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Club smart Car > Market Place > Buyer's Guide
crusr
Hi guys,

I'm new to the forums and would like to breakdown the following two vehicles to help make my decision on which one to purchase.

The first is a 2006 Smart Fortwo Passion diesel version.
It has power everything, heated seats, panoramic sunroof, air conditioning and an automatic transmission.
It has approx. 70,xxx kms and has a warranty from MB Canada until September 2013/ 120,000kms.
It is currently priced at $8,200 being sold privately.

The second is a 2010 Smart Fortwo Pure gasoline version.
It also has power everything, an automatic transmission, and bluetooth capabilities.
It only has 8,000kms and has a warranty until 80,000kms.
It is listed at $10,200 and is also being sold privately.

I will be using the vehicle for work and drive over 30,000kms per year.
I am leaning towards the diesel version because of the options but I still want to weigh the cost savings of the fuel mileage versus maintenance.
Please let me know your experiences and thoughts.
Thanks in advance.
Mike T
I would go for the diesel but be aware that it has higher maintenance and repair costs. Fuel consumption should be lower by 1.5 L/100 km across the board in the cdi, saving you $600 per year towards those generally higher maintenance costs.
crusr
Can you please be more specific about the maintenance costs? At what mileage does the vehicle tend to have increased breakdowns or problems?
Also this will be my first diesel vehicle, anything to take special note of?
ianjay
Have you driven either car? The diesel has more character in its exhaust note. Hope it has paddle shifters among the sea of options listed - wouldn't buy a diesel without them. But it's off warranty, you're buying privately, you takes your chances. BTW, a new engine is $8000+ (no typo).

If you aren't used to (possible/likely) big repair bills, stay away from the diesel - go with the car with warranty. Make sure that warranty is valid and there is paperwork to back up servicing. You will have to go to Mercedes if there is no paper trail.

In either case, are you close to M-B service in case something goes wrong? Avid shade tree mechanics can do almost everything except plug the car into the MB STAR computer.

When you say you're going to use it for work, is it really important that the car work every single day? I had an electrical problem las summer that Mercedes took almost three weeks to mis-diagnose. It was eminently fixable, but was the reason I'm no longer driving the diesel smart I thought I would be keeping forever.
ragnarawk
If we're talking strictly maintenance, maybe the gas wins. There are many km to play with until the warranty expires. At the end of that time, though, you're still left with a gasser that apparently performs as well or just slightly better than other compact cars in terms of fuel efficiency.

I think the extra warranty with the diesel equalizes the maintenance/repair costs pretty well. And I think by 120,000 km, many of the major breakdowns will have already occurred. There is also much information here on how to properly maintain the diesel car, and perform some of the maintenance/repairs yourself (of special note would be any preventative maintenance items!).

Maybe because I have a diesel I'm partial to it. It saves me money on fuel without me really even trying, and that's why I bought it. Theoretically, I should be putting 40,000 km on it a year, which is pretty close to reality. Keeping it on the road has not really been an issue, either (mainly because I live somewhat close to a dealership), and I'm hoping future maintenance costs can be cut down by getting my hands dirty a little more.
SMARTER NOW
My choice is DIESEL all the way, I have had no problems with over 100,000 km in 3 yrs. Purchased with 24500km
To date the cost of ownership has been $0.19 per KM.

Depreciation $6608.53 38,9% of $16966.80 CAD purchase price
Change tires $326.00
Accessories $350.00
Maintenance $2,612.83
Insurance
per year $2,178.00
Plates $95.00
Drive Clean
Emissions
Inspection $40.25
Fuel $4,230.31
Total costs $19,121.74
Total driven
distance 101693 km
Period 853 days
Vehicle costs
in CAD/km $0.19
SMARTER NOW
I have logged every tank of fuel, every service, all cost associated with my Smart.
The best way to do this would be to use http://www.spritmonitor.de/en/
It does all the math for you, then you can just download the CVS file for your records/taxes
You can check out my profile, search for SMARTER_NOW
Huronlad
How much maintenance are you able / willing to perform yourself?
crusr
I can familiarize myself with the material but to actually get my hands dirty, I wouldn't even change the oil myself, honestly speaking.
I live about 10 minutes drive from the Mississauga MB dealership.

Other than that, I guess I should go and check out both vehicles' drive-ability and then decide.
Thanks to everyone for their feedback.
Mike T
Diesel services would be about twice as frequent as the gas model (say every 7500 km to be safe), so having M-B do the work would cost you about $1200-1600 a year. The gas car would cost half that.

If you do your own A-services (every second one) while the car is out of warranty, the costs go WAY down.

One of my diesels is 7 years old and has 215,000+ km. These cars LOVE long commutes and should last a long time doing just that.
crusr
It seems as if the diesel is a short term win but in the long term can be fatal if not maintained well.
Doc P
We have both (Diesel and 2011 gas). Unless you enjoy and are planning to do constant small and, from time to time, larger repairs yourself stay away from the Diesel.

I find the Diesel a lot more fun. Overall I think its a great car and a blast to drive but I also view it as my pet project. I have some type of maintenance issue come up not quite every week but every second anyway. While some folks have run a lot of miles with close to no problems, they are the exception. The Diesels tend to be persnickety, high maintenance vehicles. If you plan on having MB deal with all the small and larger issues that come up, it will cost you an arm and a leg. If you need an absolutely reliable get-to-work car every day, the diesel wouldn't be my first choice. Larger repairs also tend to get expensive quick: parts can be on the expensive side but what puts it over the top is if you have MB do all the work. Personally I have only them do the annoying stuff I don't want to deal with. The service I have received has been good.

The gas version has less personality on several counts but you get a less repair prone car that will give you real heat in winter.

It comes down to your situation and what you will and can afford to deal with. If you're looking Diesel I suggest you take a read through this site to get a feel for the work involved and cost of maintenance first. There's excellent material that will give you a good idea of what you are dealing with.

Either way, good luck on your purchase.

fordnut71
QUOTE (crusr @ Nov 29 2011 - 11:48 AM) *
I can familiarize myself with the material but to actually get my hands dirty, I wouldn't even change the oil myself, honestly speaking.
I live about 10 minutes drive from the Mississauga MB dealership.

Other than that, I guess I should go and check out both vehicles' drive-ability and then decide.
Thanks to everyone for their feedback.




really if you cant get down an dirty to save from going to the dealer, i dont think the smart is for you.
the diesel is a good runner an parts can get expensive an most times its a dealer you have to run to.
the car has its quirks an really needs you to be hands on to make it worth while.
if i didnt turn my own wrench i couldnt afford this car.
but if your willing to turn em this site is a book loads of info with owners willing to help you out.
crusr
I guess if I do purchase the diesel vehicle because of the initial cost, attractive options, and instant fuel efficiency, I won't keep it past the warranty date. I can lie to myself and say that I am willing to do the work when it comes down to it but my past experiences say that I will definitely just let the car sit especially if it means out of pocket cost.
I have a large list of cars I have owned in my short life, mostly tuner cars that I have wanted to track. I never did the work myself and going on that experience, I will say I won't keep the diesel for long after the warranty is done.
Thanks to everyone for the ongoing input.
MaxwellSmart
Run away from the 06 diesel .... Just ended a horribly expensive relationship with one.

Consider going new, not a huge price leap, maximum coverage for warranty and check out the pure sound version. I love mine.
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