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Smart Fortwo

patpat Posts: 10,421
edited September 23 in smart
What do you think about the smart fortwo? Let's talk about it here.
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Comments

  • datliladatlila Posts: 4
    Just my 2 cents -- profits CAN affect function in this way: If you'd bought a Daewoo a few years back, you'll have an increasingly difficult time finding spare parts and knowledgeable service.

    That said, I already own two cars (well, right now four, but two are up for sale) and when they are available I plan to purchase a Smart cabriolet just for kicks. My youngest child will be in preschool and the Smart will be an excellent vehicle for me to have fun in, run errands, go to the store, etc. when I'm by myself.
  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Posts: 11,805
    The wifes and my daily drives are starting to get up there in miles and I am seriously considering a Smart as my daily commuter. I seriously cannot remember when the last time I had anyone in the back seat of my current ride so I wouldn't really miss it.

    If its low enough in price and gets good mileage (which it is supposed to do in both) I am game for it.

    The sign said "No shoes, no shirt, no service", it didn't say anything about no pants.

  • stowitestowite Posts: 1
    I can think of several reasons to own this vehicle. But, I must admit, I'm very confuesed. They say it will come in around 40 miles to a gallon? What happened. I used to own an AMC/REAULT Alliance. It was advertised at 53 miles per gallon and frankly, it measured that way all the way to 133,000 miles - when I drove it overheated and broke it.

    If they could do that in 1987 - with a four seater - why can't we get 70 mpg with a two seater in 2007 (20 years later)? -very curious about this.
  • pahefner01pahefner01 Posts: 202
    I saw the Smarte in Ireland back in 1999 and really like it then. I think it has a useful purpose in the USA. I also think it's cute. I'm sorry it's being sold through the Mercedes dealers. That could mean expensive service. It would seem that an economy car like this would sell better though Chrysler dealers.
  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Posts: 11,805
    What happened. I used to own an AMC/REAULT Alliance. It was advertised at 53 miles per gallon

    Come on now, an AMC/Reault Alliance couldn't go 53 miles. :P

    FWIW the Alliance was EPA rated at 41 highway and 34 city at best per the EPAs website.

    If they could do that in 1987 - with a four seater - why can't we get 70 mpg with a two seater in 2007 (20 years later)? -very curious about this.

    A couple of things. First is that there is only so much energy in a gallon of gas and it takes so much energy to move a pound a certain distance. Even if the engine was 100% efficent there is only so far a car will go on a gallon of gas and no further.

    Secondly there is something called the law of diminishing returns. That basically says every increment is harder to achieve and more costly. In other words its faster, easier and cheaper to increase a cars mileage from 35MPG to 36MP than it is to increase it from 36MPG to 37MPG.

    The sign said "No shoes, no shirt, no service", it didn't say anything about no pants.

  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Posts: 11,805
    I can think of several reasons to own this vehicle.

    So can I its so versatile.

    image

    image

    image

    image

    And my personal favorite:

    image

    The sign said "No shoes, no shirt, no service", it didn't say anything about no pants.

  • reuel3reuel3 Posts: 114
    I think that last one might help me a bit with the morning commute...
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    The tank needs a turret, though. Of course, being Smart-Sized, maybe a couple of side-mounted gatling guns. :P
  • lostchildlostchild Posts: 17
    smartusa.com just posted some initial pricing for the US smart fortwo. Pure will start under $12k, Passion under $14k, and Passion Cabrio under $17k. I am thinking about getting the Cabrio. It seems like a fun car for Southern California.
  • 2mnycats2mnycats Posts: 11
    Currently have a BMW 325i 4-door that I'm going to keep. I'm going to look at this as a 2nd car. I've test-driven the Prius twice and the Honda Civic Hybrid twice. Both of them are almost double the price of the smart, for one thing. The Prius is impossible to see out the back of (one reason why they have highly recommended the backup camera - I would have nightmares about running over somebody's toddler), not to mention it drives like a sack of potatoes. The Civic Hybrid drives better, but gets only slightly better mileage than the regular Civic for a lot more money.

