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a2jack

Transmission from Hell.

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Hell, Michigan USA:The North American Car and Truck Of The Year Awards, has seen Smart 4-2 make it to the final 10 list. At least until John McElroy drove it. I quote: His words from Autoblog, yesterday, on his test drive of the Smart car (He is a judge of the event). On the Trans, he said : "The automatic gear box is enough to make you blow your brains out. There is a huge lag between every shift with the car momentarily bogging down until the the next gear engages. Ugh, a most unpleasent feeling."McElroy is on a number of radio stations across the country, and has a program on the Speed chanel. He is also a writer for major newspapers across the country.Whether he is biased or not, this trans is not fairing well with the auto writers in the US. IMO, Smart better fix it right, even if it causes a big delay in shipping out the cars.A2jack

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It is NOT an Automatic transmission!!! He should get his facts straight.

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yep wonder if he would say the same about any other MANUAL transmission car out there? Its MANUAL not Auto!Can you link to the article please?

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Get used to the idiocy, it will grow exponentially.

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This is the exact reason why putting this PNDR shifter crap in the NA cars was a huge mistake.At least with the N>+/- shifter it looks different so people might say "Oh well that's why it's weird". But they go in exepcting a conventional automatic (which it isn't) and yeah it's going to feel terrible.I have a feeling things are going to go very bad for smart in the US in a hurry. :/-Iain

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After just driving the car a few days ago...I totally agree, that they need to make the shifter LOOK different, because the TRANS is different! I had the benefit of researching & knowing about the unique transmission BEFORE I drove it, so I expected it to be different. But I'll bet the majority of people in line at the public events do NOT know how it's different, so when they get in & it looks the same as any other car, of course they are going to be disappointed!! Yep...smart better change something before they come to the US. And I think the cheapest thing is just to make the shifter different. Simple, low cost solution. Because I agree with previous posts & threads: the little car is quirky, and that's why we love it!!

Just my 2 cents.

Anita

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I have a feeling things are going to go very bad for smart in the US in a hurry. :/

Don't be all doom and gloom. People expect the car to be all kinds of things; some are bound to be disappointed. Current and future owners will do well to properly explain/show how to drive the car.

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What was the number one thing people in Canada (reviewers, whatever) complained about? The shifting. And it looked different, so even with that in it's favour it still got negativity. By making it look like every other car it's actually making the situation way worse because now people have a preconcieved expectation about what it should feel like.It would be like if you bought a car with door handles. And you pulled on the door handle, and nothing happens for 4 seconds, and THEN the door opens. The explanation from the manufacturer is "oh well it's different", but inside, you're just irritated that it takes so long to open the door.-Iain

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This is the exact reason why putting this PNDR shifter crap in the NA cars was a huge mistake.

At least with the N>+/- shifter it looks different so people might say "Oh well that's why it's weird". But they go in exepcting a conventional automatic (which it isn't) and yeah it's going to feel terrible.

I have a feeling things are going to go very bad for smart in the US in a hurry. :/

-Iain

I realize those who are associated with the 450 are set in their ways, but I don't really think the layout of the gear shift is (will be) the issue. The typical driver is not going to approach driving the 451 any differently because of the gearshift layout. Truth be told, most of the manual automatices sold here have the PRND with a +/- . Even if these aren't technically exactly the same type of transmission as the twofor, they are supposed to drive the same way, aren't they?

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This is the exact reason why putting this PNDR shifter crap in the NA cars was a huge mistake.

At least with the N>+/- shifter it looks different so people might say "Oh well that's why it's weird". But they go in exepcting a conventional automatic (which it isn't) and yeah it's going to feel terrible.

