the tool box full of wrenches hitting the pavement is exactly it! my service (Smart) guy said there are no shocks in front - just struts. and they said they checked everything possible and of course, couldn't find anything wrong.
i think i'll repost this as a new 'nuts and bolts' entry and see if anyone offers up anything new...
I've had my 2008 Passion for over a year. But all last winter (Seattle) it was in a garage at night. A few weeks ago (I park outside now) I got in to drive to work, it was 40 degrees out, i hit a bump, and thought that the front end had just FALLEN OFF!
I actually pulled over to get out and look. Felt like an idiot.
Now I'm really only noticing it a) when it's cold, b) first part of a drive (it dissipates after awhile).
If it keeps up, I HAVE to have the Service department do something. It's ridiculously loud and unnerving. The day I first took it in to the shop, I was seriously questioning whether I should be driving it or not. Every bump was causing the front end grinding noise.
Hello Kim. Just read your posting from last January on the front end noise. I'm having the exact same problem. Although I've had my Smart since over a year ago - this is the first I've noticed the noise. And I feel it's something to do with the cold.