Smart Car of America Forum banner
1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
30 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
All,

I've been looking for a new car, I'm "not in need" of a new car, my existing traditional car is doing well now. Having said that, I put $500 down on a 2013 Smart Passion Coupe yesterday, with it coming in later next week, but I now (perhaps too late) have a few questions (the last one being the most troubling)...

1) I've heard not so favorable reviews of the Smart at "highway speeds". I drive a limited access 65MPH highway every morning at 70-75, but only for 5 miles. My wife & I will likely use this car occasionally for longer runs (to/from the beach, Washington DC - where I-95 has perceived minimum speed of 80) - an hour or two at the most. But, 90% of the travel will be at 60 or less. I don't mind a harsh / stiff ride, but is the car as squirrely as has been reported when simply passed by larger cars (not trucks). Do it really have no acceleration from say 50 to 70? (I've read a lot of comments in the forums where you say it isn't, but read the next before you answer...)

2) My wife & I are large. Lets just say that the 540# rating has us concerned. I can't imagine that the salesman would sell it to us if that was a real safety issue. I've read in the forums where people have had trailers, etc. attached. Again, 90% of the time, it will be just me, and I'm (alone) well below the limit; it's just the 10% of the time when it may be over it (lets say by 100#). Ar we talking Major Structural Problems here, or do I just need to adjust my braking distances?

3) Engine noise / heat. On my test drive, I got the car up to 50mph, and didn't really notice any major noise. Yet again, I'm hearing (no pun) about engine noise / heat issues on a variety of websites and in the forums. Does it get really noisy over 50/60mph? Also, the engine heat is a concern, in that we have cats, and we were thinking that we could put them (in their carriers) in the back. How hot does it get back there with the standard engine covering? I see a mat for $350 being advertised, and I'm concerned I'll need one on Day 1. I also pick up cases of soda (several @ time); I don't want them exploding on me the first time I pick them up!

4 (Real Issue) : Something I just saw on the forums last night - US models can't come with both cruise controls and flappy paddles? I specifically requested one with Cruise Control. I was sitting at the dealership, not online, so I didn't see the note about the flappy paddles until I started looking on the forums last night, and then on the official website. Perhaps the salesman doesn't know it as well, in that he actually said "you'll end up using the shifters to make your ride smoother". Are there local (DE/MD/PA) places that can do a good job of installing an after-marker CC (Area451 or MDC)? Have there been any reported problems with getting warranty work on a car with an after-market cruise control?

Due to the cruise control issue, I'm thinking I need to cancel the order for the one with cruise control., and just get the in-stock one. Or is the issue of using the flappy paddles just a red herring.

I figured that I would post these questions here, since I figure that the car's advocates would be the best place to get *honest* answers about it.
Thanks for your responses and honest advice.

James
 

·
Ex Admin/mod.
Joined
·
9,491 Posts
I've driven the NJ Turnpike DC-NYC-DC several times: no issue there. Neither's the Beltway. Many have driven cross-country on Interstates.

Passing trucks would affect a smart like it would a minivan.

Engine noise's bearable at high speed, as is the wind. Put a double blanket and the pets will be fine. Never heard of exploding sodas or boiled eggs on the engine's lid. :)

OEM cruise would eliminate paddles on the steering wheel, but you can still change gears manually with the stick shift (as in +/-). But it may brush on your right leg?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
30 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I've driven the NJ Turnpike DC-NYC-DC several times: no issue there. Neither's the Beltway. Many have driven cross-country on Interstates.

Passing trucks would affect a smart like it would a minivan.

Engine noise's bearable at high speed, as is the wind. Put a double blanket and the pets will be fine. Never heard of exploding sodas or boiled eggs on the engine's lid. :)

OEM cruise would eliminate paddles on the steering wheel, but you can still change gears manually with the stick shift (as in +/-). But it may brush on your right leg?

JPaul, thank you for your prompt response!

My question with the floor shift vs. paddles - is there any functional difference between the floor shift and the paddles?

I see I can up/down shift using the paddles while I'm in D (drive). Does doing that take it from D to M (1-5), and leave it there, or does it go back to D mode once I shift back to the original gear (e.g. I'm on a hill highway entry, I kick it down from 5 to 4 to get the speed up, and then kick it back up to 5 once I'm at speed. Am I back in D, or am I still in M/5 ?

Can I really shift (on the shifter) from D to M and back while moving? Does it automatically find the appropriate gear (lets say I'm in 4th, and I push the stick over to D, does it upshift? Does it "like" doing this (am I playing with fire here), or should *I* shift it into 5 before moving it back to D.

Again, I'm not a modder, I'm getting on in age, and would rather just leave it in D all of the time (hence the cruise control). I am figuring that I'd use the paddles / stick only when necessary, but it seems (too much)? that it may be more necessary than I thought?

(Don't get me wrong, I might be 50 soon, but I'm also not dead :) )

James
 

·
Ex Admin/mod.
Joined
·
9,491 Posts
In short: no difference between the paddles and the stick shift:

Click any paddle and it'll go in M in the appropriate gear; the right paddle goes up, the left paddle goes down. Hold the right paddle 2 seconds and it goes back in D.

Push the stick shift to the left and it'll go in M in the appropriate gear. Push it forward to go up, backward to go back (+/-). Push it to the right and it goes back to D.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
30 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
CC follow-up question

First, thanks to JPaul, he has given me some insight, and I've already requested installation information from the Germantown MD sc center.

