2008 Smart ForTwo: Gridlock Car From Hell
August 29, 2008
You'd think a car this small would be perfect for gridlock. It's tiny footprint should allow it to slice through tight spots and zip through traffic, and actually, it does that. Unfortunately, it's a still a nightmare. We've already gone over ad nauseum the automated manual transmission that jerks and jiggles you around at 5 mph speeds as if a teenage driver is slipping the clutch for you.
But for me, the biggest issue is the brake pedal. I don't know how other people drive (in particular weirdo Franco-German mini car designers), but I leave my heal on the floor and fan it from accelerator and brake. The Smart's floor-mounted brake pedal is at an angle like this / , but my foot is going at it like this \ . That means I usually have to lift my heel off the ground and push it with my toes. That's when the Smart's Mercedes-like modulation comes into play, with a lot of nebulous dead travel greeted by abrupt grab. So I often jerk to halt, or if I actually manage to be more gradual about it, then the transmission comes in and jiggles and jerks things.
I really wanted to like the Smart, but honestly, what a heap.
James Riswick, Automotive Editor@ 8,526 miles