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Smart Fortwo

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  • dmathews3dmathews3 Posts: 1,739
    I'm thinking of buying the Smart to replace my motorcycle for commutting and just having fun with. Yes it most likely won't stand up to a big SUV but it will do a whole lot better than my motorcycle would and I'm betting will be seen better. As everyone knows people pull out in front of a bike all the time, because they claim they didn't see it. I see no reason why the Smart can't be used just like a motorcycle. Maybe even be in its own cult class like a Harley. I would like to see local clubs pop up just like bike clubs with Sunday cruises etc. just like the bike boys do. Bottom line this is to replace my Goldwing and I'm betting I will feel a whole lot safer, dryer, warmer in the cold months, and cooler in the summer months with the air on and the sterio cranked up. :P
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 5,913
    I can see that swap. In my neck of the woods, cycle season may or may not be all that long depending on weather.

    And with the price of Goldwings, you might be able to trade even up! :surprise:

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  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Posts: 11,790
    That's just a mileage number from the Straightline story.

    I think that story is rather misleading as they compare 33 MPG in the Versa to 40 MPG in the Smart. The issue is that 33 is Highway in the Versa and at worst 40 is combined in the Smart.

    but I do think that market is somewhat limitied by the needs of most vehicle owners.

    I would think that for most owners with two cars the Smart would be all they need for the second one. Look around on your daily commute and see how many cars have only one person in them.

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

  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 5,913
    No, that 33 in the Versa is not the highway number. That;'s what I'm actually getting in my day to day driving doing the things I normally do. The 40mpg number came from the StraightLine piece.

    As far as the smart doing for a second vehicle, it might, in the right circumstances. Not for me however. My wife commutes to her job, and although she's usually alone, she also has to drive from her office to teach programs, carrying instructional materials that sometimes fill the trunk and back seat. So the smart is really not going to do for her. That leaves me working out of the house. I get the kid shuttle assignments, etc. and while thre are tasks the smart could handle, enough of them require a bit more than the smart could provide. Moving that double bass comes to mind! :P

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  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Posts: 11,790
    No, that 33 in the Versa is not the highway number

    Its the EPA highway estimate, 24 city.

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

  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 5,913
    My Versa gets 32-33 mpg running around town here, and 35-36 on long highway hauls.
    Not EPA numbers, actual recorded mileages. I have about 14,000 miles on it now and those figures have been consistent since I reached the 1000-1500 mile range

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  • bumpybumpy Posts: 4,435
    I think the lesson we can take away is that the EPA estimates suffer from a massive recto-cranial inversion. I can get 31 highway in the S2000, you can get 36 in the Versa, and reports for the fortwo put it over 50.
  • lvuhllvuhl Posts: 1
    I just viewed the Smart Fortwo car and I think it would be great for a second car for Empty Nesters like myself for errands and appointments. I do not believe that they would best serve the metropolitian areas, but everywhere. The over 65 crowd, the college student, first drivers are all on limited income and it would be great for them as well.I really do not agree with just taking the car to dealers in the "Big Cities" Most drivers in the US travel short distances ie. the store, the bank, the drugstore,and work.In our area most people drive 15 to 30 minutes to work. If people in the metropolitian areas commute I believe they take a bus, a train, or car pool to save on gas. I believe the makers of the Smart Fortwo car should reconsider their marketing strategy and enclude the whole of the USA">.
  • :) :) :) have been driving them since 2002 and did the early testing and review, first ones used gas motors till change to diesel, use it as my work car i drive 49km to the office for 1.10 per day and share my parking spot with two motor bike to cover the parking cost, they can be driving quite spirited and have lots of updates. the next one is the dual pipes and heat shield,and driving/fog lights. my car is silver red cabrio it a good second car as you can get your shopping done and run your errands around town. on nice days open the top and put on some tunes and enjoy the ride. :)
  • 1stpik1stpik Posts: 495
    SmartUSA will begin selling their tiny two-seater here in a few months. It will be interesting.

