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So, you know how we love our scooters and many of us love our cars (VW!). Let's say that you're potentially in the market (don't tell Kevin) for a second car that you don't really need, it's just something you want. Taking everything into consideration, which would you pick? A Smart Car or a Mini Cooper? Has anyone done a serious comparison of the two? Which came up the winner? I know there's a huge wait for the Smart and the used market is ridiculously overpriced. I tend to buy used so that's what I would do. Any Smart Car owners want to discuss hands on experience with their cars?

I put a poll in but who needs a poll.....and I couldn't figure out how to do one.
Awesomely cute SMART CAR
Awesomely cute SMART CAR
Sharp looking Mini
Sharp looking Mini
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Petty Tyrant
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If I lived in SF, I would get a Smart, since people in SF never leave the city and parking is tight.

If I lived anywhere else, I would get a Mini.

Emphasis on I.
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I was looking at Mini's as I was sitting in my Cabrio Smart yesterday and it's a tough call.

I'd say that if you're in a congested area and parking is an issue that the Smart would be the choice.

The mini is quicker and can seat four...

The Smart is smaller and gets more attention...

I find that with my Smart it's all the car I could need 99% of the time.

Since this is a car you don't really need... I'm going to say... Smart.

Now, I can get you one if you like. Used from the dealer auctions.
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I'd say Mini just because i really dislike the looks of the Smart.
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The wife and I drove a Smart cabrio 400 miles through Nevada desert and really liked it. Very solid for what it is, very fun to drive. Honestly, drove it WOT for awhile. 8)

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But, I think the MINI offers much more in utility, albeit it does cost more.
Also, the Smart really should get better gas mileage considering how tiny it is.

That being said, I will be ordering my MINI Clubman S next month for March delivery.


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I'd go mini.

I looked at the smart car, was really interested, but when I found out they didn't bring in the diesel, I lost interest. Too expencive for what it is, not enough preformance in either gas milage or acceleration. The mini is quicker, gets very good gas milage, and is just more car for the money.
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Ratboy wrote:
I was looking at Mini's as I was sitting in my Cabrio Smart yesterday and it's a tough call.

I'd say that if you're in a congested area and parking is an issue that the Smart would be the choice.

The mini is quicker and can seat four...

The Smart is smaller and gets more attention...

I find that with my Smart it's all the car I could need 99% of the time.

Since this is a car you don't really need... I'm going to say... Smart.

Now, I can get you one if you like. Used from the dealer auctions.
Now that's just cruel......
Please keep the opinions coming!
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when i first saw the smart car in germany about 9 years ago, i was on a constant mission to acquire one. pretty much was made of unobtanium as far as getting one for a reasonable price, as well as legal.

my wife fell in love with the new mini cooper, and took delivery of one of the first batch brought to the states. i always vowed to get a smart if they ever came to the u.s., but that was before the vintage v.w. bug bit me.

now the wife is on her second cooper, and i have a '69 v.w. bus, as well as a pile 'o scooters and mc's. i love, love, love, the smart, and could probably talk my wife into one, but she would never forgive me...she likes to drive fast and fairly aggressive.

the drive, power, build, and practicality of a mini is far superior than that of a smart in my opinion. if you want people to stare and point at you, get a smart car. if you enjoy driving, and need a 4 wheeler to perform basic running around chores, get a mini.
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I traded in my 2006 MINI Cooper S for a Vespa GTS in March.

Loved the MINI... drove it for 2 years, 3 months -- fun as hell to drive. More room inside than you think. Gas Mileage was not all its cracked up to be by the stickers. 24-26 city, 30-32 highway.

If you live near a dealer - I'd suggest getting one. Mine was constantly in and out of the dealer with goofy problems (closest dealer is Philly, 1 hour + traffic away).

Never anything mechanical. Just electrical.

