I don't get the Smart Car

Discussion in 'Mercedes-Benz' started by seanof30306, Sep 24, 2008.

  1. jkp1187

    jkp1187 Well-Known Member


    You might want to consider sitting in one first and test-driving it before rejecting it out of hand due to comfort. From some of the reviews I've read, the car seats tall/large people surprisingly well.

    I really thought the car was neat when I first heard of it. I became a little more disappointed the more I learned, though. The MPG is just...okay considering how small it is (but still really good.) The thing I was most disappointed about was the price. At $7k or 8k, it's awesome, and I'd really, really think about devoting the money to buying one for puttering around town and occasionally driving to work (which for me, requires a trip on the highways...oddly, I live in the city and work in the suburbs.) At $11.5k MSRP (and closer to $14k fully equipped, and that's before tax/title,) there are plenty of other cars in that fuel economy ballpark that have a lot more usable space for about the same price. (Oh, and everyone has complained about the automanual transmission.)

    Still, a cute car. And I'd feel safer taking the smart car on the highways instead of a motorcycle. (Just me though.)
  2. WriConsult

    WriConsult Super Moderator

    Good point about the TDI. 1999.5-2002 TDIs like mine were rated higher than the Smart (even under the '08+ EPA regime!), but the relatively thirstier new ones are not. I forgot about that.

    And good point about the price. The Smart is barely half the price of any available hybrid.

    HAFNHAF Well-Known Member

    i, too, dont get the smart4/2. weighs about the same as my insight, same size engine, about the same hp. storage space? i dont know. i have never run out of room in the insight, and never blocked my view out the back window. yet i have been averaging 76 mpg over the last 12 months. 10.6 seconds 0-60 vs 16 or 17? no thanks. (not that i do that very often, but its there. 70 mph in second is fun for highway merging ;) )

    i guess i just dont get it...
  4. jdhog

    jdhog Hyper Smiler

    Real small car like that is more geared to inner city driving, easy to park, easy to drive down narrow roads without losing wing mirrors, parking in tiny spots. I've seen em around in England a bunch. Maybe when the US gets more populated, houses built closer together etc they will make more sense.
  5. Mr. Pancake

    Mr. Pancake Well-Known Member

    The downfall of the smart is that it was designed by Daimler, i.e. Chrysler [until very recently] who have an amazing two cars that get 30 mpg.
  6. Mike T

    Mike T smart car dummy

    The magazines I've read show 0-60 MPH in about 12-13 seconds for the gas version....versus 11. Not much in it, is there?

    That's fine if you don't get it, it is not a car for the masses (though it handily outsold the Insight).

    Mine is a convertible, has deliciously comfortable heated seats, 4 airbags, ESP and ABS, cruise, electric headlight adjusters, shifter paddles, averages over 60 US MPG (diesel) lifetime on wide wheels and tires; the top is always down when the weather is nice and I do zippo to maximise fuel economy, just drive sensibly. I could average 75+ US MPG if I was committed, as others in Canada have done.

    Summary: It is a unique car for certain people, not at all a competitor for the Yaris, Rio etc. People looking for the best fuel economy in a dirt cheap car ought not to even look at a smart.
  7. Right Lane Cruiser

    Right Lane Cruiser Penguin of Notagascar

    Mike, you have a very nice car. :)

    Personally, I think 60mpg is the "magic number" most people would expect to see out of a car that size. If the gas version got that I doubt many people here would compare it to the Yaris or Fit.
  8. Mike T

    Mike T smart car dummy

    I should add that the smart is a bit like the original Insight, meaning not a car for everyone, but those who like them, love them. They're both really good at what they do for their owners.

    As for the smart's status in the USA....Roger Penske estimated over a year ago that he could sell 20,000 per year. In this first year of sales, they will probably deliver about 28,000, and the waiting list is well over a year long now. Supply is the problem.
  9. Kinder

    Kinder Well-Known Member

    I've thought it might be fun to have a Smart as a second vehicle; like others, it is a tough compromise to make though. My Scion xB would be my "family truckster" and the Smart would be the commuter car. I figure if I had a 1 car garage, I might well fit both in there--the Scion is a full foot shorter than a Civic or Corolla, and the Smart of course is as short as it gets. Total length would be 210" which is a foot shorter than a Suburban! So efficiency can be measured in other ways than pure FE, though of course FE remains the key stat.
  10. 93Hatch

