The first thing to do with a new car is to take a couple of pics and then... customize it!
So, here it is, parked in front of our house!
...in the garage...
and... the customization!
Ah, yes! What it's like...
It's the sort of car I would never advise anyone to buy:
Lowered suspension? NO!
Wider wheels with VERY low profile tires?! STAY AWAY!
An engine remap?! DEFINITELY STEER CLEAR!
Well... I'm happy with it! It borders on the silly side of cuteness! And I like it!
The car came from one very careful owner, who really cared about his pride and joy. A close look at the service booklet reveals all the services were done in time and the oil-changes were done at approximately every 5-6000 km's. In fact the latest oil change was performed at the local Smart guru, where I had asked Fil to bring the car to be checked. The oil was Motul 300V, no less!!!
After my first... 18 km's with the car, I have no real driving experience it it yet. I'm just happy listening to the wastegate fluttering whenever I let go of the gas pedal!
Despite the lowered suspension and the 40-profile tires (195/40-16 fronts, 215/40-16 rears) it is not annoying over the usual potholes and undulations of city driving. There are absolutely no creaks or other sounds from the interior either.
It's imperative to say that before buying the car, I had a local Smart guru give it a very thorough examination. His suggestions: A tiny hairlike crack at the manifold, which is NOT dangerous and can be cheaply and easily fixed (I've arranged to do it next week, actually), a slightly bent right-front wheel, an engine mount that would be wise to be changed some time in the ner future and some noise (that I can't hear!) coming from the front shocks.
Knowing all these, I did a small bargaining with Fil, the previous owner and we ended up with a nice price for both of us.
Since all my previous cars from 1997 till today were turbos (A Punto GT from 1997 to 2004, covered 97000kms, a Skoda Octavia Combi 4X4 with ABT remap, 56000kms in 4 years, and lately the Leon FR DSG 2.0 TFSi with 62000kms) I have the knowledge and the patience to not destroy a turbo engine!
In fact, I registered with the Greek Smartclub forum and read almost everything about it, so, I really knew what to expect.
So, next day, and after 165km's, here we go:
First of all, fuel consumption: I poured 12.6 liters of unleaded (20 euros' worth), when there was the "3.5 liters remaining" sign on the speedo. So far the first blob is still on, after 165 kms. so, we're good in this concern!
There's good torque available from the small turbo engine! I could almost compare it to the Leon, of course, knowing the technical specs of the tiny engine, and also taking into account the half-ton lighter weight of the Smart! It certainly has a better low rev torque, when compared with the other non-turbo cars in our family, the 1.3 petrol Jimny and the 1.3 petrol Yaris.
It also likes to rev! Especially with the lower three gears, I find myself racing towards 6500 rpm regularly!!!
In the minus points: Gearbox and the short wheelbase!
As far as the gearbox is concerned, it needs you to learn its way and work around its laziness. Coming from the lightning-fast DSG, when I first drove my Smart I was almost... disappointed!!! My God! What huge pauses are these between gearchanges?!!
No to mention that at first I was hang to dry while the 'box was trying to find the suitable gear to move on...
After a few kilometers of familiarization, I realized how to work the gearbox and avoid the all annoying hitting on the headrest when changing gears, either automatically or "manually".
The short wheelbase is soooooooooo short that whenever you hit an integral undulation, you fear you will never go out the other side in one piece! It's actually more annoying than even the Jimny, the worst road car I've ever driven - so far!
To be fair, I knew what I was getting: Lowered suspension and 40-ratio tires! Anyway, even in the very wet motorway, it feels planted up to 100-110 km/h and at lower speeds, in city turns, it also feels equally planted, with those huge 215-section rear tires! I have yet to engage the ESP/antispin!
Speaking of speed, at a short trip with my (87-year old) dad to his country house, on the motorway, in heavy rain, we were cruising at 110-120 km/h and were able to speak normally, while the gearbox was trying to decide whether 5th or 6th gear was best for the situation...
At those speeds, I noticed that despite the tall, wide, short and boxy body, the Smart was not intimidated when passing huge trucks on the motorway. Nice!
A good point with having a very short car with just 1.8m of wheelbase, is that you can find parking spots that you would just overlook if you were in any 4-seater car!!!
In other details, the lights are lighting the side ways nicely, but straight ahead you can see some "shadows". Some times the interior light does not light up when I open the driver's door, while it always lights when the right door is opened.
Amazing wipers! Front and rear! They clean an amazingly large part of the windshields. I have not yet taken it to my local mountain roads to see what it will do when pushed in tight and not-so-tight turns.
Finishing the random thoughts, I have to say a good word on the sound system: It's ages better than the tinny sounding system of the SEAT! Especially with the subwoofer, it gives the car interior another dimension.
Update on the fuel consumption:
At 170km's it said "4 liters", at 180 it said "3.5 liters" and I refuelled another 20 euros' worth of 12.5 liters.
This morning, after another 165 km's of careless driving, including a lot of wategate fluttering listening, the "4 liters" came up... Oh well...