The Solera Was Pregnant - Delivered Baby Smart!
Been researching the Smart about 4 months. Yes, you need to be careful and follow the Owner's Manual instructions, especially about disconnecting the battery when towing. But, you can do without the supplemental braking system because of its light weight (1,700 lbs) some of which can cost up to $2k installed; it HAS NOT affected the driving characteristics of our '15 Solera; though not super efficient, we always get 38+ mpg; and it is fun to drive. When neighbors ask if we bought a Smart Car, we reply with "No, the RV had a baby." We settled on the one in the photo because the paint scheme is so similar to the Solera, especially the silver "swoosh" which is part of the high strength steel surrounding the cabin; as well as being a 1 owner 2009 vintage Smart; always garaged; and 19,000 miles.
They do have quirky transmissions. Best way to describe it: imagine a clutch operated by a slow computer; remember the old column shift and how long it took to let off the gas, depress the clutch, shift, engage the clutch and depress the gas again. Well, its a little better than that but very similar. You can use the paddle shifters to tell the computer when you prefer to up or down shift, OR, just let it do its thing. The good thing is that when you put it in neutral, there is no connection between the drive wheels and the engine/transmission making it practical for towing. There aren't many choices for light vehicles with automatic transmissions suitable for wheels down towing.
We saw several Smarts with over 100k miles on them and they were still reliable and were nice to drive. The one thing you CANNOT DO, is ignore the coolant level. There is no sensor to tell you when you're low on antifreeze. If you're on the freeway going 70 and the overheat light goes on, pull off and shut down immediately or you risk frying the aluminum engine: at best, warped head and blown head gasket; at worst, all that plus scored cylinders. Coolant leaks can occur, but more often, someone checked the coolant level and did not tighten the reservoir cap sufficiently; over months, coolant could evaporate.
Oh, and if you're concerned about safety, Google the Smart Car videos to see what happens to it when hitting 20 tons of Jersey barrier going 70 mph. You might find it somewhat reassuring.