My Visit to the Pittsburgh Smartcenter

by Jim McCue
(Boise, Idaho)

Pittsburgh smartcenter sits on top <br>of the Mercedes dealership

Pittsburgh smartcenter sits on top
of the Mercedes dealership

I returned to my hometown of Butler, Pa. over the July 4th weekend of 2008. It was great to see my entire family as we celebrated my Mom & Dad's 50th Wedding Anniversary. It was a very special day for the entire family.

I stayed the week after and was looking forward to my visit to the Pittsburgh Smartcenter. So, on Tuesday July 8th, my brother Jeff drove my significant other, Kathi, and me to Pittsburgh to check out the smart car fortwo in person once again.

When we arrived, sales rep, Nichole Butler, had just left the building for a test ride with another smart car enthusiast, so we had lots of time to check out the smart fortwos in the showroom.

smart car showroomIn fact, the entire Pittsburgh smartcenter showroom was empty the whole time we were there... when's the last time you visited a car dealer without having a high pressure sales guy following you everywhere? Weird...

I was excited to see the smart car again since my visit to Round Rock, Texas last March. I checked out every fortwo in the showroom to get an appreciation of all the details inside and out for each of the smart car models that are available.

I studied all the buttons and controls inside to understand what they do. I might not own my own smart car yet, but I'm bound and determined to learn everything I can to share with my readers!

I still love how roomy the smart fortwo car is and all the creature comforts the smart offers. Also, upon close inspection, I was able to tell that the rear cargo area really is roomy enough to carry all the "stuff" you need to transport. I was making sure it could carry our black lab, Cheyenne! Our Gizmo, a Boston Terrier, is going to sit on the passenger floor or Kathi's lap, while our Shih Tzu, Molly, will be on mine or Kathi's lap.

Anyway, back to the showroom... Thanks to all the time I had to explore (Nichole was gone for at least a half hour!), I could really appreciate the engineering design details that Mercedes-Benz has put into the fortwo smart car.

For example, the doors are really solid, which you can hear when you slam the door. Also, the tailgate closes well and does not budge. Finally, the interior is designed to be functional and roomy.

I'm beginning to fall for the Cabriolet model with the convertible roof. It must be a blast to drive around in!

Now for the test drive...

smart car test drive pictureWhen Nichole came back, she showed me a few things like how to open the tailgate properly using the remote and getting to the rear engine from the cargo floor.

Note: Checking the oil level and adding oil is a breeze, due to the super easy access to th engine.

Finally, I said "Enough with the chit-chat! Let's take the fortwo out on the highway and test it out"!

I really wanted to drive on a commuter highway to see how the fortwo handles!" Folks, it handles like a champ... and when using the manual shifting option, the fortwo is very enjoyable to drive and handles the commuter roads like a pro!

I simply loved how the smart car handled the highway. We were going 50 to 60 MPH, and the transmission worked well in manual mode.

Here's a tip to help you with the smart car's manual transmission if you already know how to drive a stick...

  1. Put your left leg on the floor and do not use it.

  2. When you need to shift, push down on your left foot just like you would engage the clutch (I call this a "fake" clutch).

  3. Next, let up on the gas peddle with your right foot, just like you normally would in a stick.

  4. Use the stick on the floor and push it up to "climb" up in gears or push down to lower the gears.

  5. This technique will allow you to keep your "stick shifting" technique smooth that you are accustomed to performing.

If you don't know how to work a clutch, then just remember to let up on the gas before you shift the stick and then give it gas while using your right foot after you shift gears.

My analysis is that the smart car handled well on the test drive; it had enough pep to keep up with traffic and was fun to drive.

What more could a commuter driver ask for?!

OK, check out the pictures and video below of my smart car adventure to Pittsburgh.


Your "Smart Car Guy",
Jim Mccue signature graphic
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P.S. Thanks, Nichole, for all your help!

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Dec 20, 2011
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