    So, what to do... I would like a second car for a) splitting the mileage with the BMW; b) running errands around town, and c) parking at the bus stop. Oh, and to get better gas mileage than the Bimmer. For the same money I could buy a used Beetle or a used Mini... but this comes with a lot of nice features standard for the money. I'll have to give it a test drive when it gets here.

    I really wish we had some other smart options, such as the electric version (altho you still have to think about where your electricity is coming from -- coal, for instance, not a very clean option. I happen to be on nuclear power here, which has its own set of issues.) It's too bad they're deleting the roadster, which I've seen on the U.K. site, that might fly very well over here in the U.S.

    As far as safety I think it's as good as a Mini. Definitely better than a motorcycle! Here in the land of (yawn) SUV-mania, anything you drive that's smaller than a tank is likely to be the loser in a battle with one of those things. However, I think smart has done as good a job as they can and probably more than most people expect for the size of car it is.

    So before I settle on something I'll give the smart a test drive - after it's been around for a few months to see how things are going. Momma didn't raise no fool.
  • smart's $99 reservation program is up and running. not really sure what that buys us? looking forward to the fortwo arriving here. seems to really make sense for us in san francisco. they don't have options list up yet, but i do hope these cars come with decent alarms: for theft and also to discourage any attempts at "smart tipping."

    i'd pop for the cabrio and take the risk with the top--but these dealers (whenever they are announced) better not try and mark up those prices any higher than they are now. $12k for now air con and no radio? any funny business and i think i'll get the fit.
  • clynchclynch Posts: 6
    Did anyone plunk down the $99 reservation fee? Looking for a small errand car I decided to give it a try, but with all of the disclaimers after the fact it may never happen. I can't imagine a dealer near me. And I can see a huge mark up on cars when first out. They don't even suggest the car you configure will be the car you get. But if it happens it will be a fun little car!
  • lostchildlostchild Posts: 17
    I did the $99 thing. I figured I can always get it back later. Aren't they suppose to start the cities tour thing this summer? I think they let people test drive it right? I will try to go to one. The last time I saw a smart car (other than on picture) was 2003 in Italy.
  • stanwictstanwict Posts: 60
    I did the $99 think. I need a cheap commuter. I just saw a ZAP version in Austin TX Sunday while on a biz trip down there.
  • The Cabrio is definetly the one that interests me the most. I drive a 06' Corolla and 07' Lexus ES350 now. Thinking of swaping the corolla (my point A to point B car) which gives me 35mpg (mostly on highway) and settling for the SmartCar. Dont know if the 17K price tag will be worth it. Guess I will have to wait until the summer tour for test drive. Hopefully the price will be more negotiable a few months after it releases in the states.
  • lostchildlostchild Posts: 17
    According to the new email from smart.com, people who put down the $99 reservation fee will get to attend a private preview and test drive during the tour before the public get to see them. Good incentive to do the reservation.
  • ohplezzohplezz Posts: 74
    I'll get one if they stick around for a few years and they refine the little sucker for Hway miles. I live in nyc and I see one every now and then. They look pretty cool but I won't buy until I see them having enough sales to stick around for the long term. If they get some sales volume the prices should go down and the options should go up. We will see in about 3 to 5 years. But I've got to get something this year and the new Honda Fit won't be out until next year so I'm getting a Scion xD in the fall. :D
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    http://www.worldcarfans.com/news.cfm/newsID/2070130.004/page/6/lang/eng/country/- gcf/smart/new-smart-fortwo-in-depth

    Of note is this, 2/3 the way down:
    .

    In the new smart fortwo there is once again no clutch pedal, as this task is performed by an electric motor. If the shift lever on the centre console is briefly tapped forwards, the transmission will shift up a gear, and if it is drawn back, down a gear. Alternatively, the gears can be changed by means of paddles on the steering wheel (standard for pulse).

    To the right of the manual level, marked with a plus and minus sign, is the neutral position, N. Reverse gear is engaged by pulling the shift lever backwards from this position.

    The smart fortwo passion comes with the automatic gear programme (softouch) as standard (optional for pure and pulse). It can be recognised by a small button on the shift lever.
    ***

    So what this means is that it comes with a manual-only transmission with an automatic clutch(like the old Mercedes and VWs from the 60s)! Ie - not an automatic with a +/- shift mode. Automatic shifting for you is an optional add-on, which is exactly why I want the Pure - keep it simple.

