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Old 04-06-2014, 09:51 PM   #1
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Smart Car

We're looking at replacing our Towed (a 2012 Jeep Liberty) with something lighter and smaller. I've started looking at a Smart Car (1800 pounds vs. 4200 pounds) and yes it's really small by comparison but would meet most of our needs while traveling. A friend mentioned a battery problem with the Smart Car, a friend of our friend had problems with a dead car battery while towing and changed to a Fiat. Has anyone else out here had problem with a dead Smart Car battery while towing?
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Old 04-06-2014, 10:00 PM   #2
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You might be better off to read the review, and check consumer reports for reliability issues, of which there are some with the US versions.
The Top Gear review was down right scary.
also check out the sales figures,
Smart Fortwo Sales Figures - GOOD CAR BAD CAR

The numbers, although improving the last couple of years are not there to sustain the venture.
Lack of dealerships is not helping either. nMost of the dealerships seems to have become used car seller, with some Smarts on the lot.
I seriously looked at them, and tried to work a deal out, but we could not reach terms.
Went, and bought a Miata instead.
Love the concept, but the execution has not been good.
Bad management ruins a lot of good ideas.
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Old 04-06-2014, 10:08 PM   #3
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The mileage with a toad is no different if pulling a Smart Car or my Wrangler.

My Wrangler gets about 20 mpg while a smart car gets about 38.

At $3.25/gallon, over 10,000 miles, I will pay $64 more per month with my Wrangler (and we are fulltime). And I can go off-road to see sights and wildlife that common tourists cannot even dream of.

I will ride the Rainbow while others pinch pennies.

Best wishes!
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Old 04-06-2014, 10:55 PM   #4
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We test drove quite a few cars over the last few years, including a Smart and a Fiat. We ended up going with a Fiat Abarth turbo version. I think this is the only vehicle/house that we have gotten that Thom has NOT had buyers remorse for in the 20+ years we have been together.
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Old 04-07-2014, 09:41 AM   #5
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Problems with batteries when towing.. I'm guessing the smart car uses a fairly small engine battery... IF you use one of the brake-in-a-box braking systems (Brake Buddy, Apolo, Even brake) they suck battery power, if you have little to spare... you have a problem

Some systems (invisible brake, US-Gear Unified Braked Decelerator) provide for a way to charge the towed battery.

And if you do not have that feature on your system.. Towed-charge is the answer to the problem I have that rigged for my Neon.
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Old 04-08-2014, 06:02 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IamJerryP View Post
You might be better off to read the review, and check consumer reports for reliability issues, of which there are some with the US versions.
The Top Gear review was down right scary.
also check out the sales figures,
Smart Fortwo Sales Figures - GOOD CAR BAD CAR

The numbers, although improving the last couple of years are not there to sustain the venture.
Lack of dealerships is not helping either. nMost of the dealerships seems to have become used car seller, with some Smarts on the lot.
I seriously looked at them, and tried to work a deal out, but we could not reach terms.
Went, and bought a Miata instead.
Love the concept, but the execution has not been good.
Bad management ruins a lot of good ideas.

Not to mention that mobs have taken to Smart car flipping

Hooded Car-Tipping Vandals Flip Over Smart Cars In San Francisco « CBS San Francisco


It's your life, we all have choices. I would not feel safe in one of these cars and do not feel they get the MPG to offset the lack of safety. To each hi/her own.

Chris
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Old 04-08-2014, 08:29 PM   #7
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The safe way to tow the smart four down is by adding a simple disconnect to the battery. Really simple. This disables the computer so it doesn't misinterpret signals caused by wheels turning without engine on.

The smarts tow nicely. Some like to put a bungy on the steering wheel to encourage it to come back to centre but some don't bother and are ok. If you have a long rear overhang on your motorhome I recommend the bungy.

I would recommend you go to Smart Car Forum to get more accurate info on the smart car. It is a reliable performer, fun to drive, available as a convertible, very easy to get in and out with the big door, sits high so you won't be crunching down to get out, well featured safety wise, role bar, lots of air bags etc and the most economical non hybrid on the road. Once its broken in most people get mid 40's for mileage unless you get a Canadian diesel in which case it is around mid 60's or better for mileage.

We have had ours for 6 years and other than a recall on the door latch have only had oil changes etc.

Hope this helps. Get the convertible if you get one. Way fun on the strip in Vegas. Here are a few pics of our babys. We pull them on a trailer so we can back up. The trailer stores mostly under the rear of the motorhome kinda like a dolly.





You can put a hitch on the smart car to pull its own trailer.



Or pull a little tent trailer and Kayak. We use this for local overnight or weekend kayak trips.







Easy to park.



And fits n a toy hauler if you ever go that way.



Fun, versatile, economical cars.

On edit, There is a member who tows a smart car on this forum. I believe it is Libero. His info trumps mine as far as properly towing the smart four down as he does it all the time.



Happy trails.
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Old 04-08-2014, 10:56 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by akeyzoo View Post
Not to mention that mobs have taken to Smart car flipping

Hooded Car-Tipping Vandals Flip Over Smart Cars In San Francisco « CBS San Francisco


It's your life, we all have choices. I would not feel safe in one of these cars and do not feel they get the MPG to offset the lack of safety. To each hi/her own.