I have a feeling things are going to go very bad for smart in the US in a hurry. :/

-Iain

I realize those who are associated with the 450 are set in their ways, but I don't really think the layout of the gear shift is (will be) the issue. The typical driver is not going to approach driving the 451 any differently because of the gearshift layout. Truth be told, most of the manual automatices sold here have the PRND with a +/- . Even if these aren't technically exactly the same type of transmission as the twofor, they are supposed to drive the same way, aren't they?
yes, they are meant to drive the same as a traditional Auto. But as has been said adnausum, the fortwo does not have a traditional manumatic, it behave very much like a manual when it is shifting. People will notice. What they are doing is akin to selling mustard in a ketchup bottle

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At the Tulsa tour stop last weekend they made sure everyone knew before they drove the car what kind of transmission it was and the guy had a one minute lesson on how you could drive it and how it behaves. I guess they are trying to make sure that everyone knows it will not be like an automatic like we are use to. The one I drove in Auto mode drove like a dream to me. Pretty smooth.

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I like Iain's explanation about the door handles. It explains it perfectly to me. "The door handle LOOKS the same as any other door handle...why doesn't it ACT the same? Grrr..." I totally agree that they should make it distictly different, because the CAR is distictly different, with a distictly different tranny. (Could I say 'distictly different' any MORE???) LOL!!

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I realize those who are associated with the 450 are set in their ways, but I don't really think the layout of the gear shift is (will be) the issue. The typical driver is not going to approach driving the 451 any differently because of the gearshift layout. Truth be told, most of the manual automatices sold here have the PRND with a +/- . Even if these aren't technically exactly the same type of transmission as the twofor, they are supposed to drive the same way, aren't they?

But they won't.

The only similar cars with automated manuals are the VW Lupo, Renault Twingo, and Mitsubishi i. Any other car you see with +/- and is an automatic is just that - it's an automatic transmission, with a program over ride where you can pick the gear you want to be in. Shifting will be almost instant. That said I hate these.

The smart is different and that's the problem, the shifter will LOOK like an automatic + manual over ride, so people get in, expecting that (fast), and get total crap, and swear off the car as rubbish.

If only they'd left it the way it was in the old car (or as it will be in Europe), then people don't have pre-existing expectations, so they're not dissapointed when they get in and is like "Why is this so crap". They'll say "oh, that's different - but I can get used to it". It's so dumb. I normally put faith in huge companies saying "I'm sure they would have thought about this more than a whole bunch of internet forum kiddies" but honestly in this case, they made a huge mistake going this route.

I'd be very embarassed actually to have this new PNDR crap in a car because I'd feel very dumb using it. Like signing cheques for a mortgage with crayons. lol

-Iain

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I test drove the smart in Columbus, Ohio. I don't like automatic transmissions, so I drove the car in manual mode. I was satisfied with the way if behaved.( had to look up the term "automated manual" transmission. I had never heard of it before. I think somewhere I heard or saw a reference to it as a "clutchless transmission". The correct description would be "clutch-pedal-less" transmission. The description of "automated manual" transmission that I found described it as actually using TWO clutches. But the shifting is done by computer." So, as I think about it, if I can manually shift it so that it is smooth and without a delay, the computer that does it in "automated" mode should be able to do so also.)

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Glad you liked it. The smart's gearbox is driven through a single clutch though....unlike VW's DSG, which has two.

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Glad you liked it. The smart's gearbox is driven through a single clutch though....unlike VW's DSG, which has two.

Oh, I did not know that. I thought that the 2-clutch arrangement was required for an automated manual. But I see now that that is not so. Thanks. Guess I'll do a little more research so I understand the AMT concept better.

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This is the exact reason why putting this PNDR shifter crap in the NA cars was a huge mistake.

I'm sure someone out there will have their car idling in "DRIVE" without their foot on the brake on a slightly sloped driveway expecting the "automatic" to hold the car in place. The hill holder will release and the car will roll back over someones head and then it will be discovered that it is actually a manual transmission and smart will get sued by some clever lawyer who can expain how an automatic should operate. Personally, I love my transmission. All the advantages of a manual but without the annoying clutch pedal.