- Turn the turn signal on... trunk would un latch.
- Passenger seat air bag/weight/seat belt sensor replaced 4 times, thought someone was sitting in the seat when there was no there.
- Air Bag lights always on, dealer assured me that there was no problems, they would deploy. Great.
- Check Engine Light, 3-4 visits for a few years for "sensor adjustments"
- More trunk/latch problems in the mix

etc.

I am sure I had a buggy one. The air bags "dont worry they will deploy" was the final straw. I loved the car. Really fun the drive but after awhile I tapped out. I put it on eBay at 6AM... someone was here with cash at 4PM same day. Been riding the scooter since.

The two together before i sold it...



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Molto Verboso
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the other car I wish I never sold...

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My wife and I were on the waiting list for a Smart Cabriolet UNTIL we took one our for a demo ride. In a crosswind on the freeway, the car was manhandled by a mild 10-15 mph breeze as if we were caught in a hurricane AND the wind noise was so severe that you had to turn the radio 3/4 up to even hear it. The high wind noise would indicate that water intrusion, in the rain, would be substantial--a thought that was confirmed by the salesperson. Needless to say, we cancelled our reservation and received our $99 back from Smart USA.
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jess wrote:
If I lived in SF, I would get a Smart, since people in SF never leave the city and parking is tight.

If I lived anywhere else, I would get a Mini.

Emphasis on I.
+1,000,000 parking, parking, parking

I have a New Beetle and when the Mini Cooper (which I love by the way) came out I would drive around looking for parking saying "if I just had a Mini I could park there, or there, or there". The SMART brings parking availability to a whole new level.

Of course, since I got the scooter, I drive the Beetle MAYBE once/twice per month but still have to move it (and find parking!) every week for street sweeping. Boy, does it get dirty when you don't drive it!!
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Scoot wrote:
the other car I wish I never sold...

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Beautiful! My favorite color too.
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I'm waiting for one of these before I consider trading my Scion xA (which I might add I highly recommend...very comfy, decent ride for a small car and great gas mileage...too bad they discontinued it's sale here)
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Molto Verboso
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Molto Verboso
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Choice A - an "original" mini

Choice B - Smart Car

Choice C - current mini (too much plastic inside)
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UTC quote
I have driven a friends' Mini a few times traveled a couple thousand miles. If I needed a new car I would buy a used Mini. Basic model would be fine, Heated seats are good tho... Damn Fine Cars! I have not driven a Smart Car, tho I will get an opportunity soon. R
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Thanks for bringing this up Linda. We may be in the same situation soon also. We currently have a 2001 VW beetle and a vintage mini, but are looking to possibly replace the VW with a new Mini or Smart.
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It's kind of the lesser of two evils,
Leaving out resale and finance and depreciation, you're looking at a car with a choppy ride/clunky tranny (smart) to a car with a spotty reliability record (mini).

If you want something small with a hatch that is still a 'real' car you can try for a Honda Fit, Nissan Versa, Toyota Yaris, Scion xD, Nissan Cube, GM Aveo/G5, Hyunda Accent SE (poor mans Mini) etc.
If you want a teeny car you can try the iQ above.

Seth
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Molto Verboso
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Miata
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I really like that IQ, looks like a puffer fish to me.
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I dig the Smart, but after I saw this post at Jalopnik.com about a Mini VS. Chevy Tahoe, my vote is for MINI!: Chevy Tahoe Messes With Texas Mini Cooper, Pays Price

External inline image provided by member with no explanatory text
Yeah, that's the Tahoe in the background that got it's ass handed to it.

Oh, and EV Mini, although limited edition for now, also gets my juices flowing: EV MINI. I'm talking about the car, I swear.
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My wife has been "lusting" for a Mini for several years, and I have to agree with her choice. I owned two when I spent 4 years in Spain in the mid-70's. The first one had a 850 CC engine and the second one was a real "hot rod" with a grand 1000 CC's.

I can assure you that they were very practical in the narrow streets of Spanish cities, and they were a lot of fun. I would imagine that the new ones being made by BMW are really, really nice.

