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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I'd always been fascinated with microcars ever since I saw Erkle's BMW Iseta on Full House as a teen. Starting in around 2000 I had an obsession with smart cars.

In 2006 I test drove a grey market Euro smart at a local dealership and loved it. It was a zippy, fun ride.

As soon as I got home I emailed smart Europe and asked them if there were any plans to bring the smart to the US. They said they were working on it and put me on the smart USA mailing list.

As time went on the few of us on the list started to get emails telling us about the plans that smart had to roll out dealerships in the US. I was very excited.

More and more people joined the list and we started to get emails about the upcoming configuration website where we could have our cars configured for delivery.

At 3am the day the smart reservation site went online I got the email that it was ready to go and I got up in the middle of the night to configure and order my car.

Six weeks went by. I started seeing smart cars on the street, but when I called the dealership they denied that any had been delivered yet. A few days after that I got a phone call to go pick up my car.

I was the first person at the new dealership to pick up my car. This was where the misery started. First of all, they wouldn't let me take the car out for a test drive. They said it was because I didn't have insurance on it yet, which I found out later was a lie to keep me from realizing what a miserable experience the thing is to drive.

(I found this out from the lead mechanic who used to work at the dealership where I bought my car. After the dealership closed he told me that they used that trick a lot with early sales to prevent naive people like myself from test driving the cars, because when people drove them they found out how awful they are to drive and abandoned the sale).

The day I went to pick up my car their computers weren't working, so everything had to be done with pen and paper. Some of the processes couldn't be done on paper, so they had to call other dealerships and have them input the information over the phone.

The financing took the entire day. I was held captive at the dealership from 8am to 6pm and I was not allowed to leave to get any food at any time. They took my trade in and hid it in the back to make sure I couldn't leave. They told me if I left they would sell my car to the next person who came in, and while I was there five people came in to ask about buying a car. Since they hadn't set up a finance network yet they had to call around one at a time to every financing company that Mercedes worked with to find a loan, and when they did find one they ended up financing me at %14, so in the end I paid $2300 in interest.

At 6PM the dealership closed, but they had just finished the financing paperwork so I had to call my roommate for a ride (they didn't bother to offer a ride). Then I had to come back the next day to do the rest of the paperwork.

I was there from 8AM to 5PM when they finally gave me the keys, took a picture and sent me on my way home.

After four years of incessant problems and miserable, lurching ride I have finally given up on the smart and traded it in on a new 2012 Hyundai Genesis Coupe.

Test driving the Genesis Coupe was a world of difference. The ride was like floating on air compared to the smart. When I encountered a speed bump, the car went over the bump instead of trying to plow through it and jam my spine up into my skull. When I pressed the accelerator, the car actually moved (as opposed to hesitating for half an hour and then begrudgingly shuffling along only to lurch to a halt and struggle into the next gear). Shifting gears was like beautiful magic. The automated DSG gearbox shifted so quickly and smoothly the only way I could tell I was in the next gear was a subtle murmur from the transfer case.

After a brief test drive I was hooked, and handing off the keys that started that little curmudgeon was as exhilarating as receiving them had been when I bought it. Goodbye, you miserable uncooperative lump of thousand dollar parts, I thought as I slid into my sleek new coupe.

My list of issues:

