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Smart choice?


phil_lihp

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Anyone know anything about Smarts?  My dad's due to retire and hand back his company 3-series and wants something small and a bit more interesting to buzz around locally in, possibly a convertible but has to be reliable and he wants low mileage, newer than 2000 and full service history.  He has to have something easy to get in and out of with good visibility and light controls due to a car accident neck injury a couple of years ago.  He wanted an MX-5 originally but thinks it will be too low down.  

 

He's since found a 53-plate Smart at a trustworthy local dealer for £3300 with only 12k miles on it - it's been serviced according to mileage and not time so only has two stamps in the book but it's pretty much mint.  I know nothing much about these, what's to watch out for?

 

Link: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Smart-City-Coupe-0-7-Passion-Automatic-Part-Exchange-Welcome-/111240607988?pt=Automobiles_UK&hash=item19e674f8f4

 

He also found an 04 Tigra at a local Ford dealer which they've had for ages and can't seem to shift, only 24k on the clock but I have warned him off it due to reliability concerns and leaky roof syndrome, my thinking is a canvas roof is less hassle if it's in good condition.  Can't really think what else to find in this sort of category at under £3k, any suggestions?  I have tried suggesting Peugeot 306 convertibles but they're too old, he's not into fixing cars and wants something that still feels 'modern'.  That's the 2CV out then!

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Their ride is terrible and could understeer for England. A friend of mine had an early LHD one (Passion I think - that's the spec. (Pure, passion and sport?)). Anyway we went on the first London_brighton smart run in it. Fine round town, if bumpy, but on the motorway I'd rather be in the 2cv! It was well made though and quite funky with some nice ideas inside.

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smart fortwos have chocolate pistons! Expect bore two or three to die. CHeapish to fix but they're overpriced and over rated.

 

I am a smart owner.

SHIT! My mate just bought one as a promo vehicle, and it's running like a bag of nails. I stupidly said I'd take a look at it. I haven't even clapped eyes on it yet.

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I had an early lhd pulse which I used to buzz around town in. They are fine for what they are built for but grim for long distance/motorway speeds. Auto box is horrible, it always contrives to be in the wrong gear to the one you need but you learn to drive around it eventually. I managed to spin it 360 degrees on the spot much to the wide eyed horror of the driver of the astra behind me driving down islington in liverpool on a wet day... that was exciting. As already said, they eat pistons and turbos are well known to fail at around 40k miles. I used to get my parts from merc as they were always cheaper than independents. If its got a glass roof, make sure its also got aircon. They still dont appear to depreciate much.

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I used to have an '03 plate Passion, low mileage and I was the second owner. It also had a full dealer service history, it looked brilliant but seemed to have no suspension and was at the dealers more times that I actually used it. It took several months before they admitted defeat and fitted a new gearbox. It was scary on roundabouts too, such a lag before the engine and gearbox decided to co-operate. Not good when there is an artic bearing down on you.

 

Great looks, great concept, utter shite reality.

 

Go for the IQ, I would. 

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if he;'s buying one, you want one with the manual and auto modes (button on side of gearlever).

 

The roadsters (which I own) are better on the engine front but low compression on two or three is normally a sign of oil being eaten by the engine, which kills the turbo. A rebuild will set an owner back about £850 but ensure a specialist does it. Fudgesmart are mobile and recommended.

 

I had a cdi fortwo, bought for £900, sold for £3000 - all I did was run it for three months but SWMBO didnt like lhd - even though the insurance was cheap and tax free.

 

Remapped, a fortwo is great on the motorway (with wide wheels) - and mine could do 105mph+

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I am selling my 2002, semi-auto Cabrio Passion, soon. It has about 45K and part service history, so probably not what your dad wants.

 

That being said, I don't want anything like £3K or even £2K.

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The GF was adamant she wanted one of these last year, talked her out of it, so over priced and seem too small even for a new driver. Bought a K11 Auto for £650 instead, never went wrong or cost a penny over a year. Conclusion....spend £2.5k more on a car to save £100 on Tax? No thanks.

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I had a diesel forfour. Other than the fact that it's a dressed up Mitsubishi Colt in fancy pants it was great. Lots of space, nice inside, looked kinda funky. The 1.5 diesel was super frugal too. You can even get them with normal gearboxes.

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My word, I knew this place was a hive of knowledge but I wasn't expecting 19 replies with all that useful detail in such a short time!

 

Thanks, that's a lot to digest.  I had a feeling they tended to lunch their engines fairly early on - small motor under high stress doesn't bode well for high mileages - but there's at least a case for saying that the low mileage of that particular one coupled with his likely small annual limit (they have my mum's car to use too) it would take years to get near 40k.

 

I've suggested a long test drive to decide on the auto box, allegedly early ones are reluctant and lurchy but later ones from 2003 onwards are better, no idea if that's true.

 

I do like the idea of the SLK/TF and I will suggest that to him but I think he's going to struggle with any low-slung sports car to be honest and the IQ is too new and expensive, it's only for running around town so to be honest the existing budget far the requirements in many respects.

 

No sump plug?  What madness is this?

 

Oh, and I did consider it my duty to try and get him in a Rover 200 convertible but it didn't work...

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the roadsters don't lunch their engines so readily - they die at any age - normally piston rings gumming up and allowing oil past into the bore!

 

Lack of full throttle seems to be the issue, roadsters are driven hard and fortwos aren't. I've seen 10k cars with dead engines and ones with 100k that run perfectly.

 

a sump with plug is c.£50.

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