    That's a big relief, actually. I loathe automatics, and a clutchless manual is perfect for a car like this.
  • lostchildlostchild Posts: 17
    The road tour is starting this weekend at Irvine in CA. I got invited to a private test drive event next week because of the $99 deposit. I will report back next week after the test drive.
  • templeton3templeton3 Posts: 69
    I saw a caravan of Smart cars driving around the Laguna Niguel Mercedes Dealer last week. They might be cute for some, but I sure would not want to get in an accident while riding in one of those.
  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Posts: 11,805
    but I sure would not want to get in an accident while riding in one of those.

    Not sure about you but I wouldn't want to get in an accident riding in anything short of an Abrams M1.

    The sign said "No shoes, no shirt, no service", it didn't say anything about no pants.

  • edf4edf4 Posts: 65
    but I sure would not want to get in an accident while riding in one of those.

    I don't understand that thinking. Look at it this way: the fortwo is 100% safer for both the driver and passenger than any motorcycle, motor scooter, (or bicycle) in an accident with a motor vehicle, yet 100's of thousands of people ride and enjoy them safely everyday. In addition, I would suggest that due to the outstanding crash-test results for the fortwo, the survivability of a passenger or driver in the fortwo in a crash would be as high, or perhaps higher than in any car on the road today that you think would be safer, provided (in either case) that the seatbelts are used. Come over to the educated consumer side from the knee-jerk reaction crowd: visit Smart's website, watch the crash test results conducted by independent agencies on Youtube and elsewhere, and you will learn why the NHSTA gave Smart the thumbs up. :)
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    I test drove the new Smart this weekend - the U.S. tour was in town.

    Beautiful little car. Very spacious inside. I'm 5'8" and I had to push the seat 6 inches forward. It feels exactly like a Mini or Fit inside when you are driving - just when you look at the rearview mirror, there is NO REAR. It's odd - you don't feel that it's small from the driver's position. But it's tiny.

    Great sound system as well. Love the plastic body panels.

    It does need a seat height adjuster and a few things like a larger rear view mirror and the gearshift reworked. There's no way except for the all too easy to get washed out in the sun display in the dash to tell what it's doing. It's like a fancy joystick instead of a typical "D" arrangement with a +/- area off to the side.

    All in all, I rate it a solid 9 except for one glaring problem. One that makes me, a 5 year fan and supporter of the car give it a "no buy" recommendation.

    The transmission is the worst I've ever driven. Ever. Words can hardly explain how it is defective - but I'll try.

    In automatic mode, there is half a second hesitation between shifts, but it does well enough. It feels like a stepped CVT. It's not precise, but it works okay I guess. My guess is all of the computers are fighting each other and getting in the way. But it's somewhat tolerable.

    But put it into manual mode(only mode for the Pure/Base model!) and it is worse than a Bug, worse than a Yugo. Horrendous. Something is broken. And so severely that a typical U.S. buyer will literally walk away from the car.

    I revved it and it took two seconds to shift every time. It would almost over-rev the engine by the time it got around to shifting. The only way I could make it shift *now* was to completely lift off the gas and pound on it as hard as I could again. Utterly brain-dead computer/controller.

    The car was fast, though - great engine. So I would get a "vroom! lag lag lag slowing down lag.. SHIFT. wroom!!! lag lag my God it's a nice day outside ...lag... SHIFT. vroom! 40mph... lag lag lag *shift already now* - (hits the rev limiter) then shifts. Usually when I shift a car drops revs. This, at 2/3 throttle hit the limiter before it went from 2nd to 3rd. One one thousand... Two one thousand..

    No, really - that bad. If anyone from Mercedes is reading this by some miracle, fix the transmission or sales will die. It feels like you took a Honda Fit or a very nice Mini Cooper S and gave it a lawnmower transmission.

    Fantastic car and a joke that belongs in a kid's electric car or some piece of junk in one of those scooters from China for a transmission. And, even for me, a die-hard fan, it was too much of a dichotomy.

