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FPjohn

Edmunds on 451 Passion

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If you get caught in a crosswind, or the tail wind from a transport truck, you do feel it in the 451. It's not really as bad as it is being made out to be though - it is only slightly worse than my slab-sided VUE. I think this is a case of the journalists looking for something to be drastically different because the car is so drastically different from anything else on the road in the US.I've ridden in a 450 on the highway (Duck's actually), and it seemed to be quite stable at speed.Regarding the transmission - it seems to be about on par with how fast I shift my standard (clutched) manual around town... the only case being that you can't exactly rush a shift in the smart if needed like you can with a traditional manual.

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I have noticed it. I noticed it more on the base model with the tinier tyres..... but I would say that it is quite scarey. You kind of drive along and as you pass the truck usually around 120kmph you feel like you are sling shot towards the other side of the road. Of course it doesn't push you that far... but enough to feel it and dent your confidence.

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Interesting. I stay well behind a transport and move only when in their mirrors and back again when they are in mine. The pure does judder slightly coming out of an underpass in a high wind, mass and shape do have an effect!yoursFPJ

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I have driven both the 450 (own one for 2.5 years) and had a 451 as a loaner from MB (one time for 1.5 weeks)Transmission: Anyway you say it the transmission on both models is a "standard transmission". So in my opinion the smart is a lot easier to shift gears than a regular standard transmission on any other car I have driven. Also my wife who only drives "automatics" can drive my car as well by putting in "softouch". If you look at it as this car has an "automatic transmission", you will IMHO always be disappointed. The funny thing that I noticed with myself in both cars is that I always use the paddles and shifter on my 450 and when I used the 451 I always kept it in softouch. I think I am easily led by the type of shifter.Crosswinds and transport trucks: There is some movement and swaying when you have cross winds. After driving the smart for a month or so you certainly do not notice it as much because IMHO you get tuned to it and automatically adjust without doing much thinking. Again with transport trucks, as they go by you, there is a bow wave as they pass and then there is the back wash after they have passed. You soon get use to this and are always aware of it and adjust to it automatically. My subjective option: If you like a car where you put it in gear and then semi go to sleep as you drive, then do not buy a smart. If you like a car where you have to drive it and like some fun while doing so, then by all means look at a smart.Roy

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Interesting. I stay well behind a transport and move only when in their mirrors and back again when they are in mine. The pure does judder slightly coming out of an underpass in a high wind, mass and shape do have an effect!yoursFPJ

Sorry I should have mentioned that is when there is 2 lanes each way... I don't mean doing an overtake. So I was never actually behind the truck. Only beside it passing.

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I've ridden in a 450 on the highway (Duck's actually), and it seemed to be quite stable at speed.

Part of that is the driver :D-Iain

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Part of that is the driver :D-Iain

because however unstable the car got it never quite compared to the driver. hehe :lol:

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because however unstable the car got it never quite compared to the driver. hehe :lol:

Uh... zing :)No, Iain's a good driver... I never feared for my life in DC traffic with him at the wheel :)Now... would he say the same about me...?

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Depends. If it's a calm day then it's not too bad... sometimes you don't feel it at all but if there is a strong crosswind, boy will you feel it. I know cause I just drove across Canada and in AB, I encountered strong southerly winds. My wheel was permanently lodged to the left to keep the car going straight. Anytime a semi or truck with a trailer passes by, I'll get "sucked" into the left lane as the vehicle blocks the wind and my car (which was pointing to the left) now veers to the left. Plus the speed increases as you're no longer fighting the wind. Then when they pass completely, it's back to business as usual. I burned quite a bit of fuel on that Alberta stretch.

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Depends. If it's a calm day then it's not too bad... sometimes you don't feel it at all but if there is a strong crosswind, boy will you feel it. I know cause I just drove across Canada and in AB, I encountered strong southerly winds. My wheel was permanently lodged to the left to keep the car going straight. Anytime a semi or truck with a trailer passes by, I'll get "sucked" into the left lane as the vehicle blocks the wind and my car (which was pointing to the left) now veers to the left. Plus the speed increases as you're no longer fighting the wind. Then when they pass completely, it's back to business as usual. I burned quite a bit of fuel on that Alberta stretch.

This has been my experience also here on the prairies. In the mountains we had no wind concerns whatsoever, although the dusty stretches around the Grand Coulee Dam area of Washington state were a bit dicey. Tail or head winds, no problem. Strong side winds, constantly unnerving. Whether because passing semis or due to light terrain variations causing gusting, this car feels the wind and you have to stay on your toes!My old ford falcon van and my volkswagen rabbit also felt the wind and the difference is slight, so it's not unique to the smart.

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Concerning the edwards.com test I will not repeat positive assessments here, but as a fan of this car, I am going to try to shed some different light on the negative points stated (all citations are numbered):( 1 ) Cons: Herky-jerky automatic gearboxIt is only herky-jerky if you accelerate full-throttle. The less you press the accelerator lever, the smoother it changes gears, up to the point where you can tell only from the engine noise that it happened.( 2 ) Cons: seats only twoThis is where I get a little upset. When will you guys stop comparing a two-seater with a four-seater? Or a sedan with a truck? Or apples with bananas? The Smart "fortwo" is not a four-seater, it is not a cargo champion, it is not a long-range cruiser, it is not a racing car. It is designed, among other things, for low running costs, low environmental impact, easy parking, and simply having fun. And last, but not least, it is made for singles and couples who would have to buy over-dimensioned cars otherwise.There is currently no other car in the world that falls into this category (two-seater, shortest reasonable length) and that the Smart could be compared with. This is not good with respect to competition, but a fact.( 3 ) Cons: gets buffeted on the highway by stiff crosswinds and big trucksTrue, but desired in my case. I like to have contact with driving physics in order to be aware of my speed in relation to environmental conditions. I prefer this to a top-notch BMW (which I cannot afford, but have driven once) where only the tachometer gives an indication that you just passed the 200 km/h marker.( 4 ) automated clutch manual gearbox ... An annoying lag during upshifts makes it feel as if the Smart's catching its breath between gearchanges, and makes you feel like a bobble-head doll with your noggin pitching forward and then back with the first couple of upshifts.See ( 1 ).( 5 ) you can at least smooth out the hiccups in the acceleration by lifting off the gas slightly before flicking the paddle or floor-mounted leverThat is exactly the effect I described under ( 1 ), only you need not to do any kick-down stunts in the first place (Remember? It is not a racing car).( 6 ) but when you consider what you're giving up in terms of passenger and cargo capacityHere it is again. See ( 2 ).( 7 ) Smaller bumps and ruts are absorbed without drama, but larger impacts and freeway expansion joints ka-thump virtually unfiltered into the cabin.See ( 3 ).( 8 ) we can't recommend this car for anything more than a very infrequent and/or emergency kiddie ride.Oops, you would risk the life of a kid if it happens infrequently? Just for the recommendation to put small children on the rear seats (with appropriate auxiliaries), I would not suggest anything like that at all.( 9 ) It carries only two, cargo capacity is seriously limited and it's only available with that annoying lurch-o-matic gearbox.This is a summary of points discussed above.--Nevertheless, I appreciate this review, if it only hadn't lost focus occasionally.

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