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Discussion Starter #1
... for my 451 has begun.

My 2008 has been great. I bought it in early 2013 with 89,000 km on it; it now has 233,000 km on it. Along the way it has gotten a Bilstein suspension kit and better wheels and tires. I still like the way it drives. But ... The air conditioning stopped working last year, and the clutch is on the way out.

I drove a 453 today and found it quite impressive. The ride and handling balance is a lot better. The steering feels a bit odd, seemingly non-linear, but I could get used to it. The transmission works better when shifted manually - it wants to shift to the highest gear, but the engine is off boost and has little response ... it takes a second between flooring the accelerator and the powertrain realizing that it ought to downshift a gear or three. Highway cruise at 120 km/h is smooth and quiet enough. Overall ... Like!

Other contenders (I haven't driven any of them yet): Fiat 500, and the redesigned 2016 Chevrolet Spark. Possibly a Mini.

I will update this thread as things develop.
 

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Take a long look at the Fiat. I love the two I own(ed). I purchased a 2012 500 pop C. It was a great little car. So I purchased a 2015 Abarth 500 C.... it's a better little car. Still have my 08 smart 451 carbio. And will own it until it dies... maybe I'll go before it (currently 67). Good luck on finding your replacement.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I know it's using a different engine (1.4 instead of 1.2). I think the new engine is a non-turbo version of the one that's in the Sonic and Cruze. I haven't looked at them yet and won't be for at least the next week due to a business trip.
 

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We saw the newest Chevy Spark at a Maker Faire recently. It was unbelievably tiny and cramped inside. They learned nothing from the smart fortwo about designing a small car that feels roomy inside.
 

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I almost bought a CRZ. Neat little car. Didn't care for the rear blind spots. No sunroof. The interior materials are of Acura level. When I test drive one 5 years ago. Very refined car. It was strange, the 6 manual transmission. The engine would shut off at a stop.When I got back into my 08 smart car. I felt, I was driving a model T.

Purchase a 2012 Fiat instead. Been a good car now for 5 years. Very fun to drive. My 2008 smart was a good car too. Too bad it need a new head gasket. Fixing it cost more then it was worth. I'd buy another smart, if they ever bring over the four door. The 2 door, is just too small for my handicap needs.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
The last couple of weeks have been swamped with business trips and now I'm trying to catch up, but I managed to squeeze in a test drive of a Fiat 500 today. Automatic, unfortunately. It seems impossible to find anything with a manual transmission available to be test-driven.

The 500 feels like it has no better acceleration than my 451 smart, but without the gearshift delays. The 453 smart was faster (but still no rocketship). Overall, seemed decent. But there are two hiccups, one of which is a deal breaker. The minor nuisance was the driving position - the lower seat cushion is too short (fore/aft) and too high at the front, and not adjustable. The seat has height adjustment, but it doesn't go far enough down. I could probably deal with this, but the major nuisance is that the inside rear view mirror is directly in my line of sight to the offside front.

Now, this is not the first time I've had that issue with cars in general. It happens a lot due to my tall upper body. In fact, the 451 smart had this issue. But the 451 smart has a simple ordinary rear view mirror which could be unglued from the windshield and replaced with an aftermarket one that sits higher (and I've done precisely that). On the Fiat 500, that rear view mirror is attached to a big contraption on the windshield and has wiring to it for the Bluetooth system. It does not look readily replaceable.
 
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