I have read where the tour was being performed with the european version of the 451 because of the US version not being produced at the time of the start of the tour. There was a post somewhere (maybe another forum) where there were pictures of the actual US version of the 451 on the Smart's production lot at the factory. They were noticable by the amber lense that was on the side of the headlight assembly.
I was told by Jon of Smart Car yesterday in Indianapolis at the road show that these are the same cars we will be getting. Waited just over 2 hours for a 5 minute test drive. They said this is about as long as the line has been anywhere. It could have been the location at the Indy Art Museum, the people in front of us had planned on going to the museum, ended up going for a test drive instead. Also Jon said they would import as many cars as they could sell next year, however he was sorta full of company talking points, but short on specifics.
basically the same cars that we'll be getting! We drove on up to Indy Friday (the road tour doesn't hit Louisville until Sept!) and also waited over 2 hours for a test drive. But I think it was worth the wait - although I would have liked more time to investigate the workings of the cabrio. (Guess I'm just going to have to hit the show again when it comes to town here! )
he may have said "basically". I would have liked to have had more time with the convertible too. i did step aside for 2 cars so i could drive a cabrio, and in 2 hours i was the only one i saw to drive up at the end with the top down. you can lower the top with one push of the button and at any speed, so i just asked, and my co-pilot hit the switch. but we kept the support bars above the windows on so i didn't really get the total effect. it's better than a sunroof, but not quite a true convertible, more like a t-top. when the top was up i did not notice any wind noise at all.
Just finished up my test drive at the invitation only "pre-show" drive test in Denver. Models being tested ARE the new body style and have an added 8" of length. The transmissions available were NOT however what the US vehicles will be distributed with. The reps at the Denver show highly tauted the "new & improved" shifting performance which will reportedly be installed in the US models coming soon.
Road Show drive in Albany...
I inquired about the car I was driving as well and they said it was the 71 HP engine that will be in the US models. I thought the US models had an 86 HP, 1.0 liter, Mitsubishi engine. The cars we drove didn't have the amber side markers that I could notice but I will look again in Cooperstown on Saturday. I hope I can hook up with the motorcading group from Montreal (20+ Smarts enroute to Cooperstown. I'll be looking for them when they travel thru Albany down I-87. Back to my drive today.....it was everything I expected it to be...tight handling characteristics, the 5 speed trans shifted sluggishly as it has already been mentioned and improved upon although I would shift it manually just to be sporting. All in all my experience was good. The car is surely not any rocket but it is not supposed to be and I can understand now that I've driven the car how the gas mileage is only rated at 40. In order to accomplish a full emissions *FTP* (federal test procedure) there are certain aspects of the test requiring a certain acceleration rate in which I could envision having to floor the car to make it up to 55 mph cruising speed in X seconds ( I forget the time spec) That kind of driving is not conducive to good gas mileage for sure. I am betting nearly 50 mpg can be squeezed out of it with proper driving habits. But then there will be the times that one doesn't car about proper driving habits and just wants to have some fun!!!
I actually thought the engines were the other way around, that the tour cars were the European turbos, but maybe I misheard that at the road show. Never the less, the US is getting the 71 hp naturally aspirated engine. And I hope with proper driving habits one may be able to eek out closer to 60 mpg!
Yes, Smart Card, I am hoping for the same thing as well. 40mpg just doesn't seem to get it. I suspect that number is deliberately ultra conservative to eliminate complaints when the heavy footed owners find they can only get 40. Not only that, but I've driven vehicles on a chassis dyno performing the Federal Test Procedure (LA-4) and there are tricks one can use to qualify the vehicle yet there still could be as much as 5mpg difference. It all depends on which side of the trace you cling to on accels and decels. Anyone who has done this will understand what I am saying.
Yes, the public weekend show dates are just that- show up, wait in line, and drive (don't forget your drivers license!). In previous tour stops, I've heard of wait times from 10 min to 2 hours. (I waited about 90 minutes last month in Indy) Enjoy!
The people I spoke to on the road tour said that it was the European models being driven. Some only had Km on the speedometer, some had miles and Km (I kept getting back in line to drive different ones ... I wanted the variety and the route was too darn short!!). Also, they didn't have lockable glove compartments on the tour, and they said that the US models would have the lid, not just the open cave on the dashboard.
I only had to wait 10 mins or so in Philadelphia. You also should get to REALLY drive when your dealers have them. No way am I going to buy my Smart based on the short lived driving experience around a few blocks in the city. Although that was a reasonable introduction. I want some open road to get out on and see what the little bugger will do.