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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Anyone here own a smart car? Ok I know this is a 4x place but no wheel chock jokes I'm quite serious. I know there are a couple of others here that own VW diesels and Prius's.

I've got an old Civic Dx that is my work beater and it's been on it's last legs for a while. I saw a Smart in the parking lot at work the other day and checked it out a little. I really like the inside layout. Nice tall seat and big door. In the winter time I have fits getting in and out of the Civic with my arthritis and bad knees. Most other cars that get good mileage aren't much better in that dept. When I say good gas mileage I mean around 40. The 25-35 that passes for good mileage these days doesn't impress me.

I've got a short back road commute with not much traffic. Normal speed is 40-50 mph tops. In 5 years I've only had one other person in the Civic a handful of times and it usually only carries my day pack. The Smart would suit my needs most of the time. I've got the Trooper and the wife's CRV for trips, bad weather and the interstate. If I stick to the basic car the monthly payment on a Smart is less than gas money for many folks.

I've owned smaller cars than this in the past. I've always enjoyed "toy cars". I did a bunch of web reading and read every owner review I could find. The folks that actually own them seem to have mostly good to say about them. Couldn't find much bad about problems or maintenance issues either. The real world mileage seems to be better than advertised as well. Many seem to get over 40 in town and 50+ on the hwy. Now if we could get the 2 cyl TD (CDI) they get in Europe. That gets 80-90 MPG in the real world! Though that's probably in imperial gallons.

So does anybody have one or have any real world experience with them?
 

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The Prius is a complete and utter crap joke in and of itself. All the emissions you save by driving it are completely blown out the window during the manufacturing of the damn thing. Not to mention the production of the replacement batteries. And the next set...And the next set.

I imagine the Chevy Volt isn't much different.

The best thing people can really do is buy a suitable car for the everyday use, be mindful of their driving habits, keep up on regular maintenance, and cut down on unnecessary driving trips.

Idk about you guys but it doesn't take a Suburban or F-series to grocery shopping or take your kids to soccer practice, or any of the other day to day stuff that people do.

My daily ride last year was my motorcycle. I did small rounds of grocery shopping, hauled it in my backpack and in a crate on my seat (until I cut the subframe and went with a shorter seat). When I actually had something worth hauling, such as a large tv, building materials, etc, I either borrowed a friends car or arranged for delivery.

I rather liked getting 40mpg all summer...more when I wasn't laying WOT like a jackass everywhere :D
 

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About the only thing I can say is it's the only car that makes my Geo Metro look full size. :)

That being said though, it does have a 3 cylinder motor, same as my car. I do like that motor. There is a little more vibration at idle but you get used to it and it's really not that bad. Most comments about it concern it's lack of so-called power but I've never found that a problem. But then I drive normally, have no need to race. In city traffic, you will love the size as it's definitely an advantage.

Here's a smart car forum topic where they seem to be comparing the newer models with the older ones. No one seems to have any regrets about actually having owned one:

http://www.clubsmartcar.com/

I think that bottom line, it seems to be a well-built car from a maintenance standpoint. The only "issue" I saw was that it takes premium gas but at $4 a gallon, what's another 20 cents anyway?

Like the Geo Metro of yesteryear, it's a car that will have its loyal following while being the butt of jokes among others. Sounds like you have the temperament for it and you should go get a test drive in one to see how well it fits you. I did notice when I parked next to it that it was quite a bit taller and I think that's what kind of makes it funny looking. That may be a very good thing for someone who has trouble getting in and out of smaller cars. I know it's a challenge with my Metro and I don't have anything wrong but getting older. I'm not ready for the cure for that yet though. :)
 

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We have a smart car store where I work, and they sell like hot cakes. They are well put together and the body panels are interchangable. So if you want your car a different color one day, pop off the panels and put on a different color... pretty cool. The side impact test did not do well though.

I think they are great for a grocery getter or to run around town. There is a couple that come around the auto mall and they have two full grown retrievers that kick it in the back of the car.. more room than you would think.

cheers
-Ian
 

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With electric utility prices going up and a new fee schedule on the horizon such as higher rates during peak hours, I wonder if those electric cars are really worth it?
On average I spend $60 every two weeks on gas, $30 every two weeks in the summer when I ride my motorcycle @55mpg. With no car payment or high insurance cost of a new car, I'm not complaining about gas price too much.
It has however, prevented me from going to uwhrarrie.
 