Chris
Not cool rolling them over, but it reminded me of moving MGs, and Lecars around the school parking lots, putting them on the loading dock, and on one occasion, getting the Lecar in the high school hallway. (Staff was less than impressed)
A smart car would be even better, our group would have put it on the third floor.
We had fun, but did not tear up people cars.
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Old 04-09-2014, 12:22 AM   #9
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Smart cars are very good cars. Our family has 2 (a 4-2 and a Cabrio). Being in SoCal is a perk, with lots of local support, but any MercedezBenz dealer will support them.

Smart's are flat towable, lightweight and get 36MPG!

About safety...Smart's have always gotten good crash ratings with the hard exoskeleton. But, to be fair any microcar will lose in a battle with a truck.

The best part about Smart cars to me, is the way they drive...it's a hoot! Like a go-cart on rails.

Safe travels
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Old 04-10-2014, 10:43 AM   #10
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****PERSONAL OPINION ONLY ZONE****

I totally get the Smart car as a TOAD. Can be done, and economically. People use TOADs to "toodle" around their destination. Typically not a lot of highway use and there are some super creative setups like the trailer and toyhauler above.

I personally just DO NOT GET people that think they are safe commuter cars. It's just plain physics. A Smart car alone hitting a wall at 30 brings very little "mass" to the equation. Add another car and the Smart car gets unsafe FAST.

In the video below.... This is a Smart car against a compact sedan (not a full size sedan and not an SUV). You walk away in the C300, I presume you die or wish you did in the Smart car. IF I were looking for a practical commuter car I would get a Mazda 3 that ALSO gets 40MPG and does well in the frontal offseet and has a ton of other creature comforts.

As a TOAD to toodle, I totally get it. As a commuter car at 75MPH, COUNT ME OUT!!!

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Old 04-10-2014, 08:31 PM   #11
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I totally get it Chris. The smart car is definitely not for everyone. Some for obvious reasons like needing a backseat or a bigger trunk but many for not so obvious reasons. Some have been in serious car wrecks or have a family member that has been in a serious accident and are understandably biased towards large heavy vehicles to be better protected etc. Can't fault that logic. Its interesting to talk to smart car owners. Many are empty nesters that used to own motorcycles, MG's TR6's or very other small foreign sports machines. Kind of a throw back to their youth. In this sense the smart is infinitely safer, 8 air bags and a full roll cage trump anything the 60's and 70's sportsters had for safety gear. And a motorcycle, well, nuff said there. I don't think anyone of us kids ourselves on the physics of a smart car crash but the fact is smart cars worldwide have amazingly low fatality numbers compared to other vehicles. Interestingly enough for the same amount of crashes the ford 1/2 ton had a considerably higher fatality rate than a smart car a few years back. They have done a little research in europe as to why the numbers are what they are but from what I read I think a lot of it has to do with agility and stoppng distance. Regardless, best thing is to not try to occupy the same space at the same time as an SUV.
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Old 04-11-2014, 10:12 AM   #12
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Regarding car tipping... First: That is what insurance is for, Second if you catch 'em... You can sue 'em, with penalities for up to 3 times the damage (Common law limit) of course a good judge might go much higher. This is over and above insurance (though you may have to pay back insurance if you win the suit).

As for brakes and batteries: There is a reason I do not like the break system in the driver's seat systems like Brake Buddy. I much prefer an INSTALLED system you install one time instead of every time you tow. For one thing.. Many of them either do not eat battery power or have a way of eating off the motor home's battery.

Lack of Dealerships: IF Smart Car goes under and all the dealers close, there will still be a lot of independent service places that can take care of it for you, and there is always the parent, The company that actually makes the thing.. They are not going anywhere: Daimler (Mercedes) Benz (At one time they also owned Chrysler I believe, do not know if they still do, or at least a major stock holder).

My main concern is crash worthiness... But even there.. I'd have to see the test results.. Modern cars are often designed to make a crash as survivable as possible.. I just do not know if this one was.

However in an argument over space occupancy with a 40 ton Semi. it does not much matter much if you are driving a less than one ton Smart Car or a 5 ton HUMMER... you gonna loose.
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Old 04-11-2014, 03:59 PM   #13
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[QUOTE=wa8yxm;2005750

However in an argument over space occupancy with a 40 ton Semi. it does not much matter much if you are driving a less than one ton Smart Car or a 5 ton HUMMER... you gonna loose.[/QUOTE]

Case in point: today's news has a semi crossing the center divide of I5 in northern California and hitting a large tour bus - the result is 10 dead bodies. I guess that means tour buses are death traps and should not be allowed on the roads...
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Old 04-11-2014, 05:12 PM   #14
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Case in point: today's news has a semi crossing the center divide of I5 in northern California and hitting a large tour bus - the result is 10 dead bodies. I guess that means tour buses are death traps and should not be allowed on the roads...
The "semi" was a FedEx vehicle. It crossed the median and hit the bus with kids that were going on a tour of a college. Last I heard here in California they did not have the names of all the ones that have died. Parents are trying hard to find out if their kids are ok. Almost 24 hrs later and some still not identified ...

They have done lots of investigations on tour buses and found that yes they usually are not good but the ones that are being fined are the ones that on tours to like casinos. This particular tour bus company is actually one of the better ones in the country with good ratings.
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