Early in the morning is fine, you can put a few things in the boot (a small bag of builders sand is a good option and useful if you get stuck) and make decent sideways progress on the back roads when you have two lanes to yourself. It’s other people you have to worry about though and it’s no fun with 4x4s coming the other way, so some days you just clear the snow off the roof to stop it sagging and catch a lift with someone else or stay indoors.
With my latest adventures taking me ice climbing in the hills the option to stay at home on wintry days has been left behind. The Smart does manage very well for a light wide-tyred car but it is never going to be the first choice for winter driving.
Factor in the mileage I’ve done and the month left on the warranty and something more practical to commute in, with a bit more space for my climbing gear has started to make sense.
Of all my cars in the last few years this is the one I’ve kept the longest as in many ways it has been the best compromise of fun and frugality for me, but there’s always part of me looking at the other journals for weekend toys.
I’ll try and justify changing to a more sensible car with the financial saving and room it leaves for a more extreme RWD toy to go with it in due course.
Most of the issues with Smart Roadsters are fairly common and perfectly fixable, e.g. keeping a tube of silicon gel in the garage and applying it to the seals every few months. Once it is watertight then most of the other weaknesses of the Roadster don’t seem to occur; wet control boxes can lead to electrical gremlins but keep it dry from the start and it should be fine.
The other ongoing maintenance the dealer seems to carry out is for some of the seals around the gearbox housing which had caused oil to get into the clutch and cause failures in other Roadsters. Mine has had no clutch problems at all so the few pence a time on the service sheet seems to be worth it.
It’s leaving with a few bits of lacquer coming off the Brabus wheel centers which I’m sure will be replaced under warranty when the garage collects it.
The only other intermittent fault is a slightly slipping alternator belt which has squealed briefly a coupe of times on very cold damp mornings when you put all the heaters on full to defrost. I’m told it is something to do with the extra current needed when the catalyst preheaters come on to help emissions. No doubt it would be a simple enough fix but it hasn’t been serious enough for me to take it in for a closer look.
All in all it’s been great fun, but tomorrow is the day to say goodbye to the Brabus and it is one of the few cars I might actually miss.
It is now a few hundred miles short of the 30k mile mark and a few weeks shy of its second birthday. A toy laden four seater warm hatch is the direct replacement for the moment; the last job will be transferring my auto-journals stickers over, so look out for another journal soon.