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Rickles

Pro's and Cons

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Hi all....new to the forum. I am right at that point of decision on a new Smart and was making a Pro's and Con's list (great for decision making)..no con's I can

think of except for the actual "paying money" part. :tremble: I got to thinking if there were any pro's or con's that were either lived-up-to or not, exceeded or not ,after ownership. The anticipation of ownership can build great expectations and/or doubts. I am curious as to how it turned out ?

You all sound so excited to be Smart owners, I am envious and excited at the prospect.

Rick

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Well it is true that wanting something so desperately (I waited 908 days for mine) and actually getting it are two different things. BUT, the ownership experience for me has been fantastic, the owners you meet are all great people, very diverse, and the car enriches the social life somehow.Down to the nuts and bolts of owning a smart, you deal with all the new car paranoia (first rock chip, first chip in windshield, is that Bubba really gonna park his beater next to MY CAR) but well that's the same with all cars really. The service costs vary from dealer to dealer, and there have been some complaints in that regard (high costs in particular). Many dealers are good though, so ask smart owners around in the area you live and you should get good advice.

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As a new owner myself (1 week in), I can certainly understand how you are feeling! I am only new to the Smart experience, but I am starting to learn the little quirks of the car, and maybe I can help out?1. The build quality of the cars seems to be top-notch. I own a cabrio, and the seal on it are luxury-esque in terms of quality and robustness. I have been pleasently suprised with the over-all solid feel of the car.2. The sun shades on the cabrio are tiny, but I bought the cabrio to be in the sun....so can I realy complain!?3. I don't know if you have driven one yet, but you don't ever feel like you are in a small car (until you look behind you).4. Like Mike_T said, somehow this car enriches your social life. Whether it be a conversation starter with strangers, or the absolutely amazing community of owners, or the smiles of people as you drive down the road, you will feel happiness. And not the false happiness that comes from actual ownership, it's all about the people!5. Handling in wind is not as difficult as some may say, and I am suprised how well it handled a particularily bad corner of the 400 while passing a transport.6. Wind noise in the cabrio is noticeable with top up at speeds greater then 95km/h , but engine noise seems to be less obvious (higher tones seem to fade through the top?). The best ride is with the top all the way down, bars off, on an 80km/h roadway. An absolute dream.7. Speaking of which, I am not a car-buff but the Smart car is a blast to drive. When me and my girlfriend first took it home, we had the top down all the way, bars off, and she just watched the sky as we drove and had a nice conversation while the sun went down. Brilliant.8. There is a lot more "gadget" storage then I thought. There are the 2 side pockets on the doors, but then you have a centre console drawer, mini-pockets on either side of the steering wheel (good for shades or cellphones), and one beside the airbag on passenger side. Oh and the large top of the console for putting your hat/pizza for road trips.9. You will get noticed, most people love the car and will come right up and talk to you about it. Every once in awhile, someone suffering from a small appendage problem, or from "highschool-itus" will laugh at you. If you can take it like the tough guy I know you are, you will be fine.10. Servicing through mercedes is pricey (180 dollar oil change!?) but you can do the simple stuff yourself with the right equipment/knowledgable help from the forums.11. Cars will feel the need to pass you even if you are driving 130.....I think they feel you must be going slow, or they need to prove they have lower fuel mileage.12. You can use it as a tool to win over your future in-laws. This is my personal experience anyways.13. Fuel mileage IS all it is hyped up to be. Plus, nothign beats pulling up to the pump ot see some poor diesel truck paid 100 to fill his tank and go 1/2 the distance.14. You will probably become a fuel-mileage-junky. I find myself trying to learn-up on different driving methods just to get those extra 30km per globule or the metre :tremble: OKAY! I posted a lot but hopefully that can take care of some questions you have! I'm still a n00b, but I feel better everyday about my purchase. :welcome:

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Everything they say is true and more, I've had my smart pulse coupe for just over two weeks now and my mom n dad say they have never seen me smile so much.!! :yahoo: Just hearing someone say smart car or hows the new wheels brings an ear to ear grin on my face that the biggest bully on the block couldn't remove.I find myself going for drives to nowhere in particular on a regular basis now just to be behind the wheel :smirk: I am absolutley in love with this little gem of a car.Other than a bit of a rough ride from the stiff suspension and freaking out from looking in the rearview mirror at a stop light seeing someone parked on my butt i have no cons to list about this car so far !!! Oh and by the way"Welcome to the realm of Smart...owning a smart just brings out the niceness in you :yahoo: Enjoy your new ride

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Don't get me wrong, I love my smart, but....1. The interior plastic marks very easily2. Sun visor does not swing to the side3. The AC sucks4. The door armrest could use a bit of padding5. No cruise control6. No central armrest7. Hesitation to engage tranny when downshifting at low speedsDespite these issues, this car is a KEEPER!!!!

