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Discussion Starter #1
Hi, I just joined and wanted to get your gals/guys take on the matter...

I'm looking at possibly getting a new car in the next few months and I am considering a used Smart Car as one of the choices. It will be a completely different pace as I am currently driving a 450whp Mustang Cobra. I probably would keep the Mustang but being in Cali there seems to be a cop on every block just waiting to milk the taxpayers for all they got, and it's certainly not easy to keep my foot out of the throttle! I'm also a student so the last thing I need is a speeding ticket or something along those lines. I do a TON of freeway driving and most the reviews I've seen say the Smart Car is more of a city type car which seems to make sense with having such a short wheel base and not the best coefficient of drag. I too make the occasional Vegas trip, for the typical reasons (gambling addiction, hookers, binge drinking, and other activities which I should probably not mention), in which 80mph is not out of the question, and perhaps is rather slow compared to most of the vehicles on that long stretch of beautiful scenery.

Anyways, I apologize for the long read. Here's what I am after... I'm also considering one of the new 2011-2012 cars like the Focus, Elantra, and or the Cruze. The mileage is about the same as a Smart Car but they do not require the Premium fuel. They too have at least double the HP, luggage room is probably tripled, and lastly they seat 4 which is kind of nice.The only reason I'm considering a Smart Car is because I think it would bring me enjoyment to drive as I would think I was in a grown ups Go- Kart! It also would be nice if I was planning on doing some parking lot racing with a couple buddies which I convince to get Smart Cars as well. In all seriousness a used Passion could probably be had for just above $10k which is about half that of one of the new 2011-2012's I mentioned earlier.

Obviously, I'm on a Smart Car website so the results should be swayed but here's my response... I'm just asking you to be honest! Would a Smart Car (Passion) be a good car for someone who does a lot of freeway driving (100+ miles a week) and is in college. Yes, I'm aware I can only give rides to one beautiful babe at a time, but I need to cut some of them out anyways because their affecting my GPA...

Thank you, to those of you who read my entire post!
No thank you to the people who did not read it, and then chose to give advice on something I did not ask about!
 

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The only reason I'm considering a Smart Car is because I think it would bring me enjoyment to drive as I would think I was in a grown ups Go- Kart!
Don't get the Smart if that is your reasoning, You won't be happy, you say your a student and don't need no speeding tickets, so thats telling me your on a fixed income, I say keep your money in your pocket and keep a light foot on the pedal in your 450 hp Cobra...
 

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Welcome to SCoA!

Greetings and Salutations:wave:

We are glad you came here to ask your questions.

Below are a few links; see of they will help with some of your decision making and they make create new questions. This is your thread, so ask and we'll try to help.

http://www.smartcarofamerica.com/forums/f4/iihs-insurance-loss-statistics-2007-2009-cars-34709/

http://www.smartcarofamerica.com/forums/f4/whats-fair-price-2009-smart-convertible-help-35268/

http://www.smartcarofamerica.com/forums/f25/members-advice-buyers-used-2008-smarts-35182/

Let us know what you find as you do your search.
good luck on your search and welcome again!:)
 

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If you do a ton of freeway driving, the smart may not be the best choice. The smart is great around town and tooling along back roads. It would not be my first choice as a highway cruiser. I love my smart, but my wife's next car will likely be a four door with a wheelbase that makes Interstate runs a little more comfortable and we'll start using her car for long trips.
 

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I went from a sporty 2-seater BMW Z4 roadster. For many months I had both cars in the garage and I rarely took the "other car" out. When I did, the feel of the accelerator was nice to revisit. I'm almost always the first one off a stoplight in my smart, easily accelerating to where there's a gap between me and those behind me, but it doesn't compare the feel you get from the heavy horsepower.

But I'm happy with my smart and don't think I'd enjoy having something else anywhere near as much.

