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.

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More videos by Jordan Krumbine:
youtube.com/krumbine

Books by Jordan Krumbine:
www.horbawrong.com/books.html

Comments

    • Francisco Cardenas
      Francisco Cardenas

      I exercise discipline when driving my Smart car; specially with regards to shifting. Drivers expectations of shifts from a Smart automated transmission are seen viewed negatively because of the drivers expectations. Much of these expectations are stress related from the current environment the driver is in.

      If you get to know your Smart car then you'll understand what your car can do. You can easily eliminate the shifting lag if you drive in standard mode. That is if you taken the time to experiment and practice shifting in standard mode.

      In automatic mode, shifts can be manipulated so that a very smooth is executed, though it will require a considerable amount of discipline an practice, until it becomes second nature.

      I was used to driving my SLK32, and I had to use all the discipline that I had to learn how to drive my Smart car. It is a joy to drive my Smart fortwo pure car.

      about 1 year ago
    • Austin Nelson
      Austin Nelson

      i live 5 minutes from where they started the test drive

      about 5 years ago
    • Read more
      Read more

      skip the life story and click here > 1:48 :)

      about 5 years ago
    • Steve Lawrie
      Steve Lawrie

      Had my smart cabrio for just over a month now and love it. I drive in auto most of the time and you get used to it :-) it's a petrol which I use standard 95 unleaded and I've not dropped below 55mpg (UK gallons) I have a 35mile commute along motorway

      about 5 years ago
    • Phillon
      Phillon

      Great to hear. Looking to get one myself.

      about 6 years ago
    • Car Geeks Anonymous
      Car Geeks Anonymous

      Cameraman is terrible, get the f'n camera off dude's head and show the shifts so we can see the lag.

      about 6 years ago
    • MissMercedes
      MissMercedes

      @krumbine As of today (July 1st) Mercedes Benz takes over USA operations from Penske...Good things in store for smart in the USA...Better warranty, more dealers, better financing, lower prices, better service...Finally!

      about 8 years ago
    • krumbine
      krumbine

      @Neonspinnazz30 Thanks for the followup. I really am a fan of the car and brand and have watched and read all the videos videos and reviews out there! And I agree, I've seen enough shitty reviews from uninformed drivers that I think the most important thing to communicate about the smart is how it's intended to be driven in manual mode. I'm looking forward to the NEW new Fortwo in 2014; big hopes for a serious revamp on the transmission ;)

      about 8 years ago
    • MissMercedes
      MissMercedes

      @krumbine P.S. I wasn't trying to attack you, just trying to correct a few things (and messed up myself). Meh, it's your opinion that it sucks in Auto mode and I'd be a hypocrite to not agree with you. It doesn't make it any less fun, it just doesn't feel right in Auto mode IMHO.

      Future note: Renault and smart are joining forces for a new platform/generation in 2014. Hopefully they'll iron out the tranny as that's the only drawback (other than price) that I can find about the car.

      about 8 years ago
    • MissMercedes
      MissMercedes

      @krumbine Touche...Thanks for clarifying...As for your comment you told him "you'll get tired of it VERY quickly" if he didn't drive it in Auto. While I can agree that Auto is as boring as any Toyota (I drove a smart to the Dells over the past few weeks), it doesn't exactly make the car much less fun to drive.

      Also to clarify on my end, I did watch the review and I'm glad yours is one of the more positive ones. Even though I don't own one it still is disappointing to see crappy reviews.

      about 8 years ago
    • krumbine
      krumbine

      @Neonspinnazz30 Chill out. An AUX port does not mean standard iPod INTEGRATION. Yes, the AUX port has been there since day one, but true iPod integration (i.e. plug in the ipod cable and control the ipod through the head unit) is new to 2011 .... unless you install a custom unit. Re your other comment: I don't know if you watched the vid or not, but I loved smart car and agree completely that in manual mode, it's the most fun I've ever had in a car.

      about 8 years ago
    • MissMercedes
      MissMercedes

      @dreamsavenues Unfortunately krumbine hasn't had any more seat time than your average reviewer. This is sad because the smart is known for its bad first impressions. You can put about a week's of groceries or a weekend's luggage in the trunk. It takes time to get used to the quirky transmission but Manual mode is a complete blast. I've been wanting one for 3 years now. In short, it's one of those "hate it or love it" cars. But as a teen (like me) I'd say it's a great choice.

      about 8 years ago
    • MissMercedes
      MissMercedes

      @krumbine Wrong. iPod integration had been there since 2008. The 2011 model year saw several major changes:
      - Completely new dash
      - New colors and matching panels
      - Custom colors
      - Surround sound
      - Ambient lighting
      - LEDs
      - 1 Touch boot release
      - Cruise control
      - MPG counter
      - New rims
      - New tire sizes
      - Wrap program
      - 4 More airbags added (8 total)
      - New fabrics
      - New seats
      - Return of the automatic headlight and automatic wipers option.
      - Trunk light
      - Larger Navigation.