    My only problem with the car is that it has two seats, a 3-cylinder 70 hp engine, and weighs 1,800 lbs., yet it only gets 33 mpg city / 40 hwy.

    The old Geo Metro 3-cyl. did better than that, and Toyota, Honda and Kia all have heavier, 4 door, 4 cyl. cars with 100+ hp that equal the Smart's mpg numbers.

    Here's the link to the Smart's "first drive" review:

    http://www.edmunds.com/apps/vdpcontainers/do/vdp/articleId=123595/pageNumber=1#1-
  • bumpybumpy Posts: 4,435
    The old Geo Metro 3-cyl. did better than that, and Toyota, Honda and Kia all have heavier, 4 door, 4 cyl. cars with 100+ hp that equal the Smart's mpg numbers.

    Going by the laughably pitiful 2008 EPA standards:

    the 1989 Metro got 38/45 stick and 32/36 auto;
    the 2008 Yaris gets 29/36 stick and 29/35 auto;
    the 2008 Fit gets 28/34 stick, 27/34 auto, and 27/33 CVT;
    the 2008 Rio gets 27/32 stick and 25/35 auto.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 29,053
    The 1986 Honda Civic HF is now rated at 42 city 51 hwy. The old rating was 51 city & 57 hwy for a combined 54 MPG. Oh yeah we are making progress. I would take that old Civic over any of the aforementioned cars. My own choice, the 1988 CRX that was an absolute gas to drive. 50 MPG and fun to drive without worrying about being a hypermiler.

    PS
    The only Smart car worth a hoot is the diesel that gets 70+ MPG. Of course we won't get them here. You have to move to Canada.
  • bumpybumpy Posts: 4,435
    My own choice, the 1988 CRX that was an absolute gas to drive. 50 MPG and fun to drive without worrying about being a hypermiler.

    Good call. The gen2 CRX had the same full wishbone suspension as the 1988 Civic and was about 200 pounds lighter.
  • I think the Smart Car is off to a good start, the safety cage and airbags, and the suspension is reported as quite good. But - and this is supposed to be the point of the car - for those of us who know cars (and the above posters have put it quite well already with lots of data points) the MPG stinks!!!!! It completely stinks for what could happen for a car like this. Don't get me wrong - I'm extremely excited by this car and it has huge potential. But its not there yet.

    Whomever is running Smart and/or the head engineers on the project - to be very clear - YOU'VE GOT TO GET ANOTHER 10 - 20 MPG OUT OF IT!!!! (And really more on the 20 side.) Then you've got an incredible car with incredible potential in America and overseas.

    If it is at 33 now, frankly for what it does I don't even think 43 is sufficient - although 43 would have been a great first model. I hear the diesel is more than 2X for mpg over gas. That is great, and you should be able to sell that here by 2010 at the latest, right?

    Also, it would be fun to have the diesel engine be even smaller and make it a diesel hybrid?

    So - look - here is how the cards play out:

    Shape/Outer Appearance: Great
    Suspension: Very good for size
    Safety: First rate for size - and that is important!!!
    Overall: Awesome!
    Efficiency: Non-diesels need a lot of work
    Transmission: Some improvements possible here

    If you can bring better MPG in gas version and keep pushing the 'safety for size' issue - become known as the safest in size range, really push that on engineering and marketing side, then we've got a real hit here.

    Are the Mercedes engineers working on the Smart at all, or do they have their own engineers? I ask because some technology for high efficiency is extremely high-tech - take a look at the mileage numbers for the BMW 1 series with small engines. That is an example of a huge success and an engineering marvel. I don't know if the Smart engineers are up to that kind of stuff (I'm not trying to be mean - there is a *lot* of technology on the BMW 1) but at least use their final numbers as a goal. A low-weight hybrid implementation would be harder on the Smart than people think, but if implemented correctly, could really become something.
  • While I also thought the fortwo would achieve better MPG numbers, let's not forget two important things:

    1. The fortwo is being judged by new-for-2008 mileage standards. All 2007 and prior models would post better numbers. Heck, on paper, my 2007 Honda Civic gets noticeably better mileage than the 'new' 2008 Honda Civic.

