First of all: I’m a 20-year-old male driving a Smart, and yes: I’m perfectly fine with it.

I’m driving the older version (technically: A450), so not everything may apply to your new Smart (later than 2007). I’m driving the convertible version, so that adds to the fun. There is a Brabus body kit on it, but that’s just for the looks, the engine is standard.

One of the first things that surprises people when they first sit in your Smart, is the space you have. It looks small from outside, but that’s because you have a full-sized car that is just cut behind the front seats. Speaking of normal cars, you can drive fast in a Smart. Remember, this is a city car, so it’s designed to accelerate fast, when the lights go green. People are often surprised how much power it’s got “down there”. You can even get it to 140 km/h until the electronic lock keeps you there. The engine would go up to about 160-170 km/h, but the car may get unstable at such speed. But please don’t do this on normal roads and stick to traffic laws. And no, I haven’t tried this, it’s just reports from users on the Internet.

Speaking of safety, the ride is pretty safe. If you want to learn more, search for the Tridion safety cell, Smart has installed. Basically, you sit in a stiff structured cell, with plastic on the outside. If you want to go this far, you can compare this to Formula 1 cars, but only to get an idea, of course it’s not that strong. In front of you is exactly nothing, but A/C, lights and other small stuff. Wonder where the engine is? It’s at the back, below the boot. If someone drives into your rear, it’s designed to go under this cell, so it won’t hit you in the back.

All Smarts are automatic, a thing that bothers some people (at least here in Europe). I have to say though, I like it especially in traffic. It’s really nice to just accelerate and brake, not letting the clutch slip for a couple moments every time a car has moved half a meter. Additionally, it’s got hill hold control, so it waits 0.7 seconds for you to hit the throttle. That seems really short, but it’s enough. If it would wait longer, it’d block your throttle.

If you want to stay a little longer at the same place, parking often becomes an issue. As you know, not so much with a Smart. You are searching with far more open eyes, when you’re looking for a parking space, and you consider places you haven’t even thought of before. I even managed to park it in a corner of a car park, with only one wheel partly out. Another time, some cars blocked me as I was parking. I only had about a meter before and behind me, but I managed to turn it by 90° in just 3 turns and then drive out safely. You can even park it across, since it’s as long as parking spaces are wide, but that’s illegal in some countries like here in Switzerland, where a car has to be parked in street direction.

I have to admit though, the ride is a bit noisy. That’s not surprising, remember, you’re sitting about a meter away from the engine. Additionally,  you can really feel when you’re passing a lorry, since the Smart has a big side for wind to attack.

In conclusion, it’s a car I really like. Of course, I wouldn’t use it when I’d drive for longer every day, but it works well on my everyday commuting and occasional trips. If you do a little body work, your Smart may even get more attention than just the fact that it’s a really small car.

Advertisements