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Can't help on the Smart Car. My brother-i-law drove one and didn't care for the ride quality but I'm not sure what he expected!
I know I could live with one easily enough. My daily ride back and forth to work? A Honda Helix scooter. Lots of trunk space and so dang convenient, 70 mph, 60+ miles to the gallon. Funny, when gas is cheap people have snide remarks (yes, it does look like something pee-wee Herman would ride) but when gas goes up everyone asks all about it. :lol:
Yup, I have plenty of other vehicles and motorcycles in my stable to choose from but it's generally my Trooper or my Helix that gets the nod.
 

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Failed to mention, if you want diesel maybe you should at least consider the diesel VW bug. I know of a large salesman that always drove Town Cars etc. and when it was time to replace he checked numerous vehicles and found the bug had the most driver room and easy ingress, egress.
I personally know a guy that drives a diesel bug with 200,000+ miles on it and loves it. He tells me he and his rather ummm, large wife and equally large son get in it and still book to Las Vegas. He is a rep for soybean based products (lubricants, cutting oil, etc.) and yes, he also burns soy oil in his bug and just loves the car.
 

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Airhead rider said:
Failed to mention, if you want diesel maybe you should at least consider the diesel VW bug.
As a motorcycle rider I was drooling on the keyboard when following this 200+ mpg build, based on a honda 125cc lightweight motorcycle ...
 

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MarkB.NV said:
Airhead rider said:
Failed to mention, if you want diesel maybe you should at least consider the diesel VW bug.
A friend of mine had one of those, routinely got 40-45 mpg at 70 mph. Rode nice, had ok power and decent handling. I was impressed. Too bad everyone sees it as a non threatening girl's car. May need to pimp it out a little with some Independent4x stickers, hood scoop, tail wing, and rolling on 22 inch spinners. :thumbup:

There are lots of mpg websites, and I enjoy reading http://ecomodder.com/forum/ as one of the more interesting. Covers driving techniques, aerodynamic mods, electric conversions, etc. Good stuff.

As a motorcycle rider I was drooling on the keyboard when following this 200+ mpg build, based on a honda 125cc lightweight motorcycle ...



that thing is perfect!!! thanks for sharing...

cheers
-Ian
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I'm done with motorcycles and scooters. I'm still alive! And this is the mid atlantic. Suicide place to ride a bike.

I've thought about the Beetle diesel. But used the prices are outrageous and they all have 200k+ on them. New they are not cheap. The owner reviews are one extreme or the other. Either the best car ever owned or the worst. I know how my luck runs with that. I used to have an '80 Audi 5000 5 cylinder diesel. Sweet car 45+ mpg at 80mph in a good sized 4 door. Handled great as well.

I'm no stranger to micro cars I've owned a couple and they were pretty cool and fun. I used to own a Honda an600 sedan. The smart car has a 1 liter 3cyl engine. My 600 had a .6 liter (600cc) 2 cylinder air cooled twin and 10" tires. 45+ mpg day in day out and it cruised at 70mph. Here are some pics.
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&biw= ... =&aql=&oq=

A great vid. Makes me want another one.

When I was young my family had an Isetta.
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&biw= ... 0&aql=&oq=

If I still had good knees I would ride my bike to work. Most of the trip is bike routes anyway. But it's hilly and the knees can't take a 40 mile day in the hills everyday anymore. That used to be my after work training ride.
 

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My grandpa used to have a honda like that, I was too young to remember anything about it. By the time I knew anything about cars the 70's were over and he traded the honda in for a 1963 cadillac convertable.

I miss my 1984 honda civic. I averaged 37mpg but got upwards of 42mpg on a good tank. I don't know if its the poor grade of this ethanol gas but it seems that the hybrid cars should be getting better mpg then they do.
My civic had a 1500cc 4 cyl. It moved about very well for a gas saver car, not at all slow and unresponsive like todays hybrids. Whats going on these days? The technology is out there why doesn't honda re-introduce the CVCC engine? It was ahead of its time, they could go far with it.
 

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I would go with a smart if I were you. I know they are engineered well so they dont crumble like people think in an accident. YOu'd walk out alive on your average accident, should it occur.
 

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There is sadly no such thing as an "average" accident. When you're riding in a gokart of a car among a sea of 7k lb soccer mom Chevy Suburbans, vans and pickups, it doesn't take much of a hit to crumple one of them things
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Ben yes E10 eats up mileage and power. The engines Honda has out now are light years ahead of the old cvcc. But the cars are much heavier. I also believe that the trend to large diameter rims is just plain dumb. Wheels weigh a lot more than tires. And that's un-sprung weight. My Civic has 13's and get 40 + Mpg.