    2. I don't believe the 33/40 numbers quoted are actual numbers from any official EPA tests. I've only seen 33/40 quoted from smart company officials as their estimate of what it will achieve when it is tested. Could it be that they are underpromising so they can overdeliver when the real results are released? Perhaps not, but it's a thought.

    Lastly, I wonder how much the transmission plays into these economy numbers and the 'tuning' that has taken place for the US market. 0-60 times seem to be slightly different from Euro-spec cars, so I wonder if we are experiencing some economy tradeoffs for slightly better performance? A six speed transmission for better interstate gearing would probably improve the highway numbers.

    And, as I said on the survey at the smart Roadshow event, BRING THE DIESEL!!!
  • Another quick thought on fuel economy. Just doing some 'back of the napkin' calculations based on a 2008 Honda Civic Coupe AT and using some crude proportional logic, here are a couple of observations:

    1. If you shrunk an '08 Civic Coupe proportionally and decreased it's engine displacement to 1.0L from 1.8L, it would weigh 1538 lbs. That's not a far cry from an '08 smart passion coupe.

    2. If you shrunk an '08 Civic Coupe proportionally and decreased it's engine displacement to 1.0L from 1.8L, it would have 77 hp. Again, not far from an '08 smart.

    I do hope for better mileage, but it appears that when you decrease the weight of the car and displacement of the engine (all other factors being equal: using the same EPA standards, emissions requirements, etc.) we can't expect miracles with fuel economy.

    So, when compared to an '08 Civic Coupe, if the actual EPA numbers do turn out to be 33/40, an '08 fortwo's fuel economy is comparable with the same model year Civic given it's weight and engine displacement. I'm only talking fuel economy here, not any other attribute before anyone gets up in arms!

    Of course, the new ratings for the Civic Coupe put it at 36 MPG highway (down from 40) and I routinely average 37 or better in mixed driving in my '07 Civic Coupe (about 50% highway). So, I could probably do better than 40 in a fortwo, if that's what it gets rated.
  • bumpybumpy Posts: 4,435
    The 33/40 is a company estimate as the EPA hasn't released the official numbers yet, and I think the Smart folks are sandbagging it a bit. Even then, the EPA numbers are worthless except for comparison to other cars. I have gotten 8 mpg better than the EPA highway numbers on long trips in both the Accent and the S2000.

    Edit: the official Euro numbers work out to 48 mpg combined.
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,422
    Yes, I think people are expecting a bit much here. 33/40 are great numbers on the 2008 EPA scale, and better than anything out there that is not a small, full hybrid. The smart will likely better those figures in the real world, but even if it doesn't, consider what it is. It is NOT a car like the old CRX, which had no airbags and few luxury features. The smart comes with 4 airbags, automatic climate control, power controls, ABS brakes with brake assist and brake force distribution, stability control and safety cage construction. You also need to remember that 10 more miles per gallon is a lot less savings added to a 40 mpg car than it is to a 15 mpg car.

    The biggest problem with the smart will not be its gas mileage, but rather its quirky automatic clutch manual transmission. Its operation, whether in auto mode or with paddle shifters, is slow and less than smooth. The car would be better with either a CVT or a conventional manual (or dual clutch auto manual like VW's). As it is now, it makes for very leisurely acceleration. Until that is remedied, the diesel would just be too darn slow for most US drivers.
  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Posts: 11,790
    The only Smart car worth a hoot is the diesel that gets 70+ MPG. Of course we won't get them here. You have to move to Canada.

    Sorry IIRC the new 2008 Smart available in Canada will be gas powered. And FWIW the Smart Canadian site states somewhere in the area of a little over 40 city and almost 50 highway.