Does anyone else out there know of an installer of the MDC Cruise Control, perhaps this side of WDC / BWI / PHL? Yeah, I know, I live in the great wasteland of DE, sorry...

If not a true installation shop, is there anyone on the forums who lives in the area, has done one, and wouldn't mind supervising a newbie do his own for the price of gas, beer & pizza? :)

Thanks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
168 Posts
JPaul pretty much covered your questions, but to add to the stability information:

My first road trip in Coco was Richmond to Raleigh/Durham area on "Sandy" weekend. Running with traffic @ 80-85 and "interesting" wind gusts of 35+, I was never uncomfortable. Yes, the car did move around a bit, but never out of lane or even close. Coco faired better than the minivan I followed for some miles (now THAT was scary).

Two additional notes:

I have fitted 185/55 tires at all four corners (some say this amplifies instability and sensitivity to crosswinds)

Get the paddles and look into "Boeschbilt" billet paddles

p.s. 50 isn't "Old" - I'm 66 and ...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
518 Posts
i found that sometimes you really cant use the paddle shifter while in the shift mode....
like on a turn and its easier to shift from the floor cause the steering wheel is moving....

you can get an add on cruise control from a vendor on this site...and have the paddles and the cruise control.....

i just got a 2008 passion with 1200 miles....and live in a very windy area...highway travel with wind the car is ok...i was really surprised.......

but my first tank of gas......my mileage was at 48 mpg 396 miles....little over 8 gallons......this car is awesome....

my biggest problem with it so far....and i have not searched..will do in a bit....is that the recirculating button does not stay on....every time you turn the ac on...and you forget the car does not get that cool...and then i see why...hit that button....and all is well.....it should always stay depressed....so for me ac on hit the recirc button too...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,588 Posts
J. Car will easily handle your weight requirements. Lots of large people drive the Smart.

Verify the paddle issue, although you can just buy the car with the paddles and get a cruse control aftermarket that is compatible with the factory paddles. Many on this list have done so and are very happy with the performance.

We often drive our Smart at Highway speeds approaching 85 and occasionally 90, the car handles well at those speeds but the steering is quick and needs getting used to.

Low cabin noise from the engine is a plus for this car, you will have some air noise from drivers rear window.

Heavy wind gusts will move you around but still less than a van.

The main downside for us is the rough ride and some improvement can be had with bigger tires, as others have mentioned.

I would go with the factory paddles given the choice. Good luck and welcome to the Forum. A2Jack.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
30 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thank You All!

All,

Thank you all for your advice.

I emailed the salesperson and asked if I could get the non-factory-cruise-control model (he had one on the lot) instead of waiting for the one to ship cross-country, and he said yes.

So, tomorrow, I will be a smartcar owner.

Thanks again.

James
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
11,310 Posts
I believe I have stretched the weight limit a few times with no problems. A little slower throttle response, and a little less pep on the hills, but you should be OK. I am 6'5, and lets just say I am pushing maximum density...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
287 Posts
j

Understand that when you get the cruise control from the factory, You also get a few more more capabilities within the small screen in the instrument cluster. These include more detailed trip odometer (mile, time, mpg) and easier setting/resetting of the clock and maintenance reminder. Not a big thing, but it is a freebie with the cruise control. It uses the cruise control buttons to go through the menus...that is why it is not available without cruise control.

Also, if the only reason you want the paddles is an occasional downshift, you can also downshift by pressing the accelerator to the floor like most cars with an automatic transmission.

The after market cruise controls are a bit more expensive than the factory one...and you can get a lot of trip information from an add on GPS.

So...think about all of your options before you head to the dealer today.

Dave
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
11,310 Posts
Few people use the paddles all the time. I doubt that I have used the manual shift (although mine is on the floor) more than a dozen times over the last 4 years and 87,000 miles. That being said, I use the AreA451 cruise every day!! I also added a ScangaugeII to keep track of miles driven, max min speeds, engine temps etc. and that I do like.

Put it in drive and let the computer worry about the shifting!

** cruise was not available in 2009, and Pure models do not have the paddles for shifting**
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,471 Posts
Few people use the paddles all the time. I doubt that I have used the manual shift (although mine is on the floor) more than a dozen times over the last 4 years and 87,000 miles. That being said, I use the AreA451 cruise every day!! I also added a ScangaugeII to keep track of miles driven, max min speeds, engine temps etc. and that I do like.

Put it in drive and let the computer worry about the shifting!

** cruise was not available in 2009, and Pure models do not have the paddles for shifting**
I only use the paddles in the city when the computer really doesn't know what to do in many cases :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,588 Posts
Few people use the paddles all the time. I doubt that I have used the manual shift (although mine is on the floor) more than a dozen times over the last 4 years and 87,000 miles. That being said, I use the AreA451 cruise every day!! I also added a ScangaugeII to keep track of miles driven, max min speeds, engine temps etc. and that I do like.

Put it in drive and let the computer worry about the shifting!

** cruise was not available in 2009, and Pure models do not have the paddles for shifting**
Not So. :p Many people on this forum would "Not leave Home" with out the paddles. :D

The Smart trans, panned by automotive writers across the country, delivers a very unsatisfying driving experience when in "D". It's constant shifting into higher gears while in the city destroys much of the natural agility this little car has.

We run in 3rd and 4th most of the time under 45 MPH. The Paddles make the car really fun to drive. A2Jack
 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
Top