2005 smart roadster from UK and Ireland - Comments

13th Apr 2006, 20:47

I have had my smart roadster for 5 months, and have had the seals looked at 3 times, as well as paint defects (bubbling). I also can't stand the gearbox (I don't like how it takes a while to change down gears). If anyone can suggest a way to fix the gear problem it would be much appreciated. I do love the car besides all of it's problems, and it is certainly a pleasure to drive... it will definitely take me a while before I get sick of it!

18th Apr 2006, 19:45

Sadly, there's nothing you can do about the mediocre semi automatic gearbox. The Roadster lacks either a slick automatic or a real manual so we're stuck with a 'light the fuse and wait' box. As the Roadster has now been discontinued (as well as the Smart ForFour) we'll never see an upgrade to this model. Pity.

17th Jul 2006, 06:06

According to most owners who've had it done, remapping the ECU gives both a healthy boost to the power, and improves the gear shifting. I haven't had my car done yet so cannot confirm the difference exactly.

12th Nov 2006, 21:40

I find revving the engine after/as you change down, help`s synchronise the gear ratio`s quicker and smooths the change.

17th Aug 2007, 14:44

Stop making the car out to be so bad! It only seems to be people who've had problems post, but the ones who have endless fun out of it out number them 100 to 1! These people normally don't post, as they haven't got a bad thing to say, so I'll break the trend!

First off for the money you'll not find a more enjoyable/great handling car as the roadster. The engine although 0.7 turbo, sounds amazing! You get 40+ MPG even if you floor it everywhere (steady driving up to 55mpg)! Electric soft-top, so no stopping to manually put down (cough Ford Ka cough)! Most likely the ones who complain about the gear box run it in Auto, if you use manual and plan ahead it's no issue as I find mine fine!

I swear if you test drive one of these, you'll want one on the spot!!

26th Aug 2007, 17:46

The Roadster is a great car and likely to become a classic. It has the sound and feel of exotica, but at mini metro costs. You can't help but drive it every where at 3000-6000 revs. The gear change is far improved on the later models.

The car does have its faults, but if your someone who appreciates a raw driving experience you will forgive them.

This is more a car for lovers of caterhams, nobles and old 911's (993).

31st Jan 2008, 06:27

GET OUT WHILE YOU CAN! The smart roadster will always leak. you will have to change the seals and probably the SAM unit once a year, costing around 2000 pounds at smart...

This will never go away.

I was told by smart (after I returned the car) that the roadster wasn't designed for the UK...

I agree that the car drives like no other, I also know that trying to fix one is like trying to catch smoke with your bare hands...

Get the new Fiesta ST 150. You will never look back...

1st Mar 2008, 06:08

Have had a 2003 Roadie for 1/2 year now and I don't get wet...

12th Mar 2008, 09:58

Had my roadster for 3 years. Plus points are the handling and grip on the road. Major bad point is the leaks it suffers from which are very expensive, causing constant problems. This easily cancels out the cheap insurance and petrol costs. Be warned!

18th Apr 2008, 13:27

My Smart Roadster leaked firstly through the roof (lots of water!). This was easily fixed. Next it leaked through the wing mirrors (fixed one then the other leaked). Finally, the bulkhead leak started... I tried several times to fix it but failed. After around £1,200 of repairs I gave up and sold it. A real shame... but I needed to spend some time at home and work rather than at the garage. My advice is ... enjoy watching other people drive them!

23rd Aug 2008, 19:01

I am from Belgium. I just bought this car for couples of months, it's true leaking on the passenger window, but it was fixed by my garage.

The only problem I had is the gear shifting; it's a bit crap.. but I always get the eye if I drive on the city. I love it.

15th Sep 2008, 12:29

Yes you all are right, it leaks like no mans business and it will get WORSE. I just bought mine and it was perfect, I never came across any leaks but I slowly noticed a leak on the passengers door, coming out from the bottom. Then it got WORSE. It started leaking down on to the speakers. And now it's leaking from the top passengers side at the back on the roof top. It's the manufacturer's FAULT.

The damn car is not fit for the UK full stop.

19th Nov 2008, 11:28

The roadster's seals need a good dose of silicone spray every month or so - should keep them in good order and banish the leaks.

You need to learn how to live with the gearbox - once you do it's really very good, but it just behaves in a different way - and it's the driver that has to change! You do have to pre-empt it a lot, and subtle use of the throttle is required.

... But if you bought a roadster, it's surely because you wanted something different from all the other dreary conformist cars on the market!

10th Jan 2009, 18:39

I am in the process of buying a 54 plate roadster. I have heard of the leaks and spoke to a couple of specialists. I have looked at a few cars, and simple checks if the seals are crap - visual appearance obvious, then check under carpets - front and back on the passenger side and rear on the drivers... if wet do not buy. To replace seals is 15 hours at a Merc dealership!!

NOT BUILT FOR THE UK - DOH it also rains in Europe - if not more than the UK...

I have looked at loads of cars - Megane convertible / motorbikes... the roadster is my second car of choice.

Keep in the garage, buy a car cover... help yourselves!!!

21st Jun 2009, 17:06

Please, do not compare this car to a Fiesta or anything else on four wheels on sale now!

The closest approach to this is a Lotus Elise, which is even more hardcore. And I have never listened to an Elise owner complaining about leaking roofs or comfort or whatever. The advantage the Elise has is that it’s far more expensive, so it is unlikely that a normal person ends up buying one, and then regretting that decision because its ride is ridiculously hard, or it accelerates too much.

Put simple: do you want to have honest and cheap fun? Go for this car; do you want something to go from A to B which looks young and attracts a lot of attention, so you think people are looking at you? Go for a “sporty” hatchback and paint it yellow.

4th Aug 2009, 09:28

We have had a roadster since November 08 and I love it. True it leaks, but we were told at the time convertibles will leak (which I agree with). Couple of fixes but leaks still there, but I'm not too worried. Just hoping the speakers survive!

This car is so much fun. I had never driven an automatic so don't have anything really to compare the gearbox to, but I find it easy to use once you know when to pre-empt it!

I'm not sure what I would replace this with if we need to as I don't know that it is like any other car.