Smart Car of America Forum banner

1 - 20 of 61 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi,

Recently leased a Smart 453 Passion, it's pretty good at city driving but when I get to the Freeway and start cruising at more than 70mph, the car feels unstable, and it feels like the car handling is at its worst.

Anybody else feels this way?

Btw, I will be lowering the car with Madness springs, hopefully, I will get better handling after the install.
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
17,478 Posts
I've never noticed anything, and I peg mine at the speed limiter on the regular. That said, I do have the Sport Package. What wheels and tyres do you have?

And welcome!!! :)
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,297 Posts
Hi,

Recently leased a Smart 453 Passion, it's pretty good at city driving but when I get to the Freeway and start cruising at more than 70mph, the car feels unstable, and it feels like the car handling is at its worst.

Anybody else feels this way?

Btw, I will be lowering the car with Madness springs, hopefully, I will get better handling after the install.
Visit your local dealer and have them look into it. Otherwise, it might just be your opinion and might take you some time to adjust to the tiny dimensions and short wheelbase. The smart 453 is improved over its 451 predecessor which regularly suffered from what you complained about particularly from new smart car drivers. Seasoned folks realized though that most of the complaints were imagined, not realizing that the car is naturally twitchy with its handling which can be intimidating to some drivers. :)
 

·
DrKillerBee
Joined
·
1,488 Posts
Skinny front tires, wind, short wheelbase, and uneven surfaces don't make for an uneventful highway experience. Getting wheels and tires the size of the rear wheels and tires will help a lot especially in the wind.

edit.....This applies to the 451 but not necessarily to the 453.
 

·
Premium Member
MY08 cabrio MY09 cabrio Brabus MY15 ED
Joined
·
7,762 Posts
Skinny front tires, wind, short wheelbase, and uneven surfaces don't make for an uneventful highway experience. Getting wheels and tires the size of the rear wheels and tires will help a lot especially in the wind.
451 4-square logic may not transfer to the 453 as the suspension is totally different?

The 453 loaner I had was put through the paces from city streets to highway "limits" and it felt much more stable than a 451 with the OEM stagger? My suggestion on getting rears for the front - proceed with caution.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,580 Posts
Skinny front tires, wind, short wheelbase, and uneven surfaces don't make for an uneventful highway experience. Getting wheels and tires the size of the rear wheels and tires will help a lot especially in the wind.
Not really the case with the standard 453. Of course a suspension tweak and slightly larger tires does improve handling on the 453 even more.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
907 Posts
Goes right back to the original intended use of the car and its design.
It was designed as a two seated European City Car with a 6 foot wheelbase that was capable of highway speeds. If you look around Europe you find small cars and SCOOTERS everywhere very few Harleys or Cadillacs.
I don't believe the smart fortwo was ever thought of or designed as a turnpike or autobahn cruiser.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,199 Posts
Which is stupid in my, and many others, opinion. It's plenty capable of high-speed highway travel. Took my 451 on a 9-hour drive to North Carolina, doing i believe like 75-80 almost the entire way.
 

·
Premium Member
MY08 cabrio MY09 cabrio Brabus MY15 ED
Joined
·
7,762 Posts
Goes right back to the original intended use of the car and its design.

I don't believe the smart fortwo was ever thought of as a turnpike or autobahn cruiser.
And part of the reason it's dead ICE walking in the U.S.

At highway speeds smart scares the begeebers out of some folks who enjoy that false sense of security driving their Urban Assault Vehicle while applying their makeup...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
907 Posts
Which is stupid in my, and many others, opinion. It's plenty capable of high-speed highway travel. Took my 451 on a 9-hour drive to North Carolina, doing i believe like 75-80 almost the entire way.
I can use a dentist drill to drill a one inch hole in some concrete. It will work, but that isn't what it was designed for. Just because something will do the job, doesn't mean that it is the best tool for the job.

I have owned 2 smarts and my pos 09 Yaris is far more comfortable and stable at 75 mph than either smart I have owned and no where near as comfortable as my Chrysler T&C mini van or the wife's Escape. I get BETTER gas mileage with the Yaris plus I can seat 4 Full size adults (yes I'm 6'1" and have sat in the back seat for a hour trip, each way) or transport 3 times what my smart does.
But that wasn't what the Smart Fortwo was designed for. Fact, it was designed as a European City Car, that was imported to North America because “Going forward, Smart is seen as an integral part of the Mercedes-Benz network,” Penske said, adding Mercedes-Benz also needs the efficiency credits generated by Smart to meet future fuel-economy standards in both Europe and North America. In my opinion the only reason Smart was imported here.
to dismal sales results. It certainly did not become the next "VW Bug"
Same thing with maxi scooters being marketed here. They can do everything a Harley can do and some better. But they don't sell in the U.S. You can walk into a dealer today and buy a brand NEW 2014 Burgman 650. The only reason the Dealer still has it, is because he traded for it or the Factory made the Dealer a deal to buy it in order to carry some High Volume bikes.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,199 Posts
This is true... but saying that a Smart isn't highway-capable is like saying that a Ford F-150 is the most efficient means of transporting a couple tons of dirt. Your analogy can go both ways. The difference is, a Smart IS highway-capable.