1. Clutch lever stuck. Car had to be hauled to the shop to have it unstuck and lubricated.
2. Front windshield cracked by flying rocks four times.
3. Original battery would only last three days before dying and requiring a jump start. Had that replaced under warranty.
4. Rear tail light retained water. Dealer's "fix" was to drill holes in it. Would have cost $400 to replace (what the f****).
5. Dented right front quarter panel (my fault) - dealer wanted to charge my insurance company $300 for a piece of PVC plastic plus $1000 to spend five minutes swapping it out. Pulled one from the junk yard for five bucks and had a local shop replace it for free just for asking the favor.
6. Plastic piece on the end of the turn signal stalk cracked and fell off three times before the dealer finally super glued the fourth replacement on.
7. Brakes are impossible to use lightly because the pedal is so heavy and is floor mounted. Burned through three sets of brake pads. Couldn't use my insurance company's pay-as-you-go insurance because every time the car came to a stop it would record an aggressive stop.
8. Anemic acceleration put me in danger every time I tried to merge into traffic. Seriously, zero to sixty in fourteen seconds?
9. Incredibly tired of having to answer fifteen questions every time I step out into a parking lot. Does it use gas or electricity? Is it safe to drive? What mileage do you get? What's that thing like on the freeway? Listen, I just want to go get my groceries buddy. Well fine ***hole!
10. Every time you need anything done at the DMV, it takes hours and hours. What kind of car did you say? What was that? What's a 'smart?' Between the confusion about what kind of car it is and getting the smog check I had to make eight trips to the DMV to complete my registration.
11. Carpet retains dirt and trash like a magnet. I had it steam cleaned once and the foam carpet padding took several weeks to dry out.
12. After the warranty expired every... single... part cost at least $300 and $1000 worth of labor at the dealership. I got really creative with finding people to get the thing fixed. And it needed a LOT of fixing. Sh** was breaking and falling off the car left and right the entire time I owned it.
13. "Teaching in" the transmission. At times the car would just forget what gear it was in and refuse to shift, so I'd have to pull over, stop the car, key off, key on, shift through all the shifter positions and take off again.
14. The front plastic skid mat behind the fascia kept falling off on the freeway. I'd have to stop in the middle of the freeway, pick it up, pull over to the side and snap it back on.
15. Loose gas cap turns on the check engine light.
16. A head light and two tail lights went out at once. Smart dealership wanted to charge me $45 apiece for the bulbs. Mercedes dealership gave them to me for $5 apiece.

I could go on and on with the list, but I've already spent half an hour.

The reason I finally traded the POS in was because of the incessant neck pain from the car lurching back and forth with every gear change.

And so it is with a great sense of relief and a slightly heavy heart that I say goodbye to the smart community. Thanks to everyone for consoling me through the many, many bad experiences I had with that car and for everyone who suffered with me every time we all encountered the same issue but for some reason the dealer didn't make a recall and made everyone pay for the parts and labor.

I'm not saying you should trade your smart in for a sports car like I did (it's that time in my life right now), but hey. There's the Ford Fiesta.
 

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Sorry to here your issues, and hope you are happy moving on. I ordered mine when they were first offered. Waited 14 months for delivery. Took it for a test drive at delivery and the sales person showed me how to work the transmission in both manual and auto mode. Two tail light bulbs and loose gas cap have been my only issues. Drive it in manual all of the time because it is a manual car. No problems with brakes, windshield or parts coming off for me. Happy as the first day I got it. I wish I could change out the front quarter in 5 minutes but I can do it in around and hour.
 

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~Extreme Sports are the latest Fad~
Didn't you understand owning a Smart Car is an "Extreme Sport Adventure"...!!! Oh, and there is always the chance you might get hurt when you partake in Extreme Sports...<:-((
Note: Over 2 1/2 years, and Not ONE problem Yet... I took it to the Dealer to get the 2.3 computer update $45.00 just to make sure I wasn't going to have any problem with shifting (never had a problem)... That's all the money the Dealer ever saw from me in 2 1/2 years & 25,000 miles (yes I know the Big Problems are in front of me down the road maybe...???)

 

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MY08 cabrio MY09 cabrio Brabus MY15 ED
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Six weeks went by. I started seeing smart cars on the street, but when I called the dealership they denied that any had been delivered yet. A few days after that I got a phone call to go pick up my car.

I was the first person at the new dealership to pick up my car. This was where the misery started. First of all, they wouldn't let me take the car out for a test drive.

The financing took the entire day. I was held captive at the dealership from 8am to 6pm and I was not allowed to leave to get any food at any time.
foxmajik, sorry for your misfortune . . .

I am confused though? You describe being one of the first to configure on the smartUSA reservation site and then began seeing smarts on the street six weeks later - many of us also ordered early but along with the rest of the USA, had to wait nearly a year?

As an early adopter I find further confusion in your "info" suggesting that you drive a B'bus, a model that was not among the first deliveries? Something doesn't quite add up or you have had two smarts or?

Finally, NO ONE can hold you "captive at the dealership from 8am to 6pm and I was not allowed to leave to get any food at any time." There were many options at your disposal to include walking, dialing 911 etc.

After what may have been a 4 year love/hate relationship with your smart I wish you well with your new 2012 Hyundai Genesis Coupe.

