Getting firsthand information from an actual car owner is one sure way to get an idea of car performance once it leaves the lot. Autobytel features real consumer reviews that give the unbiased experience of a car.
Pros: Convertable top and at 55 having all the girls looking at me again
Cons: Drink holders and the radio CD display should have temp and time incorporated instead of the tiny instrument displayI have a 79 Triumph Spitfire that I built from nuts and bolts. My Smart perform very simular to my Triumph. The fit and finish is exceptional, gas mileage is good enough (40 to 50 MPH depending on driving as a commute or driving like a sports car). I must say that the cornering at any speed is outstanding. Service is at 10k intervals and cheaper than any auto I've owned (ajusted for inflation) and no problems that have required warrantee service (13K miles on it so far). I have taken trips in excess of 600 miles and I have a BAD back, but it came through like a charm even going over the Calif. Grapevine pass. The one thing that keeps this car from a perfect score by me is the positioning of the drink holders which requires a downward reach over the shifter and is tough on drinks with plastic lids.
Advice: Be a SMART kind of person or buy a PorscheMost Americans, used to giant waster-mobiles, are going to find the ride and gears of the SMART quaint, inadequate, what have you. I, for one, do not care about these people, because they will not buy a SMART. This problem of discontent takes care of itself through a kind of natural selection. But there are those people, like myself, who delight in the SMART. I find the ride a bit stiff, to say the least. Rides about like an old MORGAN. Minimal suspension. But I have to say I positively like the transmission, which is an 'automatic manual'. You can feel the gear changes, just as you could if you were driving a manual transmission. I like this. I also think the transmission will have a longer life than a normal automatic transmission. As for the size of the car. Once you get used to it, all other cars seem too big. One feels and is safe in the car. My wife's Mercury Milan, not a large car as the world goes, now seems clumsy, too big. No accounting for attitudes, but this is mine. On the ratings above, I'm frankly surprised that the little car did as well as it did. Not because it isn't a good car. But because of conventional attitudes. Most people regard the car as a toy, I wager. It is not. It is simply smart. On good runs, I get 40 mpg in in-town and suburban driving. No other non-hybrid car gets this kind of mileage. On the highway, the mileage creeps up to over 50 mpg. With all of the funky electric vehicles coming out soon (by Nissan, for example), the SMART will seem conventional. I, for one, am very glad about this. It is high time we become rational about transportation. To have a giant SUV to pick up a gallon of milk is lunacy. But many Americans will change slowly. They will cling to the 'Edsels' as long as possible.