Friday Fleet Notes is back, and even in its absence our staff has been diligently recording thoughts on the latest cars to come into the Cars.com offices. The new Smart elicited the most comments we’ve gotten in a long time, but a Lexus hybrid and Lincoln SUV made an impression too.
Smart ForTwo Passion (original expert review w/video)
There’s an auto-manual mode that helps a lot with the jerkiness, but it’s a pain to use paddle shifters at low speeds. The paddles turn with the steering wheel, so midway through a left turn, as the tachometer quickly approaches the redline, you’ll be left to reach frantically for an ever-moving target. Why this car doesn’t have a plain-old manual transmission is beyond me.
The ergonomics inside aren’t bad, though the seat adjustments aren’t very smooth. My biggest gripe here was that the cargo shelf behind the front seats is inaccessible without moving the seat forward, and that handle is on the inside of the driver’s seat. That means that if you need to toss anything back there (like, you know, a purse), be prepared to reach across the seat and get smacked by the seatback before you can do so. — Beth Palmer, copy editor
2008 Lexus LS 600h L
2008 Lincoln Navigator L (original expert review)