How to start a smart fortwo that's stuck in park (ABS light on)
IMPORTANT: When you're jiggling your screwdriver or other metal implement, you (obviously?) have to also be pulling on your shifter. I forgot to mention this on the video. If you have a question leave a comment.
I pulled myself out of park at least a dozen times before I was able to get to a dealer.
Kudos to the folks on the Smart Car of America forums who had this figured out: http://www.smartcarofamerica.com/forums/f25/shifter-stuck-park-heres-get-me-home-fix-5578/
Another update: this problem went away by itself when the weather warmed up to -10*C. Protip: Smartcars aren't great in -30*C!
Test Driving a Smart Car
Krumbine finally test drives a 2009 smart ForTwo from Holler Driver's Mart in Orlando.
Here's the low-down on the transmission: it's a manumatic which means it's a manual transmission that shifts automatically. Why they didn't just go with a fully automatic or fully manual, I don't know.
That being said, when driven in stupid mode (automatic), the gear shifts come early and take FOREVER, which creates that lag and the rocking that we described in the video. Smart has remedied SOME of the lag with firmware updates that this particular ForTwo probably HASN'T received yet.
Secondly, all of that is completely inconsequential when you drive it manual mode--with either the paddle shifters (AWESOME) or gear shift (+ or -, left of the PRND). The car drives perfectly normal and because of its small size and peppy engine, is probably about as much fun as you can have in a cheap "sports" car this side of a Miata.
And YES. I did just call it a sports car. There's little else to fairly compare it to. It has the practicality of a sports car (two seater, minimal storage); the buying rationalization of a sports car (well, it's not like I NEED it!); an engaging drive like a sports car.
I won't address any of the safety concerns here, only to say that I don't drive a car with the intention to wreck it every day (or ever). Secondly, the ForTwo is as safe (or safer) than any average car on the road today and you're welcome to research that yourself before you criticize it too much.
More videos by Jordan Krumbine:
Books by Jordan Krumbine:
Smart Car Test Drive
Robert Schoenberger, auto writer for The Cleveland Plain Dealer, takes the new ultra-compact, high-mileage Smart Car for a test drive.
Smart CDI review
Rowan Horncastle from Motormorph.com and Greenbang.com takes the new Smart ForTwo diesel out of the city for a review.
2005 Smart forfour PULSE 1.1i Full Review,Start Up, Engine, and In Depth Tour
For more in depth reviews check my channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/avtomobil...
Filmed by: Tomaž Kožar Jesenice
The original two-seater Smart car was a motoring milestone. Its tiny dimensions and radical styling made it one of the most recognisable cars on the road. But as DaimlerChrysler, the owner of the brand, soon found out, innovation in itself does not make you money. With the financial losses mounting at Smart, the manufacturer hoped the introduction of a larger, more practical four-seater model would put the accounts back into the black.
Introduced to the UK in September 2004, the Smart Forfour was 50% longer than its little brother, giving it not only rear seats but also a reasonable boot. That extra length also transformed the car's road manners: gone was the choppy ride caused by the ultra-short wheelbase, replaced by the sense that you are driving a proper grown-up car.
While there are some visual similarities with the Fortwo, the Forfour shares more than half of its components with the Mitsubishi Colt. It also comes with a much more traditional lineup of engines. Out went the 600cc turbocharged unit found in the Fourtwo and in came a range of three petrol and two diesel engines.
The smallest of the engines, the 1.1 litre, makes do with just three cylinders, produces 75bhp and generates a distinctive and not unpleasant warble when revved hard. Next comes a four-cylinder 1.3 litre producing 95bhp and a 1.5 litre with 109bhp. Both larger engines feel more eager and manage respectable fuel economy of around 45-47mpg in the combined cycle.
The diesel power comes courtesy of a 1.5 litre turbocharged unit tuned to either 68bhp or 95bhp. The extra power adds £1,000 to the cost of the Smart Forfour but that premium halves on secondhand examples, making them well worth the extra cash. Either engine should return you 58mpg in mixed motoring.
While the Forfour's exterior may be pretty distinctive its interior may come as a slight disappointment. There are still some familiar Smart features, such as the pod-like dials, but it's a more conservative approach than the earlier Fortwo. That said, the layout is clear and easy to use and the somewhat plasticky switchgear stands the test of time surprisingly well.
The Forfour is also admirably practical for a car that is, despite its large size relative to the Fortwo, still a very small supermini. It boasts clever rear seats that can be slid forward and back by up to 6in, giving the choice of a bigger boot or more rear legroom.
Equipment levels are reasonable and all models get antilock brakes, airbags, electronic stability control and electric front windows. Passion models add alloy wheels and air-conditioning to that list, although many owners ticked the long list of factory options when new, so most cars come with decent specifications.
Running a Forfour should be a very inexpensive exercise, and residual values look set to remain reasonably strong despite the fact that the car is no longer being built. Indeed this rarity factor seems to be working in its favour. Servicing is every 9,000 miles, and while it is best to get nearly new cars serviced by a franchised dealer to protect residual values it is often more economical to take them to a nonfranchised dealer once they creep over a couple of years old.
In the case of the Smart Forfour servicing should be relatively easy as the car is mechanically straightforward and parts are cheap to buy.
The Forfour may not be the innovator that its little brother was, but together with the rest of the Smart car lineup it must have done something right because the Smart owners' club (www.thesmartclub.co.uk) is one of the largest UK clubs devoted to a single marque.
