• May 22nd 2009 at 10:58AM
  • 7
2008 smart fortwo - Click above for a high-res image gallery

The diminutive little smart fortwo may be the darling of microcar fanatics the world over, but it's seemingly always been plagued with at least one major shortcoming: it's rough, jerky and otherwise unrefined automated manual transmission. The automaker is finally stepping in to do something about it.

For the 2009 model year, all smart fortwos come with revised computer programming that's supposed to smooth out the car's shifting routine, fixing what smart refers to as "a little hesitation between gears" in the '08 models. That's great news, and we hope it helps. Fortunately, current owners are also in luck, as smart is sending all 24,622 owners a letter offering a free upgrade. The letter says:
We will upgrade your transmission software to the new 2009 operating mode which provides improved shifting dynamics as well as instant changing between automatic and paddle shifting just by touching the up or down shift paddles.

[Source: USAToday via KickingTires]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Months Ago
      These actions used to be called Recalls. Upgrade is a nice way of saying we are fixing our defective transmissions.
        • 8 Months Ago
        I think the term "Upgrade" is appropriate because it's a software update. a "recall" is a hardware update.

        Why can't they just sell the manual tranny like they do in other countries? The only upgrade u may need is teaching the driver how to shift better.
      • 8 Months Ago
      Honda did the same thing with their i-SHIFT robot and most users noticed a notable decrease in shift time and gearbox hesitation. Even though i-SHIFT is no classic auto 'box, I think it's great because of 20% better fuel economy and faster in-gear acceleration.
      • 8 Months Ago
      good for them. I test drove this car and was very disappointed to find the tranny unacceptable. It was just an uncomfortable and annoying car to drive. I prefer a manual, especially for a car this size but if its going to be an auto I don't want to have to touch it all the time to drive effectively. I'll try it again now.
        • 8 Months Ago
        I just had my update on Friday, and while the trans update makes all the world of differences, the fact that some wiring got messed up in the process does not make me very happy. Both turn signals on my car act like hazards. Car is in the shop, and I am driving a BRAND NEW loaner Cabrio smart. (7miles new)
      • 8 Months Ago
      I got my transmission upgrade for my '08 a few months ago, and it really did improve the ride and feel of the car. I was impressed that the company was upgrading everyone from the previous model year to have the latest transmission software, among other things like a better battery for some, an updated owners manual, and a few other things depending on the package you got with your car. They called it the "Smart 2.0 Update".
      • 8 Months Ago
      I´ve got one of the first models, 1999, and it´s the best buy of my life, and ten years later he has never visited the garaje...just to change the oil...the worst thing it´s che gearbox, but in sequencial mode it´s ok...im loving it!!!!!!
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