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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
My wife and I drove three different cars at the Bloomfield Michigan "invite"
tour. We also were able to talk to ,two Smart car corp people and ask a number of questions about the cars. Here is what we learned.
(All tour cars are the 07 Euro model).

Sitting in the car the first thing that hits you is the unexpected spacious cabin. Lots and lots of room. Next, the high quality of the fit and finish.

On start up, the exhaust note sounds like a small British sports car (love it).
The car handles well and has quick steering with great brakes.

The transmission is quirky. and in my opinon, needs to be re-programed to better fit the USA aggressive driving style (My wife and I both found what Microsoft would call a "Fatal flaw"). When floored to merge into fast moving traffic the engine wound out and did not want to shift quickly into a a higher gear. Decreasing the power caused the trans to momentarily go up a grear, then, all by it's self, drop down to a low gear leaving the driver, high and dry, out front of oncoming traffic. I was able to make the next car do the same thing as a test. Three cars in all and driven with the trans in the automatic mode.

More info on the questions asked the Smart corp people next post. I think this post is about to time out. A2Jack.
 

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welcome to the smart car..:D

all that you describe is perfectly normal for a smart car, if you want a more "normal" car buy a toyota...
The shifting gets better if you do it manually...in reality the new version is a lot better that the older 6 speed trans...:eek:
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Tricky trans fools uninformed driver.

Smartmx.

I agree the car is what it is, and had I known before I drove it, I would never have reduced power until it shifted. The 2nd time it did it's trick, I was ready for it.

As for if I wanted a more "normal" car, buy a Toyota... No we love little cars and we just want Smart to fix this USA model before the lawsuits start.

The first little old lady that goes up the Pasadina freeway on ramp, hesitates, the trans downshifts, and she gets hit by that SUV (the one we have all been warned about). That will be begining of the end for Smart, as it was for the Corviar.

The Smart will be purchased by many different drivers with different driving skills. That was the problem with the Corviar. As long as the "boy racers" had them, no problems. As soon as the general public got them, we started scraping them off tunnel walls and pulling them out of canyons. ( As a young man, I was on a crash truck crew in LA).

I wish the best for Smart and will probably still buy one. A Smart VP assured my wife they are aware of the problem, and it will be fixed on 2008s. We shall see.

A2jack
 

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Hi a2jack
I know most Americans would consider that a problem, but the car has been in the market for 9 years and people have learned to drive it, I do not see how the US can be so different, or is it that in other countries they are better drivers :confused:
To me that fix is part of what makes smart unique, I have had mine for 2 1/2 years and no problems and the new one I drove actually is improved over the 6 speed trans.. I guess that's as good as it gets :D
And yes you do see for2's in the autobahn..
 

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I'm afraid I have to agree with "a2jack" on the lawsuit thing. Yes, they have been in the market for 9 years abroad, but not here in the US. Let the first few people get hit or killed due to transmission lag or issues and the lawsuits will definitely start. I remember Pontiac getting sued over making the Trans Am too fast of a car because of so many deaths due to kids racing them. I don't recall the outcome of the lawsuit (so long ago), but just the fact that the lawsuits will happen would put a damper on the Smart sales and bring bad publicity that I sure don't want to see happen to the Smart. JMO.
 

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Transmission from Getrag

On the new smart all engines are combined with an automated manual five-speed transmission from Getrag, replacing the previous laborious six-speed mode.

Getrag Corporate Group is the systems supplier and integration partner for transmission and drive train systems. They are the largest independent manufacturer of transmissions in the world.

The earlier Smart Fortwo was disapproved by many because of its lengthy gear change. The new drive engineering provides for a more agility and smoother driving experience. Smart says that despite the extra power, fuel consumption ranges are better.

So if you are unsatisfied with this setup you would have been truly disappointed with the older version. If in fact the car you drove had the new transmission from Getrag. I suggest you find a gray market dealer and try a test drive to see how the older transmission performs?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I'm not the enemy.

SmartAmerica.

I too love the little Smart car. I feel you are speaking from your heart.

