The Car Guy & His Smart -- 4 Years In
May 26, 2018
Prior to purchasing my used Smart ForTwo Cabrio convertible I street drove (and drag raced at tracks located up & down the West Coast) a built-up 750 HP 1987 Buick Grand National for 17 years. I also owned a 2004 Pontiac GTO LS1 that I tweaked. After my move to Oahu I needed something MUCH smaller as the roads and parking spaces here are dinky! Being an all-out performance-oriented "Car Guy", getting a Smart was a HUGE change. I should note it has the Brabus performance wheel & tire package but not the suspension, as for some reason the original owner ordered it this way.
I have owned my Smart 4 years now-- here is my "Short Take"
(1) When driven using the paddle shifters, it's a lot quicker that it looks.
(2) The looks on people's faces when you pass them at 105 MPH...in a Smart.
(3) The stock suspension offers spry handling on curvy roads such as my commute route around the South Shore of Oahu (Kalanianaole Highway)
(4) Excellent fuel economy
(5) Super reliable..all I've done is give it gas, oil change/filter change every 10K miles, air filter every 20K, and tires-- that's it. I also detail it once a month.
(6) You can actually use it to do a Costco run, as the front passenger seat folds completely flat.
(1) The designer(s) who came up with the idea of using an overly complex, electrically operated/pushbutton tailgate release mechanism Instead of a simple manually operated handle should be strung up and flogged with the lifeless body of their direct supervisor who approved it. I cannot begin to count the number of times I haven't been able to get the tailgate open and the "Emergency Tailgate Procedure" spelled out in the Owner's Manual calls for-- get this-- drilling two xxxxx in the tailgate interior panel, then using two screwdrivers ** simultaneously ** to undo the latches that are on each side. Invariably I end up swearing and pulling the crap out of the tailgate until it gives. On one occasion I had someone push the release button while I kicked the tailgate open from the inside.
(2) The Cabrio's removable roof rails, which are skinned in metal-- are susceptible to RUST-- really?? On a car where you can change out all the exterior plastic body panels in a couple of hours?? And, good luck trying to find replacements.
(3) The car's OEM rear springs should be 1" shorter to get rid of the "stinkbug" look. Lowering springs are available from the aftermarket, but still....
(4) Everyone asks if they can borrow it, as it is a perfect island runner.
Like a can of SPAM Classic (not Teriyaki, Jalapeno or Chorizo SPAM), it's an acquired taste at first. But, if you cook it just right you are forever hooked.