Love it or hate it, the diminutive "Smart Car" always gets a reaction. Officially named the Smart Fortwo, the little two-seater was officially the smallest car you could buy new in the U.S. On sale here since 2008, the Fortwo was designed to zip through congested urban traffic and easily park in spaces where even subcompacts couldn't fit. It was envisioned as the ideal conveyance for contemporary urban-dwellers, thanks to its tiny footprint, frugal powertrain offerings and relatively affordable price.
The Fortwo was available in gasoline-powered and all-electric versions. The 2014 model was virtually identical to the previous year's car, save for a few minor trim level changes.
Exterior & Interior Dimensions
The Fortwo was available as a coupe and a convertible, which was called the Cabriolet. The two bodystyles shared identical dimensions, both inside and out. They measured 106.1 inches long, 61.4 inches wide and 60.7 inches high, with a wheelbase of just 73.5 inches. Behind the seats, the cars provided a fairly tight 7.8 cubic feet of storage space.
The ForTwo's surprisingly roomy interior offered the driver and one passenger 39.7 inches of headroom, 48.0 inches of shoulder room, 45.4 inches of hip room and 41.2 inches of legroom.
The gasoline-powered ForTwo was motivated by a three-cylinder, 1.0-liter engine. Mounted in the rear of the vehicle, it produced 70 horsepower at 5,800 rpm and 68 foot-pounds of torque at 4,500 rpm.
While that sounds like very little power compared to other modern vehicles, keep in mind that the Fortwo tipped the scales at just 1,808 pounds. Still, the car wasn't exactly quick: it took about 14 seconds to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph and it had a top speed of approximately 90 mph. Power was sent to the rear wheels via a five-speed automatic transmission with manual-shift mode.
The Fortwo EV, called the Electric Drive, featured a 55kW electric motor connected to a 17.6 kWh lithium-ion battery pack, which was mounted under the floor near the rear axle. It generated a continuous 47 horsepower and 96 foot-pounds of torque, which was sent to the pavement via a one-speed direct-drive system.
A short-term "boost" mode was able to temporarily bump horsepower up to 70, at the expense of some of the battery pack's "juice." With boost engaged, the Fortwo Electric Drive could accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in a respectable 11.5 seconds. Its top speed, though, was just 78 mph.
Features & Options
The Fortwo coupe was available in two trim levels: base "Pure" and relatively luxurious "Passion." The Cabriolet was available only in the Passion trim. The Electric Drive models came in a single, unnamed trim level that was equivalent to Passion.
Pure coupes came equipped with 15-inch steel wheels, air conditioning, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, keyless entry, power door locks and manual windows. They did not come standard with a stereo of any kind.
Upgrading to Passion added 15-inch alloy wheels, an expansive see-through roof panel in coupe models, automatic headlights and wipers, automatic climate control, heated power outside mirrors, a three-spoke steering wheel, power windows, a driver's arm rest and a two-speaker audio system.
The optional Comfort Package added leather upholstery, power steering, a retractable cargo cover and heated seats. The Style Package came with special 15-inch alloy wheels, additional dashboard gauges and colorful ambient interior lights. The Technology Package added a premium seven-speaker stereo and a GPS navigation system. Finally, the Brabus Sport Package gave buyers a fun and aggressive body kit, special wheels and a performance-tuned suspension, along with the equipment listed in the Comfort Package.
Stand-alone options included foglights, a center console and LED daytime running lights.
The Fortwo came standard with four-wheel ABS, traction control, stability control, hill-start assist, and a total of eight airbags.
Despite its tiny size and low weight, the car actually did quite well in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's crash tests. It earned a score of "good," the highest possible rating, in the moderate-overlap frontal-offset, side impact and roof strength tests. It received an "acceptable" rating, which is the second-best out of the four possible ratings, for whiplash protection in rear impacts.
While it wasn't quite as fuel-efficient as some other small cars, such as the gas-sipping Toyota Prius C, the Smart Fortwo is still a very good choice for those looking to save at the pump. The gas-powered coupe and convertible both received an EPA-rating of 34 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway. The electric version was rated at 122 mpge in the city and 93 mpge on the highway.
The 2014 Fortwo coupe started at $12,490, while the drop-top version began at $17,890. The Electric Drive coupe stickered for $25,000. Finally, the Electric Drive Cabriolet started at $28,000.
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