The model may never have generated any money for DaimlerChrysler but the fact that it made it into production certainly made the UK motoring landscape more interesting.
Satellite navigation At £1,395 the top of the range factory sat nav was a rare option; pay only around £300 extra on a used model
Safety Four-star Euro NCAP rating for adult occupant safety and two stars for child occupant safety
Panels Early cars can suffer from poor panel fit so check carefully that all the gaps are even
Rear seat When sold as new, an optional third lap and diagonal rear seatbelt and headrest turned the Forfour into a "Forfive"
Gearbox Manual five-speed gearbox is standard, with the option of a six-speed semi-automatic on all but the 1.1 litre petrol model. Paddle shift gearchange was also an option
Bodywork Forfour sticks with the "exposed frame" look first seen on the original Smart City car, lending itself to brightly coloured examples, where the panels contrast well with the silver framework
Servicing Every 9,000 miles. Parts are cheap but labour rates can be very high due to the urban locations of the service centres
Air-conditioning Standard on all but the entry level Pulse model
My smart car test drive
I traveled to Princeton New Jersey this weekend to test drive a smart car. I first saw them in Germany back in 2002 and always wanted one. Now they are coming to the USA.
There Goes My Smart Car
My new 2008 smart forwto being towed to the dealership because the gear shifter lever is jammed, where it will sit until at least tomorrow afternoon since the repair shop is closed today.
EDIT: I had to replace the original soundtrack "there goes my baby" with a random audio track because some jerk got all tight assed about me using their studio's song for my home video, which I'm not selling or in any way gaining profit from and the result of which only causes me inconvenience and no improvement in sales or gain in profit to them at all. Thanks jerkface.
Smart Car Crash
This is a test done by Fifth Gear. The test was to compare damage between the fortwo and a car of twice mass and size.
Rapid deceleration would've caused the occupants in both cars to die.
However the test firmly proves the theory correct, a smart is just as safe as something twice its size.
In May 2009 The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety conducted their own tests which the smart did poorly. However nowhere on their site is any data concerning forces on the dummies and possible injury.
Also, the Mercedes Benz C300 weighs just 200lb shy of a Chevrolet Equinox. So while it may be small, it's a heavyweight.
For more on smart safety including real world crash data and even statistics on the probability of crashing a smart:
Here is a video of the smart crashing into a Mercedes Benz S-Class, a car weighing as much a mid size SUV.
The test was done by Auto Und Sport Magazine and NCAP, the test results were "possible head injury" and "cuts & scrapes".
The smart uses a patented steel structure called the Tridion Safety Cell. It's designed to activate crumple zones of ther cars.
It consists of small crumple zones on each end and then a ridgid high tensile passenger cell. The passenger cell begins right before where the footwell ends. As seen on crash videos the car crumples down to the passenger cell and rebounds.
In a crash, this is what happens to a smart:
1. Bumper breaks.
2. Slip Tubes move out of way.
3. Crash Box is hit, airbags activate.
4. Crumple zone crumples.
5. Passenger cell is met.
6. Force distributes through cell, wheels, into the other car's crumple zones.
7. Seatbelt tensioner and force limiter ensure forces are kept down on the body.
8. Remaining force results in the car rebounding.
The NHTSA, Euro NCAP, and the IIHS give the smart a 4 out of 5 star crash test rating. This is higher than any vehicle close to this size.
The roof has been proven to hold 9,000lbs by the IIHS.
The 2011 smart fortwo will have added airbags to the list of safety features. A total of 8 airbags will be on the new fortwo (2 front, 2 head/torso, 2 knee, two side curtain).
Active safety features:
esp® - One of the standard features on your smart fortwo is something called Electronic Stability Program or esp®. When the esp® sensors indicate a skid or swerving of your car, they automatically control the engine throttle and the Anti-Lock brakes to maintain your present course. Also integral to the esp® safety system is Electronic Brake-Force Distribution Control (EBD), which helps to prevent the rear wheels from over-braking.
ABS - A feature of esp®, Anti-Lock Brake Systems (ABS) will apply and release each brake independently to keep you from skidding regardless of the type of road surface each wheel is on.
CBC - When you enter a corner and apply your brakes, the unequal forces at each wheel can result in a skid or a complete "end-around." With Cornering Brake Control (CBC) the inner wheels require less brake force due to less traction. CBC counteracts a potential tendency to swerve by distributing brake forces selectively - even below the threshold of ABS activity.
BAS - Avoiding accidents is often measured in inches. Electronic Brake Assist can sense when you have stepped on the brake quickly but have not applied it hard enough to activate the ABS system. It can be the difference in reaction time you need to avoid an accident.
ASC and ETC - Acceleration Skid Control (ASC) and Engine Torque Control (ETC) are designed to help the smart fortwo move forward on slippery surfaces. ASC acts much like a differential lock but does it by directing power to the wheel offering optimum traction. ETC provides engine control when driving on slippery surfaces. It "feathers" the throttle on low traction acceleration and limits torque in down shifting applications.
HSA - The smart-shift Transmission® of the smart fortwo is equipped with Hill Start Assist (HSA) which allows you to pull away on a hill without having to apply the handbrake. As you lift your foot from the brake pedal while stopped on a hill, HSA holds the brakes for about a second to give you time to move your foot to the accelerator.