As far as the hybrids and mileage don't believe everything you read. Most will blow the doors off the advertised fuel economy. You just have to drive like you want to save some gas and learn the vehicles. Most people drive like the untrained morons they are. I drive 70 on the beltway here and I'm getting passed by huge SUVs like I'm standing still. The speed limit is 55 there! Same folks are bitching about gas prices. Drop your speed below 65 and you'll get an extra 5mpg in most things. Leave some following distance so you're not always on the brake and back on the gas and see how much better the mileage is. Check out ecomodder forum. Those folks are serious about fuel economy. Without getting into radical hypermiling some of those folks are getting amazing numbers out of Prius's and the like.
I like the hybrids but don't like the idea of paying for and maintaining 2 complete drive trains and a battery bank,

As far as the smart and safety I think they are probably safer than the 16 year old Civic I currently drive. The design dates to '92. It has 1st gen air bags but no exo cage like a smart. The insurance institute gave the smart high ratings for it's class.
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24599768/ns ... ash-tests/
 

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Honda CR-Z. it is roomy. I am 6'4" and got in and out of one fine.

with the 6 speed manual or auto, you get great gas mileage and it has an optional hybrid mode.

I am not one to fit in small cars but i fit in one of those great.

Give one a try, you may like it. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
95Rodeo4x4 said:
Honda CR-Z. it is roomy. I am 6'4" and got in and out of one fine.

with the 6 speed manual or auto, you get great gas mileage and it has an optional hybrid mode.

I am not one to fit in small cars but i fit in one of those great.

Give one a try, you may like it. :)
I have. It's no better than my Civic for me. Still low to the ground and have to duck. My Civic is great once I'm in it. Very comfy for me. It's trying to stand up to get out after driving it a while that's the problem. Especially in cold weather. I'm not really looking for a NEW car. But might consider something like a smart. Just because the price is cheap for a stripper. This is just back and forth to work transport.
 

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squatch said:
95Rodeo4x4 said:
Honda CR-Z. it is roomy. I am 6'4" and got in and out of one fine.

with the 6 speed manual or auto, you get great gas mileage and it has an optional hybrid mode.

I am not one to fit in small cars but i fit in one of those great.

Give one a try, you may like it. :)
I have. It's no better than my Civic for me. Still low to the ground and have to duck. My Civic is great once I'm in it. Very comfy for me. It's trying to stand up to get out after driving it a while that's the problem. Especially in cold weather. I'm not really looking for a NEW car. But might consider something like a smart. Just because the price is cheap for a stripper. This is just back and forth to work transport.
I see, I see. Give one a shot, can't hurt. Might try a Yaris by Yota as well. They run cheap and get good mpg also. :D Happy Hunting.
 

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squatch said:
Ben yes E10 eats up mileage and power. The engines Honda has out now are light years ahead of the old cvcc. But the cars are much heavier. I also believe that the trend to large diameter rims is just plain dumb. Wheels weigh a lot more than tires. And that's un-sprung weight. My Civic has 13's and get 40 + Mpg.
my 95 bmw 318 with its little 4 banger and 5 speed pulls right along with 18's on it and if I am interstate driving,i can pull close to 40mpg.
the wife driving back n forth to work,still gets 35.
I see no use in buying expensive little death box when cars from the mid 90's and back offer better gas mileage than most newer cars.
Go BMW! :lol:
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
This is the rust zone. Cars from the mid '90s and back are rust red with tires in many cases. I have a couple now that aren't bad though.

Don't take this personal but I'd never own a Beemer. They might be the greatest cars on earth but they don't do it for me. I live in Beemer central and the old joke about the difference between a Beemer and a porcupine was written about the owners here. It just wouldn't work even If I did like them.

This thread was just to see if anyone here had any personal experience with the Smart cars. I can still drive my Honda till Sept without doing anything to it as long as the engine doesn't blow. I got an extension from the emissions folks. It's burns oil bad and won't pass. PO did no maint. I'm looking at many options and this is just one. In general I haven't had much luck buying new cars. I seem to be a Lemon magnet. See I have this problem. I kind of expect a new car to have less problems and be more reliable than the 300k+ miles junk I got rid of to buy it. I tend to get real hard to deal with when they aren't and most of the new cars I've bought have been nothing but problems. We've also owned a several Honda's and Isuzu's. Both new and used. Kinda makes my standards high. The beater junk I'm driving now has been much more reliable than several of the new cars I've bought. Seem like buying a new car these days is like being a product tester for the manufacturers at your own expense. So I'm not real inclined to buy any new car. I do find the Smart intriguing though. I'll probably go test drive own just for grins and giggles when I get a chance.
 
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