• May 21, 2009
Smart ForTwo - Click above for a high-res image gallery

If you poll owners (and reviewers) of the Smart ForTwo you'll find one consistent gripe: the transmission. The automated manual gearbox herks, jerks and is about as dynamically pleasing as petting your dog with a broom.

Apparently, Smart is listening, and in addition to tweaking the software on the 2009 ForTwo, the automaker is offering 24,622 owners of 2008 models the same transmission fix. Letters are being delivered to let owners know about the free software upgrade, and while the fix supposedly makes a difference, the few people we've talked to who've driven the 2009 model assure us that while the shifting is better, it's still very far from perfect.



[Source: USAToday via KickingTires]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 21 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      I've had my smart since March of 08 and got the letter and the software upgrade around the end of March of this year.

      While it's still clearly a single clutch transmission, I'm very happy with the upgrade. High RPM shifts now take about the same amount of time as lower RPM ones; creep mode is now much softer, and I can engage and use my flappy paddles without having to move the shift lever to the manual gate.

      On top of everything else, the software upgrade was free.

      Overall, I was very, very pleased with the experience, although my smart retailer in Round Rock, Texas is apparently one of the highest rated locations for customer service.

        • 5 Years Ago
        You mind if I rip that dealership up and move them here? At best, we get crooks who stick you with 3 car loans and no car. You don't want to know about the worse end of the pool.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Benz,

        The Round Rock Smart/Honda/Toyota/Hyundai dealership's service is definitely superb. When I had a CR-V they were always great to me--plus they usually had good Round Rock donuts in the morning. It was always worth the drive from Leander to go to RR for the service. Doesn't hurt that my best friend's dad is the service manager there.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Has there EVER been a good transmission on a Smart?
      • 5 Years Ago
      For those who haven't driven the older transmission car, it's like a ride from the fair designed to make you lose your lunch. Let me describe it...

      shifting from first...
      car rocks forward... wait....
      ...
      ...
      into second - gaining speed then
      car rocks forward again... wait... time to hurl your lunch... still waiting...
      ...
      ...
      shifing into third and so on...

      When we test drove one last year we just had dinner. Every time it shifted and rocked forward my partner would make noise like he was about to hurl. We were giggling like kids by the time we returned it... and we're seriously north of 40 years old.

      Don't bother fixing this transmission - replace it with a CVT.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I test drove one and this thing rocks and rolls - in a bad way. Yes it is the transmission the cause as mentioned here and in many other sites. Smart really needs to re-engineer this car...pop a cvt transmission and maybe a hybrid type engine. When I was at the dealership I overheard the sales people talk about the mileage - average is the low 30's....unacceptable in such a tiny car as well as the lofty price tag with options...the positive is that it has excellent workmanship and feels solid.
      • 5 Years Ago
      That thing has a transmission?

      You'd never know it; the poor thing can't seem to get out of its own way.

      And... gas mileage worse than my old '91 Shadow.

      At least you can park it under your desk... where it won't be seen and therefore laughed-at.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I agree with the mileage and price comments. It does provide better mpg than something like a Civic, but not nearly as much as you would expect for giving up things like rear seats.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Learn to drive SMARTly.....
      • 5 Years Ago
      When are they gonna fix the rear toe in ? every smart i see on the road has such bad leaning tires towards the body, off camber, toe in problems this hardly seems safe and not too great for tire wear !
      • 5 Years Ago
      Please do. It's far and away the worst part of the car. You'd think it'd feel unstable, it doesn't. You'd think it feels unsafe, it doesn't. But when that transmission shifts, it makes the vehicle seem like it isn't even worth $4000.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Is it the same tx as the one used in Smart Roadster in Europe? By coupe I mean this:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smart_Roadster

      Or is it an Americanized version?

      I test drove the Roadster few years ago, same engine, turbo, same tx as standard Smart, and it drove beautifully - in an auto mode or when I used paddle shifters.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Offer a standard 5 speed and make the upgraded automated manual an option, problem solved.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Offering only the automated manual means they didn't have to design in any space for a clutch pedal linkage.
      • 5 Years Ago
      What's the big deal here? My 2007 X3 automatic had 8, yes eight! software updates over just two years and it's still flawed. OK, BMW promised me another one come in four months. Great! I am getting these all for free! M-B, you can't beat this kind of attention to details!
      • 5 Years Ago
      I put some video together on my 2.0 upgrade from a couple months ago. It really stops the bucking at low speeds, and high speeds keeps the power moving along...



      If you want a link outside of the embed: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2I9zts-qfNM&fmt=18
        • 5 Years Ago
        That seems a lot better. Not exactly bang-bang shifts, but it seems like it won't make the car rock anymore.
      • 5 Years Ago
      My kingdom, my kingdom. My kingdom for a double clutch transmission.
        • 5 Years Ago
        That would be "A DCT, a DCT, my kingdom for a DCT". Get your quotes straight. :D
        Anyway, this was badly needed, and I applaud Daimler for this. Hopefully they get around to the other big issues (like the premium fuel requirement).
        • 5 Years Ago
        Sorry, thanks for the correction.
        The Smart only requires Euro mid-grade 95RON, so if they would slightly tune it down, then US mid-grade of 89 would work.

        Then bring over a turbo model!
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