Author Topic: What about smart (TM) cars?  (Read 3242 times)

highwayskies

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What about smart (TM) cars?
« on: February 18, 2014, 07:00:01 AM »
Anybody have experience or advice regarding this car?  Was surprised it appeared nowhere in Top 10 Cars for Smart People.  Seems mustachian, but I have no car knowledge.

nereo

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Re: What about smart (TM) cars?
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2014, 07:36:56 AM »
I have not driven one, but I use Consumer Reports to research most of my car purchases.  The car didn't score very well overall.  Excellent owner costs and fuel economy (they reported 39mpg in mixed driving) but poor handling and a below average ride.  Accident avoidance was mediocre.
In terms of repairs, the '08 has done better than the '09, but still had a lot of minor transmission problems.
Overall it seems they liked the fuel efficiency and manuverability/parking but found everything else to be lacking.
They liked the Kia Rio and Chevy Sonic much, much better.  Both got around 30mpg in their testing.  The VW Golf TDI (diesel) was their highest 'fuel efficient small car' with 38mpg overall in testing and 49mpg on the highway.

some of their comments:
The Smart ForTwo's tiny size and turning circle make it a breeze to park. Its tiny engine returns excellent fuel economy. But the ForTwo requires premium fuel and there's little cargo room. Acceleration is slow, the transmission is jerky, and the ride is harsh. The ForTwo finished at the bottom of our subcompact car Ratings with a score of only 28 (out of 100)....

...has a harsh, choppy ride and crashes over bumps. On the highway, the ride remains stiff. Exhaust, wind, and road noise add up to a lot of noise, but the engine is often the worst offender. The Smart leans in corners and steering is sluggish, even with the optional power assist. On the highway, it is buffeted by winds or truck turbulence.

...There is a lot of space for two, but you sit close to the doors in this narrow car, limiting elbow room. The seating is high and most drivers found sufficient head room.

...Total capacity for occupants and cargo is 505 pounds.

...Many controls are poorly designed or located. Window controls are mounted too far back on the doors, the door lock button is on the dash, and the hard-to-read climate controls are mounted atop the dashboard, making them a reach.


foobar

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Re: What about smart (TM) cars?
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2014, 08:27:06 AM »
I tis a literal clown car:) They are awesome for city parking but thats about it. I think most people would be happier with a normal small car (think mazada 2, honda fit, chevy spark,....) but those cars definitely don't stand out anywhere near as much. It was fun to drive in the smart car but there is very little storage space.

That being said I am a little tempted to get to get an electric one to drive around town in (not taking many trips with a 70mi range) but I will not pretend that is a smart money move.


Anybody have experience or advice regarding this car?  Was surprised it appeared nowhere in Top 10 Cars for Smart People.  Seems mustachian, but I have no car knowledge.

highwayskies

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Re: What about smart (TM) cars?
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2014, 08:38:49 AM »
Thanks, great info!  I had an 06 xB, and will likely go that direction again.

seattlecyclone

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Re: What about smart (TM) cars?
« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2014, 09:38:43 AM »
I drove one once for a few minutes. I wasn't a huge fan. The controls were a bit hard to find (though I'm sure you would get used to them). The fuel economy is decent, but worse than you would expect for a car that small. I hear that the manual transmission version drives much better than the automatic.

Jamesqf

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Re: What about smart (TM) cars?
« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2014, 11:00:29 AM »
I have not driven one, but I use Consumer Reports to research most of my car purchases.  The car didn't score very well overall. 

Except that you have to remember that CR rates cars according to its own standards, which are mostly subjective and aimed at the overstuffed rides-like-a-waterbed set.  So their idea of 'poor handling' might translate to really responsive steering, 'below average ride' to road feel, etc.

nereo

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Re: What about smart (TM) cars?
« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2014, 11:09:57 AM »
Except that you have to remember that CR rates cars according to its own standards, which are mostly subjective and aimed at the overstuffed rides-like-a-waterbed set.  So their idea of 'poor handling' might translate to really responsive steering, 'below average ride' to road feel, etc.

True - I start with CR and then go test things out myself.  What I like about CR is that they provide lots of data in all categories.  They give their subjective analysis on things like handling, but they also report quantitative data on things like braking, acceleration, average repair costs, fuel economy, and summarize car info from other sources like crash-test scores, storage space, weight, etc.  They compile thousands of owner surveys you can read through, and link to service recalls.  They note which years had repair problems as well as which years had major redesigns.

If there's a place that provides as much data on as many cars sold in North America, I haven't found it.