice to drive with and without for comparison purposes.
But in the end I've decided to order the PS, because that seems to be the "no lose" route (aside from the extra $$).
from what i have heard, the smart doesn't need power steering.
light weight. engine in rear instead of over front turning wheels.
I think the event smarts did not have power steering, and the steering felt fine. i took two test drives in two different smarts, one cabrio with red cloth seats (if it had black leather, it would have had ps), and a blue coupe.
but, i'm not totally sure they did not have ps, so, you cant take my advice as 'your' final answer. keep asking others, if you are unsure, so you will be happy with your order, with or without ps.
I will not order ps, unless i change my mind from pure to cabrio, and also switch from a red or dark gray/black cloth choice to black leather. the latter requiring ps.
im still considering the pure, where the least equip means least weight, least drag on engine, and best mpg.
so, i'm willing to take a chance, and not order ps. I think there is only a 1 in 10 chance, that i will wish I had ordered it, after not ordering it. so, no ps is a safe decision for me.
According to the Smart reps at the test drive in Charlotte, the demo cars did NOT have PS---I asked specifically about it and the rep said most agreed it is not needed. Only advantage are slightly less turns lock-to-lock. Having had a 1600 lbs rear engined car (Fiat 850 conv.) in the past without PS that steered just fine even at low speed, I'd say it's not needed at all.
I drove a Canadian model 450 smart that didn't have power steering and found then it really wasn't needed. At the time, I had already confirmed my reservation with power steering. I had done so for two reasons. 1. Ease of steering in tight quarters (parking lots, etc.) 2. Resale value.
To the best of my knowledge, there is no difference in the steering ratio between non-power steering and power steering cars.