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Old 04-27-2008, 05:53 PM   #1
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2008 Smart fortwo 400 mile review

Picked up the Smart yesterday and as of today I have 400 miles on it. Filled up once and got the EPA mileage of 40mpg. Pretty good considering I did not baby it and the engine is still tight. I've heard reports from other owners who have several thousand miles and they are getting mid 40's to mid 50's. If you have driven a Honda Insight, this car drives, rides & handles very similar.

Driving - It actually handles pretty good with an awesome turning radius. I doubt I'll take it auto-xing anytime soon but I have seen some people that have and they handle fine - better than some of the haters have portrayed them to handle. Passing 18 wheelers I didn't find as much of a hair raising experience as I've heard. It has a Electronic Stability Control that seems to work well, though it does have issues when you take the car off roading which I won't get into. The seats sit well too, a very comfortable ride. That being said, that is at 31psi. I just bumped the tires up to 39.5psi so we'll see how much of a hit I take on ride quality. The paddle shifters are fun fun fun!!! Just like a video game! When you're bored, just pop back over to automatic. The automatic takes some getting used to, it's actually a manual with an automatic clutch - feels really weird until you get used to it. The tranny takes some beating from reviewers because they don't drive it long enough.

Speed - I cruised on the interstate and had it up 90mph at one point just to see how she'll go. The rest of the time I hung at 70mph. In this little car you don't seem to get the same run up on your booty similar to what you get in other cars. It seems most people are amazed it is going that fast and you must be pegged out at the time - they just go around no problems.

Parking - What can I say, it's friggin awesome!!! Went to Wally World yesterday and a front parking spot had one of those electric buggies taking up half the space due to the cart retrieval people not doing their job. No one could park in that spot because that was there...no one except for me!

Workmanship - I must say I was scared to buy a car made in France. That being said, while growing up my father used to bring home Renault demos from the dealer he worked at all the time in the early 70's and owned quite a few too. The overall quality is great, let me rephrase that, AWESOME for an almost all plastic car. Body panel fit is nice. This morning I started pulling the carpet back to look at welds, NICE JOB, they are excellent plus the paint is even thick in the out of sight areas.

Safety - Great ratings, 4 stars on par or better than many other cars out there. 4 airbags total and a "safety cell" which is essentially a factory roll bar that goes all the way around the passengers. There have been a few wrecks out there so far and from what I've seen, the cars AND trucks that hit the Smarts received more damage than the Smarts themselves. They seem to bounce right out of the way. What if you get hit by an 18 wheeler? Is that before or after you get hit by that stray meteor?

The Good - I think the sky is the limit for mileage and the whole EPA mileage for these is a load of..well you know. The SPG's for this is off the hook. What? You don't know what SPG is? That's Smiles Per Gallon . A truly fun car to drive. If you are starved for attention than this is the car for you. You'll get more attention than Pamela Andersen walking topless through a church. This is not a car you want to pick your nose in. Most people seem to love it and it gets lots of questions - this car gets more attention than some of the other cars I drive (not listed in my garage - '30 Chevrolet Street Rod/'63 Corvette Split Window Coupe) Interior is a lot bigger than it lets on to be. I fit a full grocery cart's worth of food in it this evening.

The Bad - The standard radio just plain sucks. I was also told this would have Sirius satellite radio capability which it doesn't. Availability of parts/dealers. It's a task to even find tune up parts. I normally keep a stockpile of spare parts and not much can be found, when it can be found it isn't cheap. You have to a lot extra time when you go someplace to answer questions. Then there's the haters, I heard a woman talking to another woman about it one was positive while the other said, "I'd kill the whole rain forest driving my Navigator".

Conclusion - I LOVE it. Now I know I could of gotten a Yaris for just slightly less money, I looked at them, test drove them etc. I also drove the Accent, a much nicer car than the Yaris IMO but it's more $$ and of course it has the Hyundai quality everyone is so scared of (not an issue, I think they do good) I also could of bought 10 nice Geo Metros like the one I used to have. One thing I love about the Smart is it is easy to change the color. If you know how to paint, it is a cinch as you don't have to worry about jamming it out. 2.5 hours to pull the panels and then you paint them the color you want.

Our SECOND Smart will be in sometime around November through January 09 time frame - that is how happy I am with it! Remember, I am a car guy - I can understand if you aren't a "car person" you'd think it's impractical. OK, let me put on my flak vest - there, it's on...fire away.





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Old 04-27-2008, 06:00 PM   #2
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It says in your info on the Smart car that you bought it new yesterday (April 26/08). Must be a mistake?
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Old 04-27-2008, 06:10 PM   #3
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Nope, I already have 400 miles on it. Picked it up early yesterday morning and had a fairly long ride home - 300 miles. Took back roads just to keep the RPM's fluctuating and swing by a small town that is hometown to my wife's favorite author. By next Saturday I should have 1000 miles on it.
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Old 04-28-2008, 04:44 AM   #4
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wasabi,

a few questions. first of all I kinda like the little things. how is the pickup? the hp rating is only 73hp and I know it weighs like 1800lbs so how does that equate into pickup. I had a 3cyl metro, is it kind of like that?

also what about storage. from the pictures I have seen it looks like you have about the room of an extended cab pickup minus the bed. a friend and I were seriously considering one until we found out about the "year" wait (and I know it is 8mos to a year).

how long did you wait for yours? did it come faster? I know I have a lot of questions but I have been waiting to talk to an actual owner of one of these things. like you said, some people like them and some don't the ones who do like them talk about how great they are and the ones who don't talk about how they suck. I think it is the same way with everything.

they are funny looking, but for a guy that has owned two metros (jelly beans) and currently owns a honda element (the big blue box) it would probably fit in well for me.