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

  • Unless I'm mistaken, the following are 2008 mpg numbers:

    Corolla: 28/37
    Yaris: 29/36
    Matrix 26/33
    Civic Coupe: 26/34
    Fit 28/34
    Versa 26/31

    Those are from manu sites that say it is an 08 mpg number, or from www.fueleconomy.gov that 'imply' it is an 08 number (can't tell for 100% sure). So - yes - 33/40 is better, but for having 'not a car' I want better than that small bump. The diesel is a great example of what the form factor can do. I still claim if they really focused on it, they could do much better from gas or a gas/hybrid.

    To me, the smart comes real close to being more similar to the Gem E6 than to any of the cars listed above... To go to such a form factor, it better seriously deliver mpg for what I am giving up! And note - that isn't meant as a slight, I seriously consider buying a Gem every 3 to 4 months... The main difference (of course) is range, 40 miles only on Gem - on - and being able to drive of freeways/expressways.

    Overall, however, I like the idea that it might be a conservative number and we just have to wait and see what the 2008 EPA number is for comparison purposes. I recommend that Smart have the test taken even if for some reason they don't have to so we will know what the comparo number is!!
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,422
    And, as you can see, the smart is significantly better mileage-wise than all of the cars you list. The 08 smart engine is larger and more powerful than the previous version. You give up darn little in terms of comfort (if any) and safety. None of the cars you list can be equipped with stability control, automatic climate control or clutch-less manual. Yes, you don't get a back seat. But you do get something for that. None of the cars you list are small enough to park nose-in to the curb in a regular parallel space.

    Again, the main thing working against the smart is the slow shifting of that automatic clutch manual. But I suspect most people won't even notice the shifts after they drive it awhile.
  • Uh Oh! I see no mention of a spare tire. Only the repair kit. that could be a deal breaker.

    Please provide insight regarding spare tire or lack of.

    Thanks,

    Sam in Anderson, SC
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,422
    No spare. No room for one. Only a repair kit. It has different sized tires on the front and rear too.

    Funny what different things are deal breakers for different folks. Years ago, I used to change my own tires. Don't do that now. If there is a flat (I sometimes haven't gotten one for many years) the road service takes care of it. Good enough for me, but that may not be so for you.
  • Yeah, I know what you mean. It would have worked for me in the past.

    Although I don't expect to be on trips with this car, there will be times when I go around 200 miles or so from home and having a flat would not be something I look forward to, particularly in the rain,at night, etc. Fixing a flat with the little kit would not be a big problem but one would certainly have to carry around a tire inflater ,12 volts or a regular bike pump. The real problem would be if one would have a blow out where it could not be fixed. Now that would be the pits late at night or on the road.

    I would think that for a spare, the size difference would be ok for a short period since both sizes are 15". I don't even pull my boat trailer without having a spare with me. I see too many folks who have trailer flats and no spare.

    I sure am going to give this spare tire business some more thought. I am sorry I thought of that.

    Thanks for the response.
  • Do these cars have low-roll-resistant tires like the Prius? With my Prius, the gas mileage drops quite a lot if regular tires are used
  • bumpybumpy Posts: 4,435
    It does come with a can of fix-a-flat, and there are small air pumps that run off the power socket. If that still bothers you, you could buy a spare tire (or two, since the front and rears are different sizes) and stow them behind the seats if you don't need to put the seats back very far.

    As far as I know, the tires aren't LRR. That would help the mileage, but would also make the handling more skittish.
  • Thanks again.

    I want to view the space before deciding to see if I could get a spare tire in it and still have a little room. Of course, I have a few months to decide.

    Sam
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,422
    Yes, they still haven't even posted the dealers on the web site yet. That was supposed to be done by now. Am wondering if they will be able to roll these out in any quantity in the first quarter of 2008 as planned.

    I do hear that the transmission shifting has been much improved. That should help.
  • I guess that with no spare, no jack, etc. that will kill the deal for lots of folks. Maybe I will decide to wait for the toyota IQ or the VW POLO Diesel.

    Thanks for your response.

    Sam
This discussion has been closed.