Smart Roadster and RC 2003 Road Test | Road Tests | Honest John

24 Jun 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on Smart Roadster and RC 2003 Road Test | Road Tests | Honest John

Smart Roadster

and RC 2003 Test

The Smart Roadster is a little toy really. Ever I went to Berlin in August for the unveiling I#8217;d been forward to the launch of this The low stance, the mid engine, the paddle gearbox and the huge tyres out of the sides all say #8220;fun, fun fun#8221;.

So is it? First impressions were the passenger seat of a Roadster, we#8217;d got the roof off. is a slightly involved procedure, a bit dropping the top of a Mk 1 Lotus Elise, but the broken finger nails.

you press a button to fold the onto a shelf between the and engine. If you#8217;re out on the road, no need to stop to do this. But you will need to stop to the roof#8217;s side rails and them in the front boot.

That still leaves a bit of for soft bags and maybe a case. Certainly more in a Toyota MR2. But this is a forget your toothbrush because you#8217;d better your suitcase.

You can lay a few suits, or valises in the shallow compartment the engine. And Smart does custom luggage for the car. But if you to take any more than you have to buy the Roadster Coupe, a van-driver#8217;s rearwards view, and the removable roof panels your head.

Okay, to the driving impressions. It would be to be able to recline the backrest of the seat, but you can#8217;t. Only the gets this luxury. He gets an optional (and paddleshift for the six-ratio electric-clutch which is itself both a and a benefit. You can treat it like a auto and not bother to change yourself.

Or you can leave it to upchange at around while you tell it when to Or you can upchange as well, if you want.

At my driver was distinctly underwhelmed. He it went quite well for a turbocharged roadster. But it didn#8217;t like a sportscar. And this guy is a driver who knows his cars. He was understeer when he wanted

And nothing like the feel of a go-kart at all. He warmed to it a bit once he got into the countryside and off the ESP. And he managed to pull overtaking on a shortish straight.

But there was no silly grin on his

Then I got to take over. me, because I got the twisty part of the With the ESP off, left-foot into third gear the car started to come alive. I got understeer, but could easily it with a dab of brake. Oversteer was as easily controlled.

And once got the message what happened the fun really began to start. importantly, it was safe fun. days, as the company#8217;s CEO told me, makes cars which all else are safe.

That#8217;s why ESP as standard on every Smart, you want to leave it switched on or Even if you do switch it off, it doesn#8217;t interfere with it does continue to balance the so the inner front wheel lock up if you brake half way a bend. You#8217;d have to do totally bonkers to crash car.

Someone else mentioned I hadn#8217;t thought about: The quality. It#8217;s so good you notice it, even on the biggest and lowest profile tyres. the best ride of any small anywhere, and about as far from a hard bone-jarring go-kart as you can Much better than a ride.

The reason is quite a lot of travel, but well damped and lots of resistance to roll.

the 6-speed electric clutch remains the car#8217;s Achilles#8217; It#8217;s nothing like as as an MR2 SMG. It#8217;s just not enough. Sure you get used to it.

And not going to drive the car quickly all the But I#8217;d have liked a little more positive And maybe a head-up display in the to tell me what gear I was in, if it just showed for 3rd and 4th.

I#8217;d also like to re-think the forward up, back floor-shift, which to my mind is intuitive.

For the UK, the left down, up paddle-shift, together with 16#8221; wheels and 205/45 is going to be an optional extra. On top of the not prices of #163;13,495 for the RHD Roadster or for the RHD Coupe Roadster. That#8217;s a lot of for a 700cc car, and #163;500 than the top level Ford Ka.

Right-hand drives get to the UK in September.

to get things rolling, and to discourage imports, Smart is going to 200 slightly lower spec LHD for #163;12,495 and Roadster Coupes for from June. They#8217;ll the standard power steering and of the RHD UK spec cars. And, to people like me happy, will also be 100 stripped-out model LHD cars at just

These will be Roadsters on wheels with grey clip-on roof panels than convertible tops, a 60bhp engine and the most electric clutch 6-speed gearbox with no fully function.

So did I expect too much?

Did I still like it? Loved it.

it take over from the Cooper as the most fun small car you can Maybe. But not definitely.

Will it be a style icon? You can bet your it will.

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