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Early this morning, I went to the smart Road Show in San Diego. From here, it's headed up the West Coast through Orange County, Los Angeles, and points beyond.

I liked this road show much better than the prior one. The venue was centralized and well laid out. Overall, it had a more mature and less theatrical (circus-like) ambience than the prior show I attended. No loud annoying music, no silly drawing boards. The staff were attentive and well-informed about 453 features. Quite an upgrade in professionalism.

I arrived this morning (Sunday) at 9:30 AM. Even though the mall stores weren't open yet, the show was set up and operating. Already there was a constant flow of interested people wanting to test drive the 453. The staff told me that during the day on Saturday, there had been a continual backlog of people all day long, and the feedback had been very positive. They mentioned that several 451 owners had come by, who had never seen the 453, and that they were (unsurprisingly) amazed.

Everyone got a $20 Visa gift card on the spot for test-driving the 453, plus a $500 coupon toward a smart if used within the next six months.

If you have a chance to catch one of the upcoming Road Shows on this tour, I don't think you'll be disappointed.

The Cabrio impressed me. The top is ingenious and seemed very nicely detailed inside and out. It is really a slick piece of equipment and looks terrific in person.



 

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Good to hear that there was a higher level of awareness towards the car. Maybe respect, although slow in coming, is starting to happen as interest builds.
Did you try stowing everything to see how it works and how much space it consumed. Subwoofer there too?
 

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P.S. You'll notice that the side rails were installed when I took these pics, at my request. I wanted to know how the car looks with them left in place, since that's how I'd drive it.

Messing with roof rails is a deterrent, for me, to putting the top down. I'd rather have a 95% convertible with zero hassle. The Cabrio looks excellent even with the rails installed!
 

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Did you try stowing everything to see how it works and how much space it consumed. Subwoofer there too?

Sorry I didn't see your question sooner.

This Cabrio had the subwoofer. To me, it seemed compact, leaving plenty of cargo space but also detachable. If you store the roof rails in the hatch, they only eat up a couple of extra inches of space.

It was very cool how the rear of the Cabrio could be popped up to give a very large loading height. With so many versatile configurations, storage should not be a problem.
 

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According to the current smart USA home page, this is a 5-speed 453 cabrio virtual "test drive":

Filmed in Miami
Two of the locations:
near American Airlines Arena, 2750 D.A. Dorsey Avenue
and North Beach, 7398 Ocean Terrace

In the video, the shifting & steering seem off; car drives very smoothly in first gear and seamlessly shifts from 1st to 2nd gear. Maybe the car was pushed on a motorized flat bed dolly.
 

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That was really cool. At first I didn't realize the VR aspect, until I started moving my iPad around. Wow!!
What do you think... did she actually drive the manual 453 throughout that video? (obviously not through the "short cut" billboards). I first became doubtful at the start of the video when she turned up the music by using the left side of the steering wheel/menu button.
 

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On the current smart USA home page, this video is labeled: "Hop in for a 360° virtual test drive." If the 453 was not actually driven in the video, then smart USA should call this a "virtual view," as it does deliver on that.
 
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