Lawrence Ulrich, from New York City:
If the engine is mediocre, the five-speed automated manual transmission is an engineering embarrassment. You could practically squeeze a half-inning of baseball into the maddening delay between the release of one gear and the engagement of the next. The Smart loses momentum in the pause, lurching passengers forward, and then Barcalounges backward when it oozes into a higher gear.
And for another opinion, Eric A. Taub from L.A.:
When accelerating, the dreadful 5-speed automated manual transmission shifts awkwardly and slowly. It may be enough to make you reach for the Dramamine: the engine temporarily slows as the car is about to upshift, jerking the driver forward and then back with each shift. Several times, my wife threatened to walk home.
★ Tuesday, 13 May 2008