A recent issue of Consumers Reports is less than complimentary of the Smart For Two. Specifically, it criticizes engine performance, handling, suspension, and irregular shifting of the manual-automatic transmission. The only plus cited was great gas mileage. I have been a reservation holder since February, 2008, and expect delivery of my Smart in approximately March, 2009. Can any current Smart owners comment on CR's comments on the Smart For Two?
I bought the car to pay a relatively low price and still get great fuel efficiency and I got what I wanted
this is not a luxury car, suspension, what suspension? it is too small to get the automatic transmission to shift smoothly through the lower gears but you can do it manually, I love the way it handles and I have no idea what they mean about engine performance unless they are criticizing the fact that it is a three cylinder, 71 hp engine - if you want a race car don't buy a smart
Foothill: Thanks for the feedback; as for performance, I realize a 71 hp engine will not provide performance. That's why I also own a Carrera. I'm glad to hear that you like the handling, and of course, the fuel economy is particularly important, with $4 gas for the foreseeable future... Thanks again.
My experience is that Consumer Reports is stricken with Japanese cars and not much else. In a review about the Toyota Matrix and its twin the Pontiac Vibe, the adjectives they used for the Matrix were more positive than the ones for the Vibe. They are made in the same factory and have the same engine, transmission, and suspension! My wife has the Vibe. The smart is a fun car to drive and it gets good mileage. It isn't fast on pickup and on a blustery day, you need to have both hands on the wheel if you're on the interstate. I've had mine for a month and really enjoy it. I drive 50 miles round trip every day to work. Big trucks don't seem to bother it and I haven't had any difficulty merging into traffic or keeping up - even going up hill. My only concern is that there is no spare - only a can of flat fix and an electric pump that plugs into the 12 volt power port under the dash. I've had two blowouts in other vehicles on the way to work because of trash on the road. If I hadn't had a spare, I would have been stranded because the tires in both instances were totally destroyed.
The smart is a blast to drive. It doesn't accelerate like a bigger engined car but it goes like crazy in the first two gears and cruises at 75-80 mph just fine. The middle gears tend to be a little sluggish but this is only in full automatic mode- just slip it into manual and you can hold 2nd, hold 3rd, hold 4th, then settle into 5th.
Does Consumer Reports ever judge a car on how much fun it is? Is there a convertible in the smart's price range that delivers smart mileage, easy of city use, and sheer fun to drive? I'm not aware of any.
The spare can be put together by buying a steel wheel from your dealer and a tire from Tire Rack.
My wife drives a big Benz- a 560 SEC. Fabulous on a long road trip- comfortable, VERY fast, big trunk, great seats. If she has to run an errand she grabs the keys to my smart.
How about getting run-flat tires instead of spare. I haven't priced them yet but it may be an option. I don't have my smart yet but I've been driving various cars for twenty years and have only had one flat but never while driving. I'm not too concerned but I will look into run-flats.
In the "first drive" review by Consumer Reports (CR), you will notice that CR recommended the Honda Fit over the smart. CR failed to mention the all of the other competition. Why? Because this is their mode of operation as it has been for years. The fit does not measure up in several areas. It does not have stability control or side curtain air bags standard, and cost thousands more to equip it that way. The fit also exceeds the smart in several areas like passenger and luggage capacity. The smart is what you make of it. It is more like art than machine. If you trust in Consumer Reports opinions (not facts), I would not recommend getting a smart. If you expect the smart to be similar to a 4000 lb Lexus, you have unrealistic expectations. While the smart does encroach into Lexus territory in some areas (technology and fit/finish), it is not and should not be compaired to a 4000 lb Lexus. Some "automotive" writers have written negative comments about the transmission. What they seemingly fail to realize is that the smart's transmission is a manual transmission that shifts itself. While you still put the gear shift in "D" like an automatic, it is not an automatic and also should not be compaired to one. The car drives exactly like a manual transmission car only you have don't do the shifting. It makes me wonder if some of these writers have ever driven a manual transmission vehicle. We ordered the smart as an added vehicle to the family for driving to school and errands. We are happy to report we recently drove the vehicle on a 650 mile round trip and got 42 mpg average with 2 people, luggage and the a/c on in safe comfort. It serves the intended purpose very well and we have had no issues. We frequently have to make decisions on who gets to drive the car. So to remedy that, we have ordered a Cabrio in the new rally red. Can't wait to get it.