Tom, a happy smart owner since May 2008
 

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Sorry to see you go. We all have our personal preferences and that is what makes the world go around. 3 years as of last week, 54k miles and my only problem was the radio which was replaced under warranty. Best of luck and stop in once in a while to see how the friends you made here are doing. Let the fun continue
 

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I could go on and on with the list, but I've already spent half an hour.
I appreciate that you took the time to share your experience, and glad to see that you are happy with your new purchase, your perseverance is admirable.

I have owned a wide variety of cars and, each was a different experience, but I find the smart both endearing and fun, just not for everyone.
 

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5. Dented right front quarter panel (my fault) - dealer wanted to charge my insurance company $300 for a piece of PVC plastic plus $1000 to spend five minutes swapping it out. Pulled one from the junk yard for five bucks and had a local shop replace it for free just for asking the favor.
Is there anyone in the Northern California / Bay Area who can help me replace a right-front fender panel on my 2008 fortwo? The part is $150 but smart center wants to charge me $250 to put it on!
Interesting...
 

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OP must have owned a 450. There's only one 451 dealer in the Pacific NW (smart center Seattle) and they're still open. To my knowledge, they've never sold a turbo Brabus.

Regards.

Dan
 

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What exactly is the 2.3 computer update? I have an 09 Brabus, and I think it needs an update. Has there been an update since the Brabus came out? How do you ask for this update?
 

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Sad to see another smart owner leave. However, I don't think you gave the smart a fair evaluation and just blamed everything you could on the car.

Sorry to be negative, but WHY are you comparing a fortwo to a HYUNDAI GENESIS COUPE?????

And also I'm spotting weird issues (did you own a 450??)

There were no Brabus smarts in 2008.
There are no factory turbos on the USA market.

And I doubt you could've seen really any smarts (maybe 1 or 2) on the roads 6 weeks after their introduction.

And of course your problems (ordered by number):

1. And after smart resolved that problem, it stopped happening!
2. Not the car's fault.
3. Same as #1.
5. Like you said, your fault.
7. More of an opinion rather than anything that's truely the car's fault.
8. Same as #7
10. The DMV is totally not smart's fault.
13. Same as #1 and #3.
14. It was probably missing clips, probably from road debris or improper installation after the event in #5.
15. Every new car does that. Leave your gas cap off your Hyundai and report your findings :)

Oh and as smcnally pointed out, you're having problems getting your facts straight. You say in that thread that smart wanted $250 to fix the panel but here you say $1,000 plus $300.

P.S. I'm not trying to judge, make fun, or try to justify your purchase, I'm rather dissecting your heavily exaggerated complaints.
 

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Sorry you had such a bad time. Guess I'm one of the many quiet ones who have have had many virtually trouble free miles (78,000 in my case). 4 windshields? Not much of a problem with the car there, was someone possibly tailgating? :)

Now when you have a little fender bender in the Genesis do think you can get a replacement part from the junk yard for $5?

As far as comparing the Genesis to the smart. I've heard how many people love the smart, they used to ride motorcycles. See what I'm getting at? With gas only going up the Genesis only gets what, 20mpg? (looking at owners on mpg Fuelly).

Just tonight I went to a big shindig Grand Opening of an art gallery. While everyone else had to park way far away, I was able to park right out front. There was a sliver of a spot out front I can slide into - no other average car can fit there.

Now your problems with the dealer.....you say you were the FIRST customer? Have you ever been the FIRST customer at ANY business that sell big ticket items? It NEVER goes perfect. You shouldn't have expected that. Being held captive, kinda your fault there. Of course if they would have told me I was going to be held captive and I choose to accept it, I would have just ordered out and had someone bring me food to the dealership.

As a test, leave the gas cap loose on the Genesis and see what happens. The check engine light comes on for ALL cars now.

The cars anemic acceleration? I'm mostly behind everyone in mine. Of course that is because I caught up with them. Don't seem to have a problem.

It's OK to have found that you didn't like your car. You don't have to justify it to yourself. The Genesis is a nice car, it is no smart but it shouldn't be expected to be. Sounds like it was time for a change. I've owned over 120 cars and this is the first daily driver I have ever had this long - I still have no plans to get rid of it. That says a lot.
 

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The OP obviously suffered from buyers remorse, why else would half of his complaints not be the cars fault.

As far as the dealer experience, I would have walked at the 14% interest. Of course I did my loan through my credit union, so I walked into the dealer with the check, and had the keys in 10 minutes.:)

Good luck with your new car. I'll keep driving my smart and smile every time I pass a gas station. Premium just went over $4 a gallon here.:)
 
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