My 2015 Smart ForTwo Pure was purchased used three years ago with 22,500 miles on it. I purchased it from Carvana online sigh unseen, having never test driven it. A video was made to document that process which has been well received over the years, though some viewers lacked the imagination to understand why I did it shirtless.
I put a vinyl wrap on it when I bought it to make it more visible which means bright like a traffic pylon so don’t crash into me. It worked well and made the car impossible to park at places I should not be at because it became a notorious sight in downtown Phoenix. I’m told there was even a Facebook page on “Munky sightings” for a while.
As it’s time to sell the car, the wrap has come back off. It took a weekend to peel away and detail and has allowed the perfectly preserved factory paint to return without incident.
For living in an urban city it has been the perfect car for getting around and parking in tight spots. You can literally park this thing where spaces don’t exist like next to a trash dumpster in a narrow alley – nobody knows its there. You can drive it on a city sidewalk if needed, I’ve done it.
It has been fun to drive and has the perfect blend of performance and handling for downtown driving. With 70 horsepower it certainly isn’t fast and its 5-speed automated transmission takes a lot of getting used to but it all works perfectly for is lot in life looking back on it all.
In three years I have put a little over 55,000 miles on it with now about 78,000 miles on the clock. Fuel economy has ranged from about 28 mpg city on the low end and 40 mpg city on the high end. With air-conditioning on the hottest days in Phoenix summers, the fuel economy really sank, but the rest of the time exceeded EPA estimates.
It has been for the most part more reliable and sturdy than I expected though it does have some quirks. The motor mounts all came apart around the 60,000 mile mark, a common issue with the W451 series Smart cars. I hit a bad pot hole one day which broke the inner structure of a headlight and that had to be replaced.
One trip to the Mercedes-Dealership for some accumulated warranty work netted $3,800 in repairs which twice paid for the extended warranty I bought on the car. This included a new TPMS sensor, a new oxygen sensor to turn off a check engine light, and an actuator inside the dash that adjusts the airflow for the HVAC system.
The main piece of work was a new fuel pump assembly to fix a gasoline odor issue that was the result of a cracked fuel vapor return line connector – another very common issue with these cars. So if you ever smell gas when getting out of your Smart car after driving it, you likely need a new fuel pump.
Outside of the warranty work, I did all of the routine maintenance and minor repairs myself. There have been five oil and filter changes, two sets of its three spark plugs, multiple headlight and stop-light bulbs and one new set of rear hatch struts.
I did recently replace the two accessory drive belts which was likely the hardest job I have ever done on a car. The dealer had quoted my $175 to replace them when it was in for warranty work and I laughed at them thinking, “Hell no you aren’t gonna screw me like that, they are two $10 parts I can replace in 10 minutes.” Wrong. It was a nightmare that took two days and I still have sore hands a month later. If your shop is willing to do it for any price, take the deal.
All in though I am going to miss this little gem of a car and am glad it was part of my life for three years. While this isn’t a car for everyone, I think everyone should try one one once. It almost always put a smile on my face and I would totally do it again.