Drove one recently and I loved it in every way apart from the handling. Looks seriously cool, peppy little motor, small, light, wheel at each corner, yet it handles like a 1985 Vauxhall Astra on knackered shockers. Seems strange that a car designed to put the fun into economy motoring should have such an awful chassis. Base model Fiestas, 106's Saxos and the like, despite pedestrian performance, can still entertain. Why not the Smart?
It was bad enough to put me off.
It's perfectly simple. If you endow such a tall narrow car with any meaningful grip, it will simply topple over with enthusiastic cornering or an emergency avoidance manoeuvre. This is why the manufacturer made it understeer for England, as it basically stops the car from ever generating the kind of lateral forces which would make it unstable. Mercedes did something similar with the similarly styled A-Class after the elk test debacle, although their solution involved electronics as well. Those cute looks have a price.
Did you know you can now have a 175 bhp Suzuki GSX-R1000 motorcycle engine fitted to your Smart, complete with six-speed sequential manual gearbox? And you think the handling is scary on the standard model...
I had one for the day to see what it was like. I loved it! I have read what people said about it and was worried about the 'problems'. I didn't get annoyed about one thing. The slow gear shift actually makes car feel faster, there is a pause then it lunges forward with each shift! handling was fine for normal driving (which is what we should be driving like remember) and economy was amazing. It was fairly comfy and covered the 200miles we did no problems!
People who don't 'get' smart don't understand its amazing character. The gearshift isn't meant to be like an f1 car. Its not meant to corner at 80mph, its meant to be unusual and fun, and that it is!
I recently bought my Pulse via E-bay and collected it from Leicester. The journey back to Northampton via the M1 was 'interesting' with my wife following in our family car and the fact that it was pitch black and pouring with rain, didn't make life all that easy. However we managed to get home safely. This car is absolutely magic I agree with all the good comments that have gone before totally in respect of handling, comfort and performance. As someone said it can turn into a serious love affair and I am smitten. The only problem I have got is the windscreen washers. The feed pipe can be disconnected from the actual jets and water is projected to a height of 12 feet or more, but when connected back to the washers a few bubbles is all that appears. I wriggled a fine piece of brass wire down the holes and managed to get one of the three jets working fine, but then it stopped. Obviously some dirt is in the pipe and access is impossible. I have resorted to carrying a squeeze bottle of windscreen wash until the fine weather appears and I can take the front off and have a serious look at things.