Smart Car of America Forum banner
1 - 8 of 8 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all, I am hoping to soon join the SMART car ranks. I have a 1998 Honda VFR with 20,205 miles that I would like to trade for a Cabrio. I am located in CA and would be happy to ride within a reasonable distance (this side of the Rockies) to facilitate the trade. I can add some cash on my side if your car is worth more than $3,500.

Thanks for taking the time to read my post and considering my offer.
~Tim
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,475 Posts
Welcome to SCoA forum.

As the past owner of an 08 cabriolet and present owner of a 09 cabriolet.
Not daily drivers
Good luck
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Welcome to SCoA forum.

As the past owner of an 08 cabriolet and present owner of a 09 cabriolet.
Not daily drivers
Good luck
Thanks for the kind greeting. I will have to investigate the forum further but curious as to why you say it is not a DD capable car? My other vehicle is a Legacy GT 5 speed wagon which I just had to have the engine overhauled at 80K miles so I am looking to keep it for weekend adventures. Helluva fun car but at 23 mpg I was hoping for something a bit more fuel efficient for commuting.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,475 Posts
I never said it wasn't capable of being a daily driver.
I tried using my first one as a daily driver and couldn't stand it. It's subpar ride, subpar power, subpar transmission, just not a good daily driver for me.
I use my current smart for taking the dog to the park, going on rides through Red Rock canyon, generally top down joy rides. For that it suits me fine.
Smart was designed as a European city car. Imported by Penske Auto Group.
As the novelty wore off and reality set in sales declined and Mercedes took over the distribution or bought it. Something like that in a nutshell. Bear in mind there are less than 12 Mercedes service centers in the United States that will work on these cars.
Depending upon where you live, you could literally be a couple hundred miles away from a authorized service center
You asked.
Now the 453 is whole different car. About 70% different
Bigger, heavier, more powerful engine, better ride, etc. More like a real car.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,475 Posts
If you find that you just can't live without a smart convertible.
Very important.
Make sure you check out the operation of the top a few times before buying it.
A repair on one of these tops can easily run you $2,500 or more.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
17,697 Posts
Thanks for the kind greeting. I will have to investigate the forum further but curious as to why you say it is not a DD capable car? My other vehicle is a Legacy GT 5 speed wagon which I just had to have the engine overhauled at 80K miles so I am looking to keep it for weekend adventures. Helluva fun car but at 23 mpg I was hoping for something a bit more fuel efficient for commuting.
Welcome!!

Honestly, if you're comfortable riding a motorcycle, you'll be fine in a Smart. I've driven most of my four Smarts across the country (at darn near Cannonball Run speeds) and I think any generation will be just fine as a daily. No worse than my miniscule Honda Beat! I ran Smarts as my only cars from 2012 to 2019.

If you get a gray market import 450 (1998 to 2007), be sure to keep the engine area clean. The alternators on them love to rust out and randomly seize. Clutch actuators can also be a bit of a pain as they can randomly stop working. Since these were never sold in the States, parts will come from Canada, UK, and EU and you may have to get creative with finding a mechanic.

If you get a 451 (2008 to 2015 for gas, up to 2016 for electric), know that the suspension can get a bit "crashy" and the transmission is a bit polarizing. You'll either be cool with it or hate it. These are pretty darn good at off-roading.

If you get a 453 (2015-2017 for gas, 2017+ for electric), these are pretty much the most "normal" of the crop. This generation was designed in part by Renault with up to 70% of the parts coming from the Renault end of the deal. These ones have turbos, the most modern features, and a suspension that's practically a cloud compared to the other generations. They're also very rare, but you can find them with a bonafide manual transmission!

Both the 451 and 453 have dwindling dealership support. This won't be too much of a problem if you have a good independent local mechanic or do your own work. I haven't been back to a dealership since my warranties ended.

If you do a lot of city driving, the 453 is going to be the worst of the bunch. The engine is tuned for around town and highway fuel economy. You'll be coming in and out of boost so much in the city that your fuel economy will be pretty abysmal.

A VFR is a sweet bike! I'm not sure we have too many motorcyclists here (I have too many of my own motorcycles lol) but it seems like a decent trade. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Welcome!!

Honestly, if you're comfortable riding a motorcycle, you'll be fine in a Smart. I've driven most of my four Smarts across the country (at darn near Cannonball Run speeds) and I think any generation will be just fine as a daily. No worse than my miniscule Honda Beat! I ran Smarts as my only cars from 2012 to 2019.

If you get a gray market import 450 (1998 to 2007), be sure to keep the engine area clean. The alternators on them love to rust out and randomly seize. Clutch actuators can also be a bit of a pain as they can randomly stop working. Since these were never sold in the States, parts will come from Canada, UK, and EU and you may have to get creative with finding a mechanic.

If you get a 451 (2008 to 2015 for gas, up to 2016 for electric), know that the suspension can get a bit "crashy" and the transmission is a bit polarizing. You'll either be cool with it or hate it. These are pretty darn good at off-roading.

If you get a 453 (2015-2017 for gas, 2017+ for electric), these are pretty much the most "normal" of the crop. This generation was designed in part by Renault with up to 70% of the parts coming from the Renault end of the deal. These ones have turbos, the most modern features, and a suspension that's practically a cloud compared to the other generations. They're also very rare, but you can find them with a bonafide manual transmission!

Both the 451 and 453 have dwindling dealership support. This won't be too much of a problem if you have a good independent local mechanic or do your own work. I haven't been back to a dealership since my warranties ended.

If you do a lot of city driving, the 453 is going to be the worst of the bunch. The engine is tuned for around town and highway fuel economy. You'll be coming in and out of boost so much in the city that your fuel economy will be pretty abysmal.

A VFR is a sweet bike! I'm not sure we have too many motorcyclists here (I have too many of my own motorcycles lol) but it seems like a decent trade. :)
Thanks for the kind words all and what to look out for on my SMART purchase. It is truly an honor to hear from you Miss Mercedes as I enjoy your articles and adventures on Jalopnik. Those Honda's you posted will surely get bid way above sane pricing.

There is no such thing as too many motorcycles 🤪 That is until you have to pay insurance and tags on them. Ugh. Thus my downsizing as I can't have three motorcycles and three cars to upkeep. The VFR is an awesome bike but that ease of speed will surely result in a ticket... Just too damn smooth. I will still have my TMAX and Vstrom to play around with and find that they roll out of the garage a lot more often then the VFR.

I turn my own wrenches so as long as I can get parts and have some forum/youtube support I will get the job done. Hopefully I can get some help here if I am lucky enough to score a ForTwo and need to do maintenance. I'm not in a rush so I might wait a few months until the prices come back down on used cars. It is a bit silly right now.

My son and I love the look of the ForTwo and it never fails to put a smile on my face when I see one. Hopefully ownership also keeps me smiling.

~Tim
 
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
Top