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Smart Tour USA Report



  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,437
    Again, it is not an automatic transmission. A robot shifts the clutch in and out for you. That is the lag, and I bet after a few miles behind the wheel, you wouldn't even attend to it, any more than you notice your own lazy shifts when driving a manual normally (not spiritedly). I do see that this will be a problem for smart. Most Americans would rather have an anemic 4 with a slush box than shift for themselves, so they are unlikely to take to a robot doing the clutching either.
  • What I would really like is to ditch the robot and just let me do the shifting with a clutch. I have owned many cars with automatic transmissions and manual transmissions. Also I have ridden motorcycles for years including riding sport bikes very fast on race tracks where smooth shifting technique is critical. So the shifting on the Smart really surprised me. Maybe I had too high expectations, but I was really excited with the paddle shifters until the first shift. I was expecting a smooth implementation. Honestly my first thought was how that transmission made it out of the design phase of the car! It is easily the worst shifting vehicle I have ever experienced. Maybe there is some technical reason due to engine placement and the car size that requires that particular transmission. I sent an e-mail to Smart asking if they were going to do something about it but have not received a reply yet. This day and age most vehicles work pretty well as the design and engineering have improved over the years and the Smart is no exception except for the transmission. I hope that Smart is reading these forums and doing something about it.
  • I called in this morning and cancelled my reservation. My next car will probably be a Mini Cooper or some as yet unavailable plug-in hybrid. I really liked the Smart Car as a concept but the test drive was an unpleasant surprise for both me and my wife. For those of you who buy the car...all I can say is enjoy it! The Smart Car is a really nice idea and maybe after they fix the problems we had with it we will get one too.
  • Hey velociraptor- what problems did you expreience during the test drive, I haven't heard of many negative experiences surrounding the test drives- it usually convinces people that they love smart even more.. I am curious to know why you didn't like it?
  • gregg_vwgregg_vw Posts: 2,437
    It's always the shifting. Some people don't like the manual transmission that shifts itself (does its own clutching). It doesn't feel like a smooth shifting automatic...shifts are slower and much more noticable. Doesn't bother me though, it is what it is...which is not an automatic. For that trade-off though, you don't have to do the clutching and you get better mileage than if it were a real automatic.
  • The transmission was my biggest problem. That was probably the main factor I cancelled my $99 reservation and got a Mini Cooper. On a side note, looks like Toyota is coming out with a Smart copy calls the iQ.

  • Two things. First was the shifting. Second was that my very short wife did not fit properly in the car. There is nothing wrong with the shifting. It is just very slow and not so smooth. Some people have no problem with that and others like me do not like it. I did not like the shifting after about two gear changes. It is purely a personal preference and nothing more. If the shifting does not bother you and you fit in the car fine then you are going to love the car. :)
  • All the test models were regular (non-powered) steering. I tried to do a simulated emergency lane change, and gave up after an almost full turn of the wheel. Maybe PS will be quicker steering. And just like my Focus SVT, turning off the A/C made a big difference in initial acceleration; needs a load sensing clutch on A/C compressor. I'm still considering.
  • bumpybumpy Posts: 4,435
    I went to the final Road Tour today, and this one had USDM models. Pretty much the same as the earlier Euro-spec cars apart from the obvious differences (speedo, the PRND + - markings on the shifter console).

    The transmission was a LOT nicer than the earlier one. There is still a mild delay and hitch in automatic mode, but it's far more subdued than before. (Maybe a bit like driving a regular automatic with a shift kit to tighten up the gear changes?) If you put it in manual mode using the paddles or bumping the shift lever and lift off the gas for a moment (anti-blip the throttle, as it were), the shifts are as smooth as a baby's bum. :shades:
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