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  • The softouch (automatic mode) isn't smart with its choices. Its logic is for "sports" driving and uses pre-defined shift points and an accelerator pedal trigger instead of analyzing actual driving needs

[*]A/C is disappointing

[*]Fabric on seats and door armrest aren't cleanable

[*]Winter handling is okay but a little overstated in marketing, in my opinion

[*]Summer handling is lacking on the pure due to its factory Bridgestone tires

[*]The best-looking steel wheels anywhere are for the smart fortwo (current/old generation). Even the mundane visible parts have some design to them

[*]Radical and memorable interior, including headreads in the shape of a triangle and a dashboard with a beautiful curve. All trims in the current/old generation are fabulous and come with a standard set of luxury features

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[*]Fabric on seats and door armrest aren't cleanable

Hey spinner,

I am wondering if you have tried steam cleaning? I had to clean my seats a couple days ago and was able to get an amazing amount of dirt out. I have the twister green ones too, which get dirty pretty quick. The side armrest was the quickest to clean as the dirt doesn't dig in too far. You should try it out! I have a little steam cleaner called the Steam Bullet, it wasn't too expensive so that's a plus too!

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The automated manual set to "auto" on my '06 has "pre-defined" shift points , which I believe are exactly where they should be(3000-3100 rpm), to remain in the power band for brisk acceleration once it has upshifted(2200-2300 rpm). Once you've finished accelerating and you're up to your cruising speed on level ground, yes, you should manually upshift to drop your revs to 1800-2200 rpm to conserve fuel and engine life. BUT, on hills where a higher rpm is needed before upshift takes place the transmission performs this function as well. I find that since mine is used mostly on the highway that the tranny behaves very much like a regular automatic when determining where to adjust the shift points for maximum power.I'm extremely pleased with this trans. In the city I drive in the manual mode, shifting at lower revs. On the highway from stoplights with a line of traffic I always use "auto" to run through all the gears to get up to speed, then manually shift to sixth gear much earlier than the auto feature would choose.I only downshift on very steep grades otherwise I plan the lights to coast to a stop and remain in my cruising gear. If the light changes green before I've stopped I simply touch the auto button and it selects the appropriate gear smoothly and efficiently.I'm never quite sure what the issue is that people feel makes this a poorer choice for a trans. Driving six hour trips on the highway regularly, when compared to my truck with a standard trans, this car is such a pleasure to drive and far less tiring. I find up/downshifting just as fast as shifting my truck with a clutch.I believe from all the threads I've read on our automated manual that there might be some distinct operating differences between an '05 & an '06. I believe this transmission is a perfect match for the engine and performs admirably. The gear ranges are great. Just like driving a manual with a clutch you must remember what your gear ranges are so that an appropriate selection can be made manually when rapidly deaccelerating and then suddenly needing to "step on it".As one owner recently said in these threads, sometimes you have to "be one with your car" during the times you feel the transmission is acting quirky. Perhaps it's my professional driving experience that motivates me to learn all the quirks and yet achieve the smoothest ride possible.Each vehicle behaves differently. All of the buses I drive daily are all fully automatic now. Because of all the years of shifting manual transmission buses and being in touch with each shift(matching trans speed to engine revs) and what the vehicle is doing, I still find I can give a better ride to my passengers by recognizing each automatic shift point and use the throttle near those points to give a better/smoother shift than the automatic trans can with just my foot "fully into it".It's a different dimension of driving and sometimes you have to work individually with each vehicle to attain the perfect ride. The trans on the Smart is a little like this. Driving it like a fully automatic or a fully manual without recognizing the quirks of the automated manual, I could see how some may be disappointed.Like one instructor said to me almost twenty years ago and I practice his advice daily, " if something isn't working for you, don't keep doing it the same way. Try something different".

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Two weeks in today and 1800km later, I'm just having a great time with BEEP. CONS; I really miss having cruise but have put in to be on waitlist for one. also missing right arm rest and have ordered same. Other experiences so far have been fantastic, and all are in line with previous posts. Steve

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I'd put the transmission as a con. It is interesting, funky even, and I like that, but the lack of complete driver control as to which gear to be in at any given time is my complaint. I wish there was an overide so that it would not automatically downshift at a specific rpm - when making a sharp turn onto another road it can choose to downshift just as you are trying to accelerate out of the turn and this significantly (and sometimes dangerously) impedes your ability to get the car up to speed (particularly when merging into traffic). The time between shift changes is also a complaint and exacerbates the downshifting problem.Otherwise I love my car.

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I find that if you treat the gearbox as though it was a full manual, you will never be in the wrong gear at the wrong time. Let it downshift for you and yes, you can be caught out.

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Great stuff. I know nothing can meet all your expectations, but reading through a LOT of the posts on the site, there is no end to the love for this little car!!The internet is great for just this reason...you can talk with/meet people from all over or right next door and learn so much from everyone elses experiences.Groovy Guy : #4 says it all.Rick

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I'd put the transmission as a con. It is interesting, funky even, and I like that, but the lack of complete driver control as to which gear to be in at any given time is my complaint. I wish there was an overide so that it would not automatically downshift at a specific rpm - when making a sharp turn onto another road it can choose to downshift just as you are trying to accelerate out of the turn and this significantly (and sometimes dangerously) impedes your ability to get the car up to speed (particularly when merging into traffic). The time between shift changes is also a complaint and exacerbates the downshifting problem.Otherwise I love my car.

