What’s With the Quirky Transmission?


I wish I had a nickel for every time I’ve read that in print. The smart has had a lot of media attention since arriving in the US, some great, some not so great. Having been along for the whole ride of smart coming to America, (I was hired before the showroom construction was completed), I consider myself, as should you, a bit of an expert on the topic.

Now we’re all entitled to our own opinion but that doesn’t necessarily mean we have to subscribe to others opinions. Sometimes certain opinions are portrayed as facts and that’s when I get annoyed. Let’s look at the facts:

It is NOT a traditional 5 speed automatic

It is NOT a traditional manual

It IS an Automated Manual

What does that mean…? I’m glad you asked! It’s best to think of the smart as a manual that you can drive as an automatic, (wha?). You can put the car in Drive and go and never ever ever drive it as a manual, if you wish. In automatic mode the car chooses which gear you should be in and provides optimum fuel efficiency. The proper way to drive the car is to slightly ease off the accelerator when you feel it start to shift into the next gear, (like I said, it is not a traditional automatic). Those that say the transmission is “quirky or jerky or weird” have not been properly taught to drive a smart. That’s my job. C’mon down, I’d be thrilled to show you the uniqueness of the car and how to drive it properly.

But, your missing out, (in my opinion), on all the fun if you never drive the car as a manual. I like driving a manual transmission. My father taught me to drive in a manual car when I was sixteen. I think it’s fun and sporty and I love going through the gears and raising the RPMs and having that control of the power! I don’t, however, enjoy driving a manual sitting in rush hour traffic. What a nightmare. Clutch-gas-clutch-gas and the next thing you know you have a cramp in your leg and you’ve moved 7 inches. Here’s the cool part. The smart has an electric clutch. No stalling, no leg cramps. It’s the best of both worlds and makes the car even more awesome than it already is!

So there, thank you for letting me share my opinion. Oh, one more thing, open your mind…

Article written by Angela Sand Fiedorowicz, smart center Annapolis, MD

Related Posts: