The newest version of the smart fortwo is the 453 model. There are some major benefits to upgrading to this version over the 451. It is a totally redesigned car, with features and functions that I describe as a “real car”. It has a nicely redesigned interior with more passenger legroom, more shoulder room, far more power, standard cruise control, and a wider stance. The new transmission is wonderful, and the turbocharged engine allows for comfortable cruising at highway speed without slowing for hills.
What it does not have is the ability in the standard car to winch it onto a truck deck like we did with the 451 series. The reason is that the tie-down points have been simplified to one tie down at each end of the car. Thus there is no way with the standard car to place a winching bar on the body. You CAN NOT winch from a single tie down point. The unibody structure is not strong enough to do that.
So to load an unmodified 453 model you must drive it onto the deck. That may seem like an unsafe and daunting process, but if done correctly it is not. The video shows how we load our 453 smart. It is not at all difficult if you practice a little.
RVH also has available a modification to the 453 smart that allows it to be winched onto the truck deck backwards. We add the threaded insert that is missing from the back of the vehicle and supply a cross-bar that permits the car to be winched like a 451. We are also developing our own ramp system that will have advantages over the ramps currently on the market. Prototypes of that ramp system are just now entering testing, and they should be available for purchase this summer.