      And much more...

      about 8 years ago
    • MissMercedes
      MissMercedes

      @ElfangorAx Little doodads behind the steering wheel that changes gear for you.

      about 8 years ago
    • RoyDangerMoney
      RoyDangerMoney

      Sorry a bit random but
      4:46 Nissan skyline 350GT in the background very rear in the UK my bro has one

      about 8 years ago
    • krumbine
      krumbine

      @dreamsavenues If you're not wiling to drive it in manual mode, you will get tired of it VERY quickly. Smart has released updated firmware to help smooth the gear shifts, but the simple fact is that it just drives badly in auto mode. Since the ForTwo debuted in the US in '08, very little has changed about it. I believe the major changes in the '11 model are colors and iPod integration. Long and short of it: it's a blast to drive, but you need to get behind the wheel yourself to know for sure.

      about 8 years ago
    • Euan Patterson
      Euan Patterson

      What are these "paddle shifters" you speak of?

      about 8 years ago
    • krumbine
      krumbine

      @JimmerSD Only if they catch you.

      about 8 years ago
    • JimmerSD
      JimmerSD

      @krumbine Florida Turnpike between here and Miami..err that is just prior to my long vacation courtesy of the Florida State Department of Corrections.

      about 8 years ago
    • krumbine
      krumbine

      @MattyHo07 Do you see the headroom I have with the top up? Even Billo would fit in there. It's a spacious little bugger.

      about 8 years ago
    • krumbine
      krumbine

      @JimmerSD I just watched that segment on Top Gear. I think they topped out at 268mph. Which is cool, sure, BUT WHEN WOULD YOU EVER GET TO DRIVE IT THAT FAST?!

      about 8 years ago
    • JimmerSD
      JimmerSD

      My dream car is the Bugatti Veyron. Top speed 252+MPH (limited) and at that speed it burns 1.4 gallons of condensed dinosaur juice per minute. **Sigh**. Now that's conspicuous consumption!

      about 8 years ago
    • krumbine
      krumbine

      @JimmerSD You've made the trip a few times.

      about 8 years ago
    • JimmerSD
      JimmerSD

      Right on 436 out of the Holler lot. North to Howell Branch Rd. Right on Howell Branch to Aloma. Right on Aloma to 436. Right on 436 back to the dealership. :)

      about 8 years ago
    • krumbine
      krumbine

      @rendereduselesspro I cut most of that convo out of the vid, but while all the manufacturers are yelling about their standard petrol engines getting 40mpg this year (and only Hyundai getting it standard without special models or features), smart was doing this in the USA since 2008.

      about 8 years ago
    • krumbine
      krumbine

      @rendereduselesspro See my response to Billo and the updated description. Smart's are sturdy and very safe. I'm more worried about seeing around the soccer mom's in the Odyssey's.

      about 8 years ago
    • krumbine
      krumbine

      @angrypunkbronxkid Look it up, smart car is one of the safer cars on the road, probably hold up better in an accident than my Aveo .... not that I drive every day looking for an accident!!!

      about 8 years ago
    • krumbine
      krumbine

      @MidiPunk The lag is ONLY when driving in automatic mode. When you shift it yourself, the transmission behaves like any other car. And fortunately, it's not a purchase for both of us ..... we both own our own cars and the smart would certainly be mine.

      about 8 years ago
    • krumbine
      krumbine

      @FalconNeko Thanks, I'll check it out. I see they also have one where the guy spends 12 hours in a smart.

      about 8 years ago
    • FalconNeko
      FalconNeko

      good to see the end school vlogs back
      you should look up the uk show 5th gear on youtube they did a test to the limit on the smart car
      it is 1 strong car they crashed it rolled it did every thing to it and it still keep going

      about 8 years ago