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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,
My name is Rohn and I just joined this forum. I'm purchasing a 2009 Passion from my father who lives in Florida. I've been wanting to get this car from him for a year now and I am finally able to do it! On July 25th, I am flying to Florida to take delivery and driving the car back to Michigan with my daughter.

I'd like to hear from others on the forum about their driving experiences. Has anyone else done a North/South cross country trip? If so, do you have any tips for the road?

I purchased a spare tire and wheel from Smart Car Madness out of California and had it delivered to Florida already. I'm picking up a scissor jack and wrench while I'm in Florida before we start driving back. We are taking a route through Alabama mainly because I haven't seen much of that state and I really don't like driving through Atlanta, GA.

Anywho, thanks for reading my brief intro! I look forward to hearing from others on the forum.
 

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Welcome to SCoA! Many of us have driven these cars all over the country, including trips to Canada. Need to ensure the car is in good mechanical shape and the A/C is working well. Other than that, pack some snacks and enjoy the trip. A bunch of us did a run from the Midwest to Key West a few years ago, Florida is a long state! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hi jwight. Thanks for your encouragement. I'm planning on driving 400-450 miles each day spread over three days. How does the Smart handle on the highway at higher speeds? I've read they get a little "light and loose" around 70 mph but I was planning on taking it easier and driving around 60-65. No need to rush through scenery!
 

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Snowball, you will get bounced around driving on the interstate, especially when bigger vehicles pass you, or you pass one of them. Another important thing, the safety warning on the passenger side rearview mirror needs to be corrected... it should read, Objects in mirror ARE bigger than you!
I have done 75 many times FL to Cincy, and always drove straight thru hotlanta with no problems... but it is a good idea to avoid rush hour.
Paddle shifting is best for acceleration, auto is more sluggish. 40 mpg should be your average. Travel lite, and take a couple of pillows. You will be tailgated at times....
don't worry, they are just jealous! Have fun and enjoy!
 

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They do move around a bit near larger vehicles or if it's windy - no worse than a minivan. The trick is to keep a light grip on the wheel - don't try and fight the car. It may seem like it's moving a lot but if you watch, it's staying well within its lane.

One more thing - make sure the tire pressures are at the factory recommended settings (per the door jamb sticker.) :)
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the feedback gentlemen. I've driven it around town on Interstate 19 in Florida and was able to get up to speed. The car handled great and a bit of "pep" to it once you got going. I was concerned a bit about the lag between shifts at first. That's when I started using the paddle shifter and found it to be more responsive.
These cars are not drag racers and I don't intend to drive it like one. It's just nice knowing they can get up and out of the way when required to do so. I remember getting a lot of looks driving the little car around! Especially from the folks that drive around in the F250's and other big trucks.

Did any of you carry a spare tire with you on your trips? I have one and planned on just putting it in the back. I'm not too worried about having space, but it would be nice to get a hitch mounted tire carrier. I really doubt however that I will have much use for the spare once the trip it completed. Always nice to have on hand though.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Yeah, I think it'll be a nice piece of insurance to have on hand. I doubt a light car like these will ever have a blowout, probably more like a slow leak. In any case, I'll feel better with it as I have my youngest daughter along with me for the trip.
 

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IMHO-



Best solution to getting blown around on the highway - a pair of rear wheels/tires on the front. Makes a big difference.


See the 'I can rotate my tires' thread.
 

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The main thing I feel is that you already are familiar with the car. Paddle shifting and all. So when needing to pass at speed or power is fading when climbing a hill, down shift to 4th gear and the pep is back. Once you have made the pass or topped the hill back to 5th then back to "D". I had wide low profile tires on mine for a while and felt no wind shear at all around trucks. The windiest days push the car around but that is just a tougher driving day. I now have a slightly taller sidewall on the rear and do feel a bit more movement back there, nothing unnerving just more than with the low profiles back there.

I run a lot of long trips...... Check and or change oil. top off washer fluid and antifreeze. have a daul cig lighter usb charger ( one slot for you one for your daughter). get an AUX Jack so you can play music from you or your daughters phone if the smart is not equipped with a blue tooth radio. Print out the route you intend to take as in the course of your trip you will lose phone service from time to time. and while searching for network you may lose navigation source.

A large can of fix a flat could be useful if you needed to move the car a little to somewhere to put on your spare.

**In reference to the spare**** Have your farther insure that the lug bolts are not too tight for you to get them off with a lug wrench if you intend to change the tire in a jam. Frozen lug nuts make a spare useless.

