Chrysler has firmed up its plans on the Fiat 500...Beginning late in 2010,It will be produced in Mexico and its 1400 cc engine will be produced in Michigan...102 HP and a later turbo version of 175HP...It promises to be stiff competition for the Smart...Smart badly needs more HP...

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Why does the smart...a "city car"...need more horsepower? It certainly isn't needed around town. And I don't have problems accelerating onto the tollway, nor merging into traffic.

The European Smart turbo engine would satisfy MY "perceived" need if made available in the USA...

LeMayzingSmartie said:
Why does the smart...a "city car"...need more horsepower? It certainly isn't needed around town. And I don't have problems accelerating onto the tollway, nor merging into traffic.
There are dozens of cars that compete every day with the smart- They just aren't sold here. The 500 will be an instant hit. However it won't necessarily cut into smart sales but might instead broaden the market for smaller cars. Right now the smart is an anomoly and many people view it as a toy. Think about how often people ask if you drive it on the freeway. I tell them it's small but it's still a real car. Add one or two more micro compacts to the mix and suddenly tiny cars become a reality. With only about 30,000 smarts a year sold, about 60,000 total in the US many people still have never seen one. Imagine that instead of a single smart in a supermarket lot there is a smart, a 500, an IQ (or two). The DinoBurbans might stop being the norm.
Jim,
Very good insight, never thought of it that way. I also think that the Fiat 500 competes more with the Yaris, Versa, Soul, xB and the like.
I like the idea of more small cars in the market. Maybe they will not be perceived as niche cars but part of the mainstream. Small begets small.
Funny how things change- The Fiat 500 (Cinquecento in Italian) had 500cc. The new one should be called the Milli-Quatrocento (1400cc) !
LeMayzingSmartie said:
Why does the smart...a "city car"...need more horsepower? It certainly isn't needed around town. And I don't have problems accelerating onto the tollway, nor merging into traffic.

Because most of us do not have the extra cash to just have a "city" car... It just might have to go up on the Highways of the vast US... and that takes more than the 70hp but most importantly the crappy tranny should be nixed.
I love my smart but agree with Sato. 85-95 HP and a smooth shifting automatic would make it a much better highway and all-around car. Also, upholstery that was more resistant to cigar ash!
I drive my smart on the highway every day, and have driven it on several out-of-state trips already. But my comment still stands--I don't have any problems accelerating or merging onto highways, or driving the speed limit. And the "crappy tranny" is less of an issue on the highway than it is around town, as there is less need for shifting.

That being said, the smart was not built to be a "trip" car--the aerodynamics are poor, there isn't a lot of luggage space, the short wheelbase makes rural roads a pain. It's built to be a city car for the narrow streets, limited parking, and short commutes of European cities. Anyone buying one in the U.S. has to consider those factors and perhaps decide that the smart choice...isn't a smart car.
Nothing is static. Of course the smart is what it is- However the 450 had a 600cc motor which was replaced with 700cc- Now 1000cc. The 450 has an automatic. Shifting is much smoother than the 451. The jerkyness and lag can be fixed.
Don't get me wrong either, I love my smarty. I just have big issues with THE CITY CAR that has a crappy tranny and is at its worst IN the city....
I too have taken my smart on long drives, 500-600 miles at a time with no issues other than the usual encountered by its boxy aerodynamics. aside from that I have seen the mph cutoff maybe "once".... We must face the reality that the smart will not get better highway manners until they totally redesign the rear suspension. That my friends is a long ways off. I just hope the spy shots of a 451 with much wider suspension recently is a glimpse of things to come. I don't want the smart to be taller or longer, width if it does not take away from the look and charm of the car but gives engineers room for a better suspension and a double clutch tranny I'm all for it.

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