The wife has to wear out her Subaru Forester first and that isn't going to happen soon. It is over 6 years old, but only has 33,000 miles on it.

Personally, I think the Smart Car is ugly, .... and it is unproven at this point.
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^^^a lot of people think the Forester is ugly too... I love them though. Well, not the new ones... those stink.
jfredrik wrote:
My wife and I were on the waiting list for a Smart Cabriolet UNTIL we took one our for a demo ride. In a crosswind on the freeway, the car was manhandled by a mild 10-15 mph breeze as if we were caught in a hurricane AND the wind noise was so severe that you had to turn the radio 3/4 up to even hear it. The high wind noise would indicate that water intrusion, in the rain, would be substantial--a thought that was confirmed by the salesperson. Needless to say, we cancelled our reservation and received our $99 back from Smart USA.
LoL

No leaking at all with my Cabrio and it's raining right now... the wind does blow you around a bit, but it's not that much worse than my Jeep... it's not that noisy inside at all with the top up. I can easily talk on the installed bluetooth with the top up (not down though)... and a "test" drive isn't a very good way to truly get a feel for the car.

but, to each their own.
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UTC quote
I had a mini and loved it, it's a car I could grow old with. Selling it was the right financial move as I was working from home and had no need for a car but 5 years on I still miss it.

In SF I see the smart as the car you need and the mini as the car you want.
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I really considered getting a Mini but when I test drove them at different dealers, it didn't quite fit or feel comfortable for me. Mind you, I was coming from a 2005 Audi A6. I ended up getting the 2008 Audi A3 S-line 3.2. This Audi is way roomier than the Mini but with less MPG, but overall very satisfied, and of course faster than the Mini Razz emoticon .

I guess what I want to say is, go for what you like not what others say or think you should get. We always teach our students to make independent, but smart decisions, now is time to practice what we preach. What ever you choose, you know you've made the right decision. Enjoy it!
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Molto Verboso
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I had a MINI and it was a hunk of crap, albeit a really cute one. Wait for the Nissan Cube to come out in the spring and get one of those. They're supposed to be similar in size to the MINI with good gas mileage and assymetrical/eye-catching looks. 8)
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answer
No competition . The Mini because I wouldn't want to crash in a Smart Car.
Plus no one will laugh at you.
Billy-no-scoot
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This may seem obvious but why not test drive them both and then decide. I'd bet you come away knowing which one is best for you.

All the opinions here are just that...opinions, while you're the one who's going to have to live with it. But so far as opinions go, mine is to get the Mini, the smart is a toy and not nearly so safe or utilitarian as the mini.
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We bought a modified 2005 Smart in 2006, and it has really been a hoot. It corners beautifully, parks in half a parking place, does a U-turn anywhere. It'll go 85 on the highway. It's enough for 95% of our auto trips (we have an 86 Vanagon when we really need to haul stuff).
We've put 40,000 miles on this car since we got it, with only routine maintenance.

We're getting 50-60 mpg on premium gasoline, though the dealer's sticker said 43, for some reason. We notice a little wind buffeting in a strong cross wind, less than the Vanagon, but more than some other cars. No problem with wind noise; of course ours is not the Cabriolet.
It has a tinted glass roof, so you get the view but not the heat or wind.

The softtip shift takes a little getting used to; it's like learning Portuguese after you already know Spanish and French. Expect a couple of months learning curve on it. After you get used to it, it has most of the benefits of a manual shift and the convenience of an automatic.

The 2008 Smarts have a different engine, Mitsubishi, bigger, and won't get quite the mileage the little Mercedes 3-cylinder 700 cc engine does. But the sticker price is considerably cheaper than what we paid the auto importer.

An advantage to the Smart over the mini is that for two people, there is really a lot of room--leg room and head room, and a feeling of openness due to the sloped windshield. A big person could be comfortable in the Smart. The door opens fully so it's good for people with knee or hip problems.

