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Thinking about buying a 2008 Smart ForTwo

Transmission issues? I’ve read everything from “no problems” to catastrophic failures. Trying to make a purchase decision. Thanks!

You really want to buy a 10 year old vehicle that is no longer sold in the US if that is where you are. It was overpriced , needed premium fuel and did not get near the fuel economy it should have . And yes , the transmission was really not very good.


Yeah. Unless you’re just in love with the body style or something, pass. It was not an impressive car by any stretch.

Those cars had two functions:
An eye-catching shape so they made good billboards for your company logo.
You could park two of them in one parking spot if you backed up to the curb in a parallel spot.
I have no personal experience with how long the transmissions lasted, but they felt horrible when they shifted.

A friend of mine has one.

It’s given them a lot of problems. They’re looking to trade in theirs in the near future,

One of those “RUN AWAY” used cars. Lots of better options out there.

I think the $2000 plus computers were a problem too. Maybe if you could get a warranty . . .

Even then. I’m not interested in owning any car where the wheels are designed to self-destruct as part of the crumple zone.

I have to be honest here…I could never see any reason why anyone would want one of these things. It’s so small that it looks like you could only afford half of a car, and I think they only weigh about 1,800 lbs. I would imagine they are easy to park, but really, you could buy a Honda Civic or a Toyota Corolla and have a real (if a bit small) car that will seat 4 or 5 people in a pinch and will probably achieve better gas mileage. I just can’t see the redeeming qualities, if there are any. I wouldn’t want one if it were a reliable car with a good transmission, and it doesn’t even have that going for it. On that note…I once saw a rather large man driving a blue Smart Car with headlight eyelashes…I’d have needed a bag over my face.

When I first saw these it was parked along the canal in Amsterdam. It fit in such a small space where a bike would normally park. Popular in places like that where space is non-existent. Sort of like a golf cart but smaller.

I have often thought of buying cars like the Smart For Two that are different. Some of the cars I thought about were the following;

  1. Citicar. I wanted to experiment with a battery powered car.
  2. Geo Metro convertible. I thought it would be a fun car to own, but the three cylinder engine and automatic transmission made the car quite sluggish.
  3. MG Midget. This car needed a clutch and extensive body work, but the price was right at $700.
    Mrs. Triedaq talked me out of buying these cars. Odd ball cars, such as the Smart For Two may be fun for a couple of weeks, but the novelty soon wears off. When I was in high school, the daughter of the Chevrolet dealer attended the same school. A local drug store gave away a new 1958 Isetta in a drawing. The winner kept the car about a month and then traded it for a new Chevrolet. The daughter of the Chevrolet dealer drove it to school for about a month --she thought the car was cute–but after a month, she was back to driving a used Chevrolet off the lot. The Isetta was a two seater with one door on the front of the car. The steering wheel swung out of the way so the driver and the passenger could be seated. The Isetta was about the size of the Smart For Two. Like the Isetta of the 1950s, the Smart For Two is really not suitable for most driving conditions.

I have a 2012 Smart Fortwo. Have had it for about a year and a half now. As soon as I can possibly make it happen I will be getting rid of this car and finding anything else.

It is impossible to describe how bad this car is in any type of weather conditions less favorable than sunny spring day. Seriously. It’s bad. You imagine it will not be good, maybe pretty bad…multiply that by a factor of 50 and you will have an idea of what I am taking about.

Other drivers are obnoxious. As a female Vespa rider I am familiar with the lack of respect, but some people seem to find the presence of a tiny car offensive and they go out of their way to go around you, to the point that it is dangerous. Is this acceptable? No, of course not. But it is something to really consider.

It is extremely unreliable, poorly designed, and anything you need done on it is going to take forever to get the parts, the labor will be extremely expensive, and even finding someone willing to work on it is a huge challenge.

One simple example of this: the brake light/line switch. This thing is located in an area that is not well sealed, and is highly prone to corrosion. And, it will completely disable your vehicle with little or no warning. Leaving you with a tiny car stuck in park, and no options to get it moving again. My car is currently stuck at my work parking lot. I have no idea what to do to get it fixed. I missed two days of work until I was able to borrow a car from my son in law. Fortunately, I was not stuck someplace dangerous, or that would have more of a problem if my car stayed there for several days (although they are going to loose patience soon, I have little doubt).

Smart cars are known for leaving owners stranded, over little things like this. Things that happen because of poor design.

I strongly caution against it. They are safe, surprisingly so. But the negatives outweigh the positives, in my experience.

I would say that buying this particular vehicle would be the least smart thing to do. The issues are well known and even with no transmission problems they didn’t function all that well.

Now if they had left the small efficient diesel engine and manual transmission in the vehicle, like they did in Europe, then maybe it would be time to think it over. The version of this vehicle we get in the US is not worth your time… I’ve considered buying one only to swap in a motorcycle engine, but that is an entirely different matter. I say pass and buy a Honda…

Hmmm… Buying an “economy” car that requires premium gas, that isn’t anywhere near as economical as it should be for its size, has a horrible transmission, is historically unreliable, and which costs a lot to repair…

Why not?

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I seem to remember from a while back someone complaining about the $2000 cost of one of the computers that seemed to fail on a regular basis.