    Fix it or no sale.
  • networkguynetworkguy Posts: 53
    I like small cars. I rode motorcycles for years. I currently drive a Mazdaspeed 3. I also live in Texas. I stopped riding motorcycles because I figured the law of averages would catch up with me. Way too many near misses with vehicles several times my mass. In my relatively large Mazda, I still feel like I'm driving in a mobile canyon of semis and massive SUV's. I believe that most SUV and 3/4 ton pickup equipped locals would view the Smart as an attractive, trendy speed bump. At least on the bikes I had killer acceleration to assist me during evasive action. As far as the 'value' of all the standard safety equipment, it appears to be a necessary part of making a tiny car even worth consideration. The cars look way cool, but I believe they will only have broad appeal in a very dense urban environments, not mid-sized or smaller towns and cities.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    Let's take a typical car like a MR2.

    The MR2 is the same width, give or take. Check. In the event of a crash from the rear, there is a roughly two to three foot crumple zone - basically the area beyond the rear axle. This is standard on most cars in fact. On the both vehicles, since they are RWD, this is reinforced by solid axles and such - so it really is basically impossible to intrude much past the rear axle. The trunk area on both cars is about the same - just one is a hatch and the other is a convertible.

    So the interior is about the same size - two people. Check.

    That leaves the front of the car. With the engine on the Smart being mounted right above the rear axle, in a crash, it's a lot like a 911 - the thing is very tough from the rear. In a typical car, the engine is something that is there - it helps keep the other vehicle from intruding, but it's not really absorbing energy, either. So subtract the engine from a typical car, like, say, the Honda Fit. What you have left is a 2-3 foot long series of dead space crumple zones. The MR2s front is essentially a big empty thing like on a VW bug. Totally optional from a safety standpoint, since it is a mid-engine RWD car, just like the Fit.

    That bears repeating, in fact, for those skimming this post. The fit is a mid-engine RWD car. It's toughest in a crash from the rear.

    The entire front of the car is a dedicated crumple zone in the Smart. Think of it as a fwo foot wide bumper. This is what Mercedes spent a lot of their time on. Now, true, if it was me, I'd have lengthened the front by another two feet and put in a small trunk - just for asthetics, mind you - sort of what they did with the roadster.

    So you end up with a car that is made to be a crumple zone built around a shell. It's actually very safe. But... there's a tradeoff. In the event of a crash, the entire car will literally destroy itself to provide that protection. Very much like how Formula One racecars come apart to protect the driver. So that means in practical terms that the tradeoff for the Smart owner is that you must carry full coverage at all times, because accidents will generally total the car outright.(ie - not just because the airbags went off)
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 6,092
    There are always going to be people who are very passionate about any vehicle. But what about the rest of us?
    Get Smart?

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    Need some roadside assistance? pf_flyer@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.
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  • bumpybumpy Posts: 4,435
    Your mpg is off. The fortwo gets about 40 in the city and 52 highway in real-world driving. The quoted numbers are lower because they're sandbagging until the official EPA numbers come in. The fortwo is for people who don't need the back seat and do want the mileage and light weight.
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 6,092
    That's just a mileage number from the Straightline story. I'm not saying there's not going to be a market for the fortwo, but I do think that market is somewhat limitied by the needs of most vehicle owners.

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  • bumpybumpy Posts: 4,435
    having to be a jack-of-all-trades are pretty well dead IMO. These days, people have a list of what they want from a particular purchase and go looking to find a match, then draw up a different list for a different purchase.
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 6,092
    For some people, two seats and a bit of shelter from the wind and rain would work fine. But I daresay that day to day life for your average consumer involves more than just moving themselves around. Kids, pets, groceries, trips to the store for bigger items, vacations, and all the other things that are a part of our lives..

    It's a sliding scale for sure, but I don't think I'm all that atypical and I need a vehicle that's going to do more than move me around a bit.

    Hmm... it might be interesting to start a discussion about what a 'typical' car owner needs out of their vehicle. Sort of take everyone's needs and average them into some mythical vehicle that has 3.4 seats and can hold two large suitcase or something ;)

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