It's fun talking to people about it, and having kids say "cute car!" or wave out of their SUVs. If you're looking for sports car performance, zero to 60 in 10 seconds, etc., loud motor, intimidating size, etc., look somewhere else.
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I've got a 2006 MINI Cooper S and it's a blast to drive. On the straight line it loses ground to pony cars and rice burners, but on the twistys, it's the sh*t. The SMART car pales in comparison to the MINI S from a performance standpoint (esp. the 2007 and newer S cars from MINI). It's not even close. The main benefit is the small square footage that a Smart car gives you - a not insignificant advantage, esp. if you can fit perpendicular to the curb.

I thought the SMART car was a great idea when I saw it in Europe, but the performance is sub par. The MINI S is a very nimble and quick performer in contrast (at the expense of mileage). You make the call.
h
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Dorky or Cool??? Hmmm... Tough one... Hands down, the Mini!
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I've said it before and I'll say it again here...

The Smart needs to be successful here in the States if we're to start getting more micro cars. It looks like that won't be a problem as they are still selling strong despite the lack of sales in the rest of the auto industry.

So, all of you that don't like the Smart, which is fine of course... try to look at the bigger picture. It's certainly not right for everyone but it's all the car I need almost all of the time.

Oh, and williamvillage, you do you ride a Vespa right? The Smart feels like a tank compared to riding gear. That and it's well designed for crash worthiness.

Of course, mine is rented out a lot so I don't always get to enjoy it. Good thing I've got the Jeeps.
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We have over 7,500 miles on the Smart in just 5 months, it has been perfect and lots of fun!.
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Fell in love with the Smarts when on my Honeymoon in Spain back in 2000. As for choosing between the two, mmm.. maybe my bay area "2 car garage" really could fit two cars in it if it were the...

Mini Clubman (station wagon, got kids you know)
and
the
Red Convertible Top Smart
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UTC quote
Can't comment on the Smart though have had an admiration for them since I first saw one in Paris in 2000.

Love the MINI S Clubman - car does everything. Performance is outstanding as prior comments suggest. Just ordered a trailer hitch and adding a motocycle trailer for hauling the scoots around.
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UTC quote
I love the smart car but I would put my money on the Mini.
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I don't like either one. Both look like toys.
This One is a different story. I could sport somthing like this.
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UTC quote
miniminiminiminiminiminimini!!!!!!

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UTC quote
robotribe wrote:
I dig the Smart, but after I saw this post at Jalopnik.com about a Mini VS. Chevy Tahoe, my vote is for MINI!: .... I'm talking about the car, I swear.
I can equal this one (sorry for the poor picture):
smart flips over a Mercedes ML ending belly up on the street.
External inline image provided by member with no explanatory text

three people ending with minor injuries.

The small cars are very rigid. But remember, during an accident, the energy has to absorbed somehow. When the opponent isn't capable (like a tree) the Min/Smart/etc. will bounce back like a basket ball, stressing it's passengers like hell.
If you need to drive in snow, the smart with it's automatic transmission and it's small wheelbase is very tricky, not to say dangerous.

Another candidat (if available in th US oneday) maybe the FIAT 500:
http://www.autoblog.com/2007/04/24/fiat-500-could-be-on-sale-in-u-s-by-2010/

bye
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Molto Verboso
No Scooter no more...
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UTC quote
Quote:
Let's say that you're potentially in the market (don't tell Kevin) for a second car that you don't really need, it's just something you want.
OK i'm gonna put a bit of a downer on this whole thang...

buying a second car for no reason just because you want one, now i'm not saying that you shouldn't but as we are experiencing certain economic and social problems due to excess consumption isnt it about time we as a society strated to put away these ideas of frivilous consumerism.... huh?

I aint no eco activist but surely this sort of thinking will only exasipate the problems we are already faceing?

just a thought
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