You have five days to go so search the forum regarding lubing the Chassis and Pivot points of your Smart. I swear by it convince Dad to do it..

On the road cruise along at a speed that you find comfortable then find an SUV that is running about the same pace or a little faster and tuck in behind them. The more square the back of the roof line is. the more wind it blocks. It will make the drive quieter and better gas millage running behind them as you have less head wind to push through. Nascar Race cars call it drafting. I actually sit as high as most small SUVs and at 6'2" I can see the car in front of them pretty easy. My favorite SUV to follow are Suburbans and Durangos, But most of then have limo black rear windows so seeing the brake lights in front of them is a little harder. I fill up the gas tank at three bars left. If I am driving with 2 bars showing, I am very unhappy with myself. As a young man I ran out of gas many times, I shouldn't be this old and still that reckless.


Again You Know the car and also Love the car Already, the car will be happy with you.

Waze Navigation is what I use most of the time I recently installed the Smart Highline stereo with navigation unlike Waze it does not announce road hazards. Waze announces POT HOLES try to miss every one of them. The US highway system is in bad shape right now and cracks, expansion joints steel plates and pot holes are all deadly enemies to our Smarts.

Hotwire dot com is my go to for last minute lodging. But also when you gas up near that 400 mile end of the run mark get one of the hotel coupon books for nearby motels.

So ease your Smart car home, on the highway its just a normal riding car.

Enjoy your drive and take photos.
 

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Keep us posted on your trip progress.
Where are you starting from? I am near I-75 exit 224. If that works for a gas stop, maybe we could do coffee there!
 

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Keep us posted on your trip progress.
Where are you starting from? I am near I-75 exit 224. If that works for a gas stop, maybe we could do coffee there!
dhlairbusb4, whereabouts are you near I-75 at exit 224? I live just off I-75 at exit 220. Maybe we could meet sometime for lunch in the area. I have a 2016 Edition 1 smart car.
 

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Golfboy
Mine is an 09 cabrio, black & white. Probably not as nice as yours... think you can hang with something that old?
PM me, and lets talk.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Wow, thanks for all of your feedback, I really appreciate it.
Dad just had it serviced at the dealer he bought it from in the Tampa area. It's not a Smart dealer but they service all makes and models. He assured me they are very familiar with the Smart cars.
I am a bit familiar with the car. I've driven it around town in Florida when I've gone down for a visit last year. I'm not real familiar with the shift paddles, but I think I can figure them out. I've tried them a couple of times but not much.
The car is the Passion model so it does have the AUX port in the glove box. My daughter will appreciate that! We will have a GPS with us. I'm taking my Garmin down with me and I have the cord that allows for traffic info, speed traps, etc. I believe it uses the Waze network for the info it displays. Otherwise, I have my phone.
For hotels, I am planning on reserving a couple ahead of time. I'm an IHG member and get discounts at Holiday Inn Express hotels. Others as well but the Expresses are my go to.
The other thing I bought is a camera that will go on the windshield to record video of our trip. I probably won't have the entire trip on it, but enough to watch sometime.

Thanks again twcom!
 

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dhlairbusb4 and golfboy,
I was looking at taking 19 up the Gulf coast. Going the 75 route may make sense too. It would be a little quicker than going up 19 for sure. I'll let you know what I decide and maybe the three of us can stop and have a coffee.
 

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Garmin is not tied into Waze as far as I know (since Google owns Waze now....)
You will get traffic alerts but to get any red light camera or "enforcement zone" info you'll need to download additional POIs from someplace like the POI Factory online. :)
 

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Snowball, if your starting at the Tampa area, then you are already north of my location. Maybe I could drive up and meet some place, and if Golfboy could join us, and anyone else who is in the area... we could call it a Convention!!!
Anybody else want to join in... ?
 

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Snowball, if your starting at the Tampa area, then you are already north of my location. Maybe I could drive up and meet some place, and if Golfboy could join us, and anyone else who is in the area... we could call it a Convention!!!
Anybody else want to join in... ?
I'm afraid I must politely decline. Not snobbish or anything, just don't get to hang with the old man very often and we have the timing to worry about.

I'm starting out from New Port Richey. I appreciate the responses of you guys getting together. I'm only going to be in Florida for one day visiting my dad and preparing for the journey. I am under tight timing as I have to be back home in Michigan by Sunday afternoon. We're planning on making a few stops along the way to "see the sights" but not staying long in any one location. I'll post more of the trip under a separate posting.
 
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