thanks for the write up.
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Old 04-28-2008, 11:09 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wazabi Owner View Post
Nope, I already have 400 miles on it. Picked it up early yesterday morning and had a fairly long ride home - 300 miles. Took back roads just to keep the RPM's fluctuating and swing by a small town that is hometown to my wife's favorite author. By next Saturday I should have 1000 miles on it.
In my opinion, you shouldn't just rate the car on one day of long driving. There are many problems that can possibly come up after driving a car for a while, as well as realizing little things you actually don't like about a car.
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Old 04-28-2008, 01:53 PM   #6
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Glad you like it so much but . . . you sure are not breaking it in properly!
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Old 04-28-2008, 06:38 PM   #7
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BEEF- Acceleration compared to Geo. It's about the same, maybe a bit better. Your right on par with the interior space, most people are amazed once they sit in it - a few even get out and look at the car then get back in. If you're a Dr.Who fan - think "Tardis". I reloaded with a different pic for you. That was a shopping cart PLUS full of groceries in there. How I got it, I've been on the reservation list since early Sep last year. Once I got sick of waiting I added myself to a "orphan list" - if someone canceled a buy I was waiting in the wings. Color wasn't a problem so they called me with the first that came available. Check with your closest dealer and find out about them. It does pay to remind them you are interested once on the list - if it's a reputable dealer they won't markup the price either.

AMX- I see where you are coming from on YOUR OPINION. Now, if you could do me a favor - after you read this - I'll even put it down into easy steps.

Step 1 - Get the email addresses for the editorial department of the following magazines

Car & Driver
Road & Track
Motor Trend
Consumer Reports

Step 2 - Use the same format letter for all the magazines and complain to the them about how things like "How can you judge if a car is a piece of garbage (or great) after driving it around town a few times then taking it out and beating the crap out of it on a race track in unrealistic day to day driving conditions?"

You might not word it the same way, but it is pretty much what they do. Do they put 400 miles on it in real world driving conditions? Probably just about that. In hindsight, I should of worded the beginning of the first paragraph....This is my OPINION SO FAR. That most likely would of been better as it leaves me open for a follow up report - of course I will most likely report back in a few months with any problems that do or don't arise. Plus just like you mentioned, those little things I do or don't like after more wheel time. Anyhow....I wasn't giving a final rating, just MY opinion after 400 miles.

JanGeo- I see where you're coming from. I've always heard 50/50 on break-in. What I mean by 50/50 is half of the enigne builders I know say baby it as if it is your only child and you're now shooting blanks while the other half says run it very hard and break it in good. (I've always said the latter but my engine building days stopped about 20 years ago - we had a full machine shop for several years) I've actually kept it somewhere in the middle of both of what I mentioned - which is exactly what the manufacture recommended oddly enough.
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Old 04-28-2008, 07:08 PM   #8
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wasabi,

I like the car, I really do. I just worry about space. I think the gas mileage will get better with time as it breaks in. as far as the pickup, my geo was aplenty for me alone. not so much with a few friends in the car but usually I am alone anyway.

the waiting list is a killer. I have always been one to want something and go and get it. I ordered my truck because I wanted a V8 with a manual and the 3 week wait was a killer for me (bought the truck when gas was $2 a gallon).

I think the smart car and cars like it are going to be a norm for america in the coming years. I am suprised the metro (or some new version) hasn't hit the scene yet. the yaris is close and the aveo is similar in size but that is about it.

nice car man. keep us posted on how it is doing
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Old 04-28-2008, 07:21 PM   #9
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I've got a buddy who has an Aveo and hasn't mentioned any quality issues and he drives the heck out of it. Personally, I think a Yaris would be the way to go for you if the wait is a killer. I'm the same way - the only way I did it this time was I bought 2 cars to hold me over until the wait got too much and then I went the orphan route.

A Yaris is a great car, many here can tell you that. I might of gotten one of those but the wife actually wanted the Smart - it had to grow on me and took a while for that to happen. I was originally one of those people who would say...$14,000 for that? There are plenty of other less than practical transportation choices out there for more money so $14k is OK for it by my book. Still, I could of gotten a really nice used Xb for that - just got word from my 80+ year old grandmother is going to get one. Tradin' in her Town Car!!


Quote:
Originally Posted by BEEF View Post
wasabi,

I like the car, I really do. I just worry about space. I think the gas mileage will get better with time as it breaks in. as far as the pickup, my geo was aplenty for me alone. not so much with a few friends in the car but usually I am alone anyway.

the waiting list is a killer. I have always been one to want something and go and get it. I ordered my truck because I wanted a V8 with a manual and the 3 week wait was a killer for me (bought the truck when gas was $2 a gallon).

I think the smart car and cars like it are going to be a norm for america in the coming years. I am suprised the metro (or some new version) hasn't hit the scene yet. the yaris is close and the aveo is similar in size but that is about it.

nice car man. keep us posted on how it is doing
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Old 04-28-2008, 07:31 PM   #10
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that is awesome about your grandma.

my dad actually test drove an aveo (the auto) he has to drive on the interstate a lot and I told him to kick it while going up a hill to see what the power was like. he looked at me. dead in the eye and said " I am". I was less than impressed with it especially when the sales lady wouldn't budge on the price. he ended up getting a corolla. that was before the yaris came out. or maybe it was just too new at that time, not sure. I have been thinking hard about a yaris. I would want a manual trans which is one thing that helps a lot in power and FE.

my old metro was a 5 speed. I did things in that car that I would never do in anything else. I did a 360 once, had it on two wheels. burn outs up to 4th gear. as light as it was the front end would hop. people didn't believe me until they saw it. I am better to my cars now. I treat them with a little more respect but that was a fun little car.
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