The handling is only "go cart" in the sense that it's maneuverable; there's no parking-lot races for me. I avoided an "encounter" with someone making a U-turn right in front of me by not just swerving left to avoid them, but effectively making a left turn on the 5 lanes of pavement (no cars coming the other way, hense the U-turn) and coming back into the proper lane beyond the stopped-dead middle of the road oops driver. My passenger repeated a few times with wide eyes: "I can't believe you just did that."

The maneuverability is superb if you're ever in a situation that needs it.
The driver and passenger room is outrageously large for a small car.
You'll only be able to take one person with you to Vegas at a time.
Highway driving is a breeze as long as you don't have crappy roads.
The short wheelbase makes the smart bounce a bit more than longer cars.
I moved to VA from OR by way of FL in my smart - I loved the experience.

I love my car because it's all the car that I need; I'm not hauling around an extra ton of metal just so I can fantasize about dating twins or get a couple sheets of plywood once or twice in the life of the vehicle. I'd be happy driving the car if it got 30mpg but maybe not so much at 20. Premium fuel isn't really an issue to me if you consider the TOTAL cost of adding premium fuel to the car (miles driven/mpg*cents_per_gallon) is under $500 TOTAL. If you add the $500 to the price of the smart, you have a direct comparison with the other fuel-efficient cars you're considering.

I like the interior of the smart as well - it doesn't feel cheap. I did get the leather seats and was surprised that they didn't seem that much different in comfort compared to my Z4's leathers.

Being able to sit taller is a big plus as well. Rather than having headlights in my face at most stoplights in truck/SUV heavy Oregon, I end up looking across the roofs of most sedans on the road. From the inside, the smart doesn't FEEL small.

Good luck with your decision. I hope you find a car that you still enjoy driving years from now.
 

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Get a good test drive including some freeway time and see if it will work for you. 5 Min is not enough.

For me I have no problem with the speeds. I do have trouble keeping it under 75 on the open freeways so keeping up with the traffic going to Vegas should not be a problem. And you will always know, even though the thing is not aerodynamic, your still getting better mileage on the freeways than all those other cars.

If your just driving around city streets, then you don't get the full advantage of fuel savings.

I will agree however with primostoy, If your in college and money it tight, don't put an extra car payment burden on yourself. 1 car is plenty for a single person, and this is the right situation for a smart as an only car. At least non of your friends are going to ask you to help them move.

Oh and if money is really tight, DO NOT Visit Smart Madness.
 

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Lots of different angles...

Mr. Big,

There are a lot of different aspects of car ownership that you may need to consider:

Financial -
Check with your insurance company to see what your premiums would be. This will be an additional expense if you keep both cars and probably a savings if you migrated to just the smart.
The premium gas is about 10% higher than regular gas...but you are using about 1/2 of what you other car uses. You will save $350 to $700 a year easily.

Fun - yes there will be an excitement for a while with the smart...it definitely provides more smile per mile that other cars. It is also cute... you will attract the attention of others...the ladies will want to talk to you...it is almost a chick magnet (you also get the looks from retirees of both sexes...you can chose who you spend the most time talknig to.)

Saftey - the car is built well...it will give its life to protect you.

More fun - with current promotions you can get a cabrio (aka convertible) at a reasonable cost and all of a sudden that ride to Vegas just got better...even the daily commute got better.

...but test drive one at the dealer...and more than just around the block. The ride is stiff at times, the transmission and you have to get to know each other, and potholes can be painful.

Lots of factors to consider...
 

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In my opinion I wouldn't buy a smart used. You can get a brand new one for about the same price after the rebates and discounts. You could also look at a Yaris hatchback if you want a small fun car that's cheap , similar mpg and reg fuel , space. Toyotas giving free 2 year maintenance also. .. I wouldn't go used on the smart unless it has an extended warranty. Your really just better off to buy a new one , you should go test drive one , I'm sure smart will give a good deal on a new one .
 

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I get a lot of people asking if they should buy a smart and I usually surprise them by saying no. The smart isn't a car you think about and then get, you either NEED one but not sure why or you don't buy one.