    93Hatch Well-Known Member

    I think they are great to at least get people rethinking their transportation needs. But it really won't work for me and my commute. And Wayne, about drawing attention to myself that is really the least of my reasons for buying a car personally. That is what I perceive to be the motivation behind all the Escalade and Hummer purchases, the "look at me" factor. But then I guess those same people might consider the Smart car for the same reason. Hmm...
  11. flatty

    flatty Member

    Re: mileage, my retired buddy's smart is getting 50mpg around town (country). He doesn't know from hypermiling. I'm not sure what more you'd expect from a gas car that's half the cost of a Prius?
  12. Mike T

    Mike T smart car dummy

    I park my Peugeot 404 Coupé Injection (4.5 metres long) and the smart fortwo cdi (2.5 metres long) in tandem in my 7.5 metre deep garage with some room to spare!
  13. pdw

    pdw Well-Known Member

    Low amount of Parking Space was one main reason it was desireable; ... and FE.

    It also boosted sales in Mb dealerships ... breathed some life into many lonely showrooms because of the low ticket.

    Relatively low FE for its size is partly because an automatic uses up more power. Salespeople know that those sell better ... and inserting a manual among the mix sometimes just makes for more (and not necessarily as productive an) inventory. In that sales setting it seems obvious that taking away the stick-option also takes away some confusion (the extra words) , which like one poster already said (less words) 'clinches deals'.

    (For example having a standard on the lot always showed a higher EPA on the window sticker; ... Mb dealers I don't believe had many sticks displayed as I recall)
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2008
  14. Right Lane Cruiser

    Right Lane Cruiser Penguin of Notagascar

    Actually, parasitic losses from the manumatic in the Smart are minimal because it is nothing more than an automated manual transmission. There is a slight weight penalty -- that's about it.

    The engine really is that inefficient. :(
  15. pdw

    pdw Well-Known Member

    Are eng-rpms and body-Cd both go too high for this size/type of car ?? :cool:

    [The automatically-shifted manual is sometimes set to dictate higher shift speeds than what we get away with on the conventional manual ... this might also in-part contribute to lowering FE.]
  16. Right Lane Cruiser

    Right Lane Cruiser Penguin of Notagascar

    According to Wayne (who reviewed this car) the shift points were pretty reasonable. It just isn't very efficient. Sort of like my cast iron block Elantra engine -- it is oversized and overpowered for the job. The only reason I get good numbers is the amount of I time I spend coasting ICE off.
  17. pdw

    pdw Well-Known Member

    The one I test drove ... same thing was noticeable (ie lots of throttle to make it go).

    The sales department 'encouraged' to take it for a spin on the Highway. The on ramp was down in a bit of a valley where I needed to pull over just-quickly to adjust something (seat or seatbelt, .... I forget) . The salesman was surprised .... since he wanted me to rev it right there to match traffic flow merging on with the desired momentum in one smooth movement .... to show off it's fine power and performance.

    But right there is where I realized full available power in use (no excess power left-over at that point) .... while re-engaging this two seat Smart Car in the restart up that grade ... full throttle, no luggage with minimum fuel .... showed its limit.

    I guess you'd want to make sure a small engine like that has ample cooling at times .... who knows ... maybe that's got something to do with it.
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2008
  18. phoebeisis

    phoebeisis Well-Known Member

    The main problem with the fit is that the Corolla is so inexpensive. The Corolla is so cheap($13000 before the fuel runup with a MT), and so good-a casual driver can get 30 mpg city and 40 mpg hy- that it doesn't make any sense to buy anything else!!

    The Smart is a great idea, but the Corolla is cheaper,and much more versatile.

    The problem with all small cars is the Corolla- it is just too good a driving appliance for too little money!

    Once GM brings in their 1.4 liter Cobalt replacement maybe the Corolla will actually have real competition.

    I say all this even though I'm a bit of a Toyota "disliker." I like Honda much more than Toyota(despite 8 vs 2 Toyota vs Honda new cars), and a root for GM more than any of them(despite owning just 2 GMs, none new)).Toyota sells a lot of car for the $$(if you can get past their swindling dealers)
  19. Ford Man

    Ford Man Well-Known Member

    What is the EPA estimated highway MPG? Something like 42 I think? That's what the highway EPA rating was on my '88 Escort when new. It'll seat 4 average size adults and a child reasonably comfortable and you still have a trunk for groceries, luggage, or just those packages from Walmart. Even with a 42 MPG Highway rating I'm getting almost 45 average over the last 7500 miles in city/highway combined driving. This is out of a 20 year old car that has nearly 500,000 miles on it and I can run regular gas. I agree that a car that size should be getting 60+ MPG.
  20. Mike T

    Mike T smart car dummy

    You probably would be getting close to 60 if you drove a smart, if you can get 45 from an Escort. The EPA ratings are not at all comparable....

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