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Smart Fortwo

patpat Posts: 10,421
edited September 2014 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: 15,867
    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.

    2008 Sebring Ragtop, 2011 Hyundai Sonata, 2014 BMW 428i convertible, 2015 Honda CTX700D

  • 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: 15,867
    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.

    2008 Sebring Ragtop, 2011 Hyundai Sonata, 2014 BMW 428i convertible, 2015 Honda CTX700D

  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Posts: 15,867
    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

    2008 Sebring Ragtop, 2011 Hyundai Sonata, 2014 BMW 428i convertible, 2015 Honda CTX700D

  • 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: 15,867
    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.

    2008 Sebring Ragtop, 2011 Hyundai Sonata, 2014 BMW 428i convertible, 2015 Honda CTX700D

  • 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: 9,403
    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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  • 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: 9,403
    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: 9,403
    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 ;)

    Edmunds Moderator

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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: 9,403
    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: 15,867
    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.

    2008 Sebring Ragtop, 2011 Hyundai Sonata, 2014 BMW 428i convertible, 2015 Honda CTX700D

  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 9,403
    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: 15,867
    No, that 33 in the Versa is not the highway number

    Its the EPA highway estimate, 24 city.

    2008 Sebring Ragtop, 2011 Hyundai Sonata, 2014 BMW 428i convertible, 2015 Honda CTX700D

  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 9,403
    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">.
  • bumpybumpy Posts: 4,435
  • :):):) 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 Pahrump, NevadaPosts: 31,444
    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: 2,437
    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: 15,867
    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.

    2008 Sebring Ragtop, 2011 Hyundai Sonata, 2014 BMW 428i convertible, 2015 Honda CTX700D

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