The smart doesn't do anything better than other cars available and it's not cheaper than any of the cars that do stuff better.

So, if you didn't immediately have to have a smart the minute you saw one, you shouldn't buy one.
 

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As you gather from the folks who have already posted, the smart is not for everyone. BUT that being said it is a great car and most of us really love it. A lot of used smarts are cars that no longer fit the lifestyle of the owner, like the 2 seats. I have driven my car from Dallas, TX to Tucson, AZ and from CT to Tucson, AZ and my wife and I love the car on the highway. The smart is a lot more comfortable than most 2 seaters and gives a pretty good ride. The EPA estimates for fuel useage on the smart are typically low. The average mpg is supposed to be 36. I have driven my smart 29k miles and my average is 39.6. Go to www.fuelly.com and check out the averages. (the smart in the US has the L3 gas engine). The extra cost of the premium fuel is not much of an issue when you buy it 8 gallons at a time. Insurance cost is low, and parking is in another world. What you can not put a price tag on is the fun of driving this car. Sounds like you have never been in a smart. You truly owe it to yourself to find one to get in and take a drive. To say that you will be amazed is an understatement. As for buying used, smart is offering great deals until the first of the year on the 2010's which would make the price of a new smart close to that of a used one. As for falling sales numbers you see in the press, keep in mind that the sales in 2008 and a lot of 2009 were not new sales, but delivery of vehicles ordered a year or more in advance of production and import to the US. Good luck, and this is the best place for information. Let the fun begin.
 

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No! Unless you do your own maintenance and repair, the Smart can be a very expensive car to own.

On the other hand the car has a bad rap as city car only. Our little Smart is a true Freeway Flyer and runs 80-85 everyday.

It takes a little practice to learn how to get, full, up hill, on ramp speed out of it, but you soon get the knack.

Wife I and are both are high time freeway drivers and ex LA residents. We love our car...:)

BTW. The Vegas run should be a piece of cake with lots of chips saved for another trip. A2Jack.
 

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If you want to be involved in the driving experience and not just point and shoot, the smart is an engaging vehicle. So, if you'd rather go camping than stay in an RV park, then the smart might be your kind of vehicle. Definitely test drive, test drive, test drive to make sure it's right for you. Mine is my 75 mile a day commuter and trip car. My wife and I've done multiple long trips (1,000 - 2,000) miles for a week at a time and always take the smart - the truck only gets 19 MPG so it's not suited for long trips. I'm closing in on 45K miles in a little over 2 years of ownership.

It's easy to work on yourself and I do all my own maintenance since I'm 200 + miles from a dealership. You can get an idea of some of the places I've been and things I've done with the car in my 1 year ownership video:


 

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If you really love how the smart looks then it might be for you. We love our smart. My husband drives the smart 40 miles a day, that's 200 miles a week minimum, all highway/freeway driving. so far he's not made complaints about other drivers treatment of him. I drive it on the freeway as well and have had no problems. The car does well and keeps up with or passes other drivers. Our freeway speed limit is 65mph. Turnpikes in Oklahoma are 75. We've taken it on several long trips without problems from other drivers and have put 30,000 miles on it in 16 months.

As others have said it is usually love at first sight with the smart or not. Take a long test drive and see how it feels to you. If your the typical college student who's broke you may want to train yourself to have a light foot and just keep driving the car you have and save money.
 

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We love just about everything the smart is.BUT we view ours as like an alternative to a motorcycle.I have never owned a motorcycle,but we use ours in the same way-as a fun form of transprtation.All of our miles that we have used it for have been fun,tooling around.I would not personally recommend it for the sole form of transpotation.I would say that if you dont NEED it as something to rely on and to depend upon for necessary travel,then it is the most truely FUN vehicle to go boppin around in as a secondary transportation mode.
 