IMO the trans, as it is now set up, is an accident waiting to happen to an unsuspecting driver.

As per my previous posts, I drove two cars 2007s. All had Michigan MFG plates.I was told these were Euro Model cars used for the whole tour.

I drove two cars, my wife one. She arrived at the show long after I left and I didn't talk to her until she arrived home. Yet she related the very same experiance I had, dumped out in front of oncoming traffic when the trans shifted down with no driver input.

This country lives for it's lawsuits. All I'm doing here is giving a "Heads Up" to Smart car corp, and those of us who will be buying them.

A2jack.
 

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re: the passing. .. dude, it's a 3-BANGER :D it's not passin' ANYTHING!


I like all the other things you said about the appointments, that's my main concern over power, is a nice & comfortable but compliant ride.

. ..but yeah, bro, no passing in this car, please, it almost defeats the purpose of actually buying it.

But I see what you mean: some urban areas that they are targeting for its use, (NY, SF, Chicago, big citites) require a certain getup& go, or ur toast. That would suck
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Not Passing, but Merging.

JEDI2.1

It was not the get up and go that gave us grief, the problem was it wouldn't keep going !!!

The Smart is a quick little car with superb handling and lots of power. The unexpected down shift was a surprise and a dangerous flaw.

We have had lots of low HP cars and lived in LA. We do know how to run little cars in fast traffic. (Honda 600cc, Subaru 360cc, a couple of VW Bugs, 36hp and 40hp Micro buss. My everyday driver is a 1.3L Festiva.

The set up here was this: drive across the parking lot, out a short driveway into fast moving traffic.

The posted speed limit was 50, and as is typical in Michigan, the traffic was moving much faster. We got it on, halfway made the merg, reduced power a bit to let the trans shift and there we were... Dead in the water.

Being able to really run these cars was a real eye opener. Although the rides were short, I at least had a chance to test how it performed in real city use.

All you Smarties who are yet to take your test drive, when you do drive it give it a real work out, dont just chug around the block. If you find something you're not sure about; have guts, and get back in line and drive it again.

A2jack
I do hope Smart Corp is reading the forums
 

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I have to agree with a2jack. I drove the car twice at each of the Albuquerque and Denver street smart events. In Albuquerque I drove in fully automatic (softouch) mode, and the transmission was downright quirky; I too lifted in anticipation of an upshift and suffered the "dead in the water" syndrome. Also, it seemed to "push" when slowing for a corner, i.e. it didn't downshift and the engine felt like it was trying to override the brakes.

In Denver I drove in clutchless manual (softip) mode, and the thing was an absolute blast. It was quick, responsive and totally fun; downshifting for corners with the paddle shifter was especially rewarding - made me feel like Michael Schumacher (minus the huge G-forces and vast fortune).

The street smart crew (who incidently were excellent - very informative and enthusiastic), were telling folks in Denver that the automatic shifter would be "reprogrammed" for the US market. Personally I'm skeptical that this will fix the problem (although perhaps a tacit acknowledgment that one exists); it seems more deeply rooted in the core of the transmission's logic. I do think that as things stand it's a potentially dangerous fault and there will be lawsuits...

In closing, I would hate for anything said above to put a person off the car. Personally I found the rest of the vehicle to absolutely brilliant, both in concept and execution, and in softip mode the transmission works just fine. You really need to test drive it for yourself (unless you're ahead of me on the waiting list, in which case you should cancel immediately :)).
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Delivery delay of 2008s ?

Micronut.

Yes, I agree, the problem may be deep in the trans logic And I too have doubts Smart will able to fix it with a reprogram.

I assume they (Smart) are aware of this unexpected down shift trap, although up till now, all we heard about was the slow shifting of the Getrag trans.

IMO the outcome of this will either be a hold up on delivery while they fix it, or recalls if they just push them out the door. The third outcome, that I hate to even think about, are crashs and lawsuits.

Yesterdays NY Times had a peice about Johnson and Johnson suing The Red Cross over the use of the red cross logo. J+J clams they own it. It seems
Lawsuits in the U.S have more to do with "deep pockets" than with merit.
MB and Penske have mighty deep pockets.