I've had the (dis)pleasure of driving a Yaris as a rental. Cheap, cheap, cheap plastic. Couldn't agree more with you on the PoS qualities of that car. haha. And of course it's not as comfortable as a van or SUV. Who buys a Smart because they want to go about their business in the most comfortable means possible? Can't exactly say the Smart is the LEAST comfortable car, though. Back when i had my 451, i sat in a Maserati since my dealership is across the street from a Maserati dealer (which is actually in the building of my former Smart Center). To be honest, the seats did not feel comfortable for a 6-figure car.

As for stability.... i feel fine at 80 mph in my 453. The 451 was a bit iffy at those speeds, but crosswind assist and the slightly wider wheelbase helps.
 

·
King of Smart Gadgetry
Joined
·
1,075 Posts
One if the first things I would check and the most simple things I would check would be your tire pressures with a good tire gauge. The inflation amounts should be on the driver side edge of the tridion where the door opens. I guess that's where it would be on a 453, that's where they put it on a 451. Or you can check the owners manual for tire pressures. But if you have a low tire it would certainly affect handling and it woudl be more noticable at highway speeds. DCO
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
386 Posts
Would agree that it really depends on what you are used to driving. Here we run the full gamut from a mini van to Jeep CJ to big cars. I would say if you want twitchy try driving an old Jeep CJ5 with a lift and big tires! I sold my 77 with 3" lift and 33" tires a few years ago, with the AMC 304, headers and side pipes but no power brakes or steering that could get downright terrifying at speed if you were not ready for it. I would rate my 86 CJ7 with lift and 33s as a lot more 'active' on the highway....

I find my smart not as bad as I was expecting, granted with the Brabus tires/wheels I suspect that makes it feel more planted. Flip side is that I have to be constantly scanning for pot holes and other problems as I could damage a rim due to the ultra low profile tires. Plus with the suspension it rides very stiff, again though I expected this going into it and after a while you get used to it. But a plush Cadillac type ride isn't in the cards!

But might be as simple as tire pressures or perhaps an alignment issue so best to check.
 

·
Moderator
Joined
·
17,478 Posts
I carved a mountain in a 453 at 80-95 mph. If a smart is unstable at high speed, either the car is broken or the driver isn't doing something right.

It reminds me of early Airbus A320 incidents. Pilots were so quick to blame the plane, when it was really that they're the ones who made the errors.
 
  • Like
Reactions: robjla

·
Registered
Joined
·
907 Posts
One if the first things I would check and the most simple things I would check would be your tire pressures with a good tire gauge. The inflation amounts should be on the driver side edge of the tridion where the door opens. I guess that's where it would be on a 453, that's where they put it on a 451. Or you can check the owners manual for tire pressures. But if you have a low tire it would certainly affect handling and it woudl be more noticable at highway speeds. DCO
Do to passed comments about GPS. I'll preface this with 'I realize the air pressure units in these car are not of Military Grade.' Shouldn't the OP be getting a T/P light if air pressure is so low to effect handling ?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
27 Posts
Using UNEVEN front Tire Pressure is KEY for me...

The Door label says to run 29 in the fronts and 36 in the rears on the original tires.

I bought a New set of Correct Sized Tires. Had a problem of "wandering" on the road.

My Solve Other Than "Front-end alignment Check" which is good...

Knowing the car did fine with the Old Tires, I put in the Suggested amount of air (29 F 36 R) into the new ones...

Wander it did. Not much, but continual correction of the Slightest Needed on the steering Wheel. Enough to warrant a FIX...

The FIX: 29# in the Right Front and 32# in the Left Front tire/tyre...

This works Great in My 2010 Smart for-two... The uneven tire/tyre Does not cause Me a problem It just Stabilizes that constant Wandering Effect I HAD...(No More) BIG Smile now...

Try It to see, IF it helps Your Problem...?

signed....BUBBIE
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,580 Posts
Front suspension geometry in the 453 is dramatically different having been re- engineered by the C Class folks and the rear suspension design was tweaked for better handling. Couple those changes with a wider track and larger tires and the 453 is a very good highway cruiser for such a small car. I wouldn't hesitate to take it on a trip which involved extensive Interstate cruising.
 
1 - 20 of 61 Posts
Top