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I do a TON of highway driving, 450 miles a week in fact. There are certain drawbacks to having the smart as a highway commuter car. You don't have to worry about the transmission because you'll be in 5th gear the entire time, but you will have to deal with terrible wind noise and on very windy days you will be fighting to keep straight.

Driving it around normal roads is fine, but the suspension is very stiff so you will feel and hear potholes. Aside from that you may not be hounded by cops, but be prepared to get a lot of attention from everyone else.
 

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I agree with Evilution, either you already KNOW the car is right for you or you'd probably be better off without it.

It is an acquired taste like Guinness Stout or Marmite. I wouldn't be without either of my smart convertibles.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Well I appreciate all the responses and the honesty. I do love the idea of the Smart Cars, as they are very cute, and I think they would be a breeze to drive around in. Parking too would be awesome! When I mentioned the Cobra earlier, I should have said that I would be selling it in order to get another car. Frankly I just can't have 2 cars at this point time because I'm going to school and I live in an apartment with not a whole lot of parking space. I'm also looking at saving on mileage for a few extra bucks in my bank account.

While I understand that Smart is owned by Mercedes I kind of look at that as a negative... I happen to know Mercedes costs an arm and a leg if you need repair work. How bad is it for the Smart car? Also, how easy is it to access things like oil filter, fuel filter, drain plugs, bulbs, and so on? My family and I are pretty mechanical and generally do all the work on our vehicles so I'm just wondering if specialized tools need be part of the equation in order to do work. On my Cobra, and all my past Mustangs the engine bay is rather large and everything is easily accessible.

Does anyone know what the exact RPM is when cruising at around 65mph? My GF has a VW New Beetle with a 5 Speed and the thing is screaming at 65mph which is neither good for the motor, tranny, or good for gas mileage. I didn't see a Tach on the Smart, but maybe I missed it. I would imagine with the tiny tires and only a 5 speed transmission, it can't be breezing along which would worry me.

While having 4 doors and/or 4 seats is convenient I think I can make 2 of each work. Storage room should be fine so long as I can get my golf clubs in. I have a normal sized golf bag and I go almost weekly with some buddies. Would my buddy's clubs and mine fit in their fine?

Lastly, I've never really followed the Smart company and is there any new engines/trans, AWD models, or body styles coming out that I should wait for? I'm kind of saddened that the Smart doesn't get better mileage being how small it is. While the mileage is certainly on the top of the curve, other cars are achieving the same mileage with a NA gasoline engine with 3 times the power and probably close to double the weight. I think I read that the Diesel engines in Europe get better mileage but for some reason they have not brought them over.

Thanks in advance!
 

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All your basic maintenance is fairly easy. You can change your oil without jacking the car up . Factory calls for 1 year / 10k oil changes. Mobil 1 0w-40 is the recommended oil but there's other brands ect. You can get a tach which also includes a clock , they mount as pods on the dash and are pretty cool looking . They came standard on the brabus model I have though thar was a limited production model for 09. There is a 4 door model coming but can't say how soon just yet or what the final version will be. The full electric smart should be in full production within the upcoming year. I haven't noticed the rpm at 65 but I know it doesn't sound like it's working to hard. There are lots of members who drive a lot of highway miles and have 50k or more , one just turned 100k with no engine problems. I don't golf so someone else will need to answer that question.
 

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The bulbs are pretty easy to change as well. There's no fuel filter to change in the maintenance schedule , it's probally located in the tank like Toyotas . Your plugs get changed at 30 but some switch out to iridium plugs at that time so they don't have to do again in most cases. They are a little tight but most do it themselves. Coolant I believe is changed at 40k , belts at 60k. Brake flush at 20k though a lot of people don't bother with it. Mostly your doing check ups. Service isn't cheap at smart but luckily you can do most of the work yourself. There's also a lot of stuff out there if want to customize your car. Like it's been said , there's plenty of cars that do what the smart does but if you enjoy driving then I think you will like it , you can have fun within legal speed limits and not worry about tickets.
 
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