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Too many terms out there. Tiptronic, steptronic, shift-tronic, manumatic, sequential shifting etc. And now, DSG, DCT etc.Essentially this is a transmission w/o a torque converter, which regular automatic transmissions have. I think this ought to get through to most pple. When I test drove the SMART in May, that's exactly what I asked: Is there a torque converter? And no was the answer. That immediately clear things up.

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Too many terms out there. Tiptronic, steptronic, shift-tronic, manumatic, sequential shifting etc. And now, DSG, DCT etc.Essentially this is a transmission w/o a torque converter, which regular automatic transmissions have. I think this ought to get through to most pple. When I test drove the SMART in May, that's exactly what I asked: Is there a torque converter? And no was the answer. That immediately clear things up.

...except an automatic has band clutches and a whole lot of planetary gear sets stacked up. The smart is nothing like that.It's a manual transmission, with a motor that changes gears, and a second motor that opens/closes the clutch. END! Why must people over-complicate everything?-Iain

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Some manuals have torque converters....for example, some Unimogs ;)

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Has anyone noticed after confirming their Smart, when you look at the final page (for printing), here's what's listed under the engine:Engine/drivetrain1.0 L, 71 HP, 3 cylinder engine 5 speed automatic transmissionPaddle shiftersMaybe a better word would be a "pause-o-matic"? Oh well... I can just see 8-12 months after the 451 is introduced to the U.S. A person with a "wild-hair" will try to start a recall campaign against the fortwo saying the transmission is defective.This ought to be interesting...-Tom

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Same thing with the SMG offered in BMW M3. It is essentially a manual transmission. But folks who thought it's a auto transmission jumped at it only to sell it rather quickly because the "shifting wasn't smooth enough...".

...except an automatic has band clutches and a whole lot of planetary gear sets stacked up. The smart is nothing like that.It's a manual transmission, with a motor that changes gears, and a second motor that opens/closes the clutch. END! Why must people over-complicate everything?-Iain

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"It's a manual transmission, with a motor that changes gears, and a second motor that opens/closes the clutch. END! Why must people over-complicate everything? "-Iain______________________________________________________________________________________Thank you 'Duck'In one sentence you spoke volumes. Read, Reread and read again the above. Until you understand it, don't post with 'answers?', post only,if you must, with questions .Start With:A. A CONVENTIONAL single plate clutchB. A MANUALLY SHIFTED transmissiom If you don't thoroughly understand the above, do not proceed until you do.A1. Substitute a 'hydraulic' linkage for the 'mechanical' to engage and release the clutch. ie: master and slave clylinders as used in braking systems. (still foot operated pedal inside the car)A2. Substitute an electric motor for the hydraulic or mechanical systems. (No clutch pedal) If you don't thoroughly understand the above, do not proceed until you doSMART Car uses A2Then:B1. A manually shifted by driver, transmission.B2. substitute an electric motor for the driver's action to change gears.Smart Car uses B2 If you don't thoroughly understand the above, do not proceed until you doC1. Add the ability to the computer to decide (dependant on data input: speed,load,rpm, etc,etc) when to shift (up or down). This computer ability is turned on or off via the little button on the left side of shift knob.Smart Car uses A2 and B2 and C!. If you don't thoroughly understand the above, do not proceed until you doIf you have a question, PM me. If necessary I will provide my phone numberThorough understanding of the above enables one to feel in control, not controled, My Smart and I are 'ONE'. Only through this understanding do I owe the compliment from the "Tech" at Smart House that he had not witnessed a Smart car driven with verve (Up&Down shift) that smoothly and fast. BTW: Several cars had setup variants of the above:Renault (Optional) Dauphine, R10, Caravalle (Minus the computer the R10 was like the Smart car, The clutch,in this case, was vacuum operated, shifting was electric). The first time I drove one I nearly wet my pants with laughter. I put it in drive and floored it,held it there, it zoomed (Zoomed ?) in first and just like a little man was in the back, he released the clutch and released the accelerator, shifted to the next higher gear, engaged the clutch and resumed to my floored postion of the accelerator. What a kick ! !Comments ?Donald LaFavor

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