I've had the same happen and it can be quite dangerous. What I do now is to switch to automatic before I either have to turn into traffic or come to a yield. This gives me a little time to anticipate what's coming and the smart is always in the right gear. Works for me.

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I find that if you treat the gearbox as though it was a full manual, you will never be in the wrong gear at the wrong time. Let it downshift for you and yes, you can be caught out.

Actually, that brings up another complaint with the transmission - sometimes when I downshift it goes down 2 gears because the car also decided to downshift at that point. Another reason I want to override the automatic downshifts. I want to treat the transmission as a full manual, but it won't let me. Very little of my driving is on flat terrain so I'm probably shifting more often than is the norm, which is likely why it is a bigger concern for me.

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On the over-run, it only downshifts (at least my car) at very low RPM, far below the level at which I would downshift a manual car in anticipation of accelerating through a corner for example. Usually it does this at 1200 RPM or so. I would manually downshift when it's around 1800 at the lowest. Maybe having the paddles encourages that, because it's so easy.

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I would manually downshift when it's around 1800 at the lowest.

1800 is about my sweet-spot for driving this car (except uphill). Maybe less, particularly in 6th on flat or slight decline. I know that I should sometimes downshift sooner, but I don't. You may be correct about the paddles - this most often occurs on sharp turns where both hands are needed for the wheel.

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[*]A/C is disappointing

- so is the defogging (disappointing is an understatement for defog and a/c, actually)

- the underside panel that kept loosening

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- the underside panel that kept loosening

That too. And because of that (and it still does it to this day, after several repair actions during servicing, and virtually everytime I've had my wheels changed) it makes a rattle at highway speeds.

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the car is fantastic... I love it so much that im on my second trip out west form ontario. right now i'm in calgary for the summer, last summer I went to vancouver island! BUTThe sound system is le poo.. upgrade it or forever regret itand never ever drive n the states unless you're ready to shell out 520 bucks to get towed from the middle of nowhere montana to the saskatchewan borderalso... get the cup holder cause you'll like it, but dont plan on actually puting cups in it. its useless in that regard.

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Pepper doesn't start at -35.Otherwise, I'm with Smart142. The pros far outweigh the only serious con.Carl

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The biggest pro of all is that you have this club to come to for information and advice. Everything that is mentioned as a con here does not happen to everyone. Remember that a lot of people on this web site found it becuase they were looking for help with a problem, As a result you WILL hear about a lot of problems. You won't hear from the 95% of people who are likely very happy with this car but have just never found this site or had a reason to go looking. You'll also get great advice on where to buy stuff for your car, which aftermarket items work, and where to get the best deals. You can even take advantage of the occasional bulk purchase deal and discounts offered to club membersThe really great thing, I feel, is that I now know what to watch and listen for, and what not to do so that I will get the best out of this car.Examples:Door handles can break. Knowing that I noticed that there are two ways to pull those handles, one providing significantly less resistance. I use that method now.If your brakes clunk there is a chance that the pads have delaminated. Use EBC brake pads to replace them, they don't delaminate and produce much less dust.Don't overfill the oil. I now check the oil level after a service, and if high I can drain some.Carry spare belts. They take little space and if in the States or anywhere in Canada where you currently can't get smart service you can get any mechanic to replace them.You can fit a front winter tire and a scissor jack behind the driver's seat without encroaching into the boot if you are of average height (I'm 5' 9") so you have a spare on long trips.Rattling under the floor panel at speed is likely the plastic under panels coming loose. Tighten them up using lock-tight as once this starts to happen it can become chronic.Clunking under the floor panel when you turn may be a broken A/C line mounting stud. There is a documented fix for this at your dealership.There are so many more good tips and I didn't touch on all the good modification instructions on this and related sites.You will have a great time with this car and it will last a long time if you treat it right. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

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Pros:Knowing that you are actually doing something about the environment and not just talking about itNever having to 'jiggle' into a parking space.Pulling into a parallel parking space in one motion - from the other side of the street!Talking to people: "how do you find it in the snow?" "It's bright green so it is pretty easy to find"Shhh - this thing actually handles like a go-cart on corners.(for me) one of the most comfortable driving positions around.close proximity of significant other. :comfort: Solid and rattle free. Cons:Having to wear a parka and mukluks in the winter. High efficiency means low waste heat.Can't carry a kayak on top.Stock suspension is pretty harsh particularly at full deflection (Fast Eddie - please pickup line one!)headlight replacementTorque limiter at low speed in first gear.No contest - Pros win hands down

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Just found out on road trip today :yahoo: Cup holder holds an XL Timmies what a bonus. :smitten:

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