Let's hope they fix this this XXX trans before they ship it.

BTW, is that a little Messerschmidt as your avatar ? :)

A2jack
 

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A fourth option would be to ship cars without the softouch option, and make everyone who insists on a full automatic go to the back of the line :)! Just dreaming....

The avatar is a BMW Isetta, "the ultimate driving machine" circa 1957...
 

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Here's a messerscmitt:-----------------------------------------------------------------And the BMW Isetta--------------------------------------------And guess what:
-------
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Discussion Starter #14
I'll take one of each.

lhoboy.

Great pix. Thanks.

Back in the day, I came out the door of my apt in LA just as a guy drove up and got out of an Isetta. (As I now know). I couldn't beleive it when he opened the front end, the steering column swung aside and he stepped out. What a neat little car!

Micronut. do you have an Isetta? What year etc?

We had a 1969 Subaru 360 4door. My wife and I loved it. As a kid I worked on my dad's old outboard motors, so I had no trouble keeping it tuned:D

A2jack
 

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Isetta 300

Here’s a sea-story - “Now, this ain’t no ….!” etc. Anyway, back in the early ‘60s a friend acquired an Isetta 300 (as in 300cc engine). It ran and worked very well, though not that appropriate on Rt. 9 or Rt. 128 in Eastern Massachusetts. The only problem that he (we) had with it was the time when he tried the “bow-in” parking maneuver, and he ran hard against the curb. We tripped and rotated 90-degrees forward and came to rest flat against the (only opening) front door. Two bozos in an egg trying to rock it onto its side from inside, and attracting a large audience that that included a Natick cop. A ticket was issued; I wasn’t driving. This same progressive owner also came across a Messerschmitt, but never got it on the road.

For those of us long-in-the-tooth (and long-in-the-belt) may remember that in some contest promoted by Dick Clark and “American Bandstand,” the prize was a new Isetta 300.

It is too bad that the micro-car ethos (option) died out over that last 40-some years.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Great story.

Fishrdnc.

Micro cars are great fun. There are a couple of large Micro Car clubs online So they are still alive and well. Many have Smartie members.

Our love of Micro cars is the main reason we are buying our Yellow and black Passion.

I would enjoy seeing a batch of the new Kei cars hit the market here. We would buy one of those too. (They top out at 660cc).

I still have questions on the new trans that won't be answered until we drive the 2008 USA model, and so far the word is we will not be able to opt out of the auto option (softouch).

Best Regards
A2jack.
 

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Mitsubishi Engine

An interesting tidbit of info that has made it onto the internet (and originating with one of the folks from the PR firm hired by PAG to conduct the road shows) is that the 2007+ engine is a Mitsubishi design, but built in France. No idea if that means if the engine is entirely
 

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Hooked on Micro Cars

I don't own the Isetta in the picture any more, but I have many fond memories. One thing I learned early on was to make sure the (front) door was properly latched. If not, when you hit the brakes the door would fly open taking you and the steering wheel with it....

Micro cars I currently own are a Moretti 500 and a Steyr-Puch Haflinger. Once I figure out how, I'll post some pictures.

I'd like to say that my desire to own a smart is driven by something noble like concern for the environment, but truth is I just love tiny cars. The thought of finally owning one that I can drive on a daily basis is driving me nuts with anticipation!
 

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An interesting tidbit of info that has made it onto the internet (and originating with one of the folks from the PR firm hired by PAG to conduct the road shows) is that the 2007+ engine is a Mitsubishi design, but built in France. No idea if that means if the engine is entirely “produced” there (casting, machining, et al), or “assembled” there from Japan sourced parts. And if whatever is true, I wonder if there would be any noticeable difference in quality control between the French and Japanese assembly lines.
Mixing and matching is pretty typical. From'02-'06 the MINI was using a Brazilian Chrysler engine. Now it's using a French Citroen or Peugot.

At least the Mitsu engine is still in the MB family. Chrysler was never in the BMW family (I'm not certain about Citroen or Peugot).
 
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