By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 3.4
When it first debuted in 2008, the Smart Fortwo drew a lot of attention its way. People were drawn to the Fortwo's low price, miserly fuel consumption and ability to park in the most claustrophobic parking spots. But, after the initial glow faded the Smart Fortwo saw sales drop and rave reviews evaporate. Bigger players introduced similar sized cars with more power and interior space, cars such as the Scion iQ, Fiat 500 and Chevrolet Spark. However, the 2014 Smart Fortwo does have an ace up its sleeve – a pure electric model that sells for around $25,000. And, the Fortwo is also wildly customizable, letting consumers with an artistic flair express themselves through their car.
If your daily driving needs never take you far from the stop-and-go pattern of city traffic, the Smart Fortwo for 2014 is a good choice. It's one of the most affordable cars you can buy, sips fuel and can be parked in spaces overlooked by most cars.
The Smart Fortwo isn't much fun to drive at highway speeds, and it's not very fast. If you're looking for a small car with good handling, a bit of power and lot more presence on the road, try the Scion iQ or Ford Fiesta.
There are no changes to the 2014 Smart Fortwo.
Driving Impressions Ordinarily a tiny wheelbase results in a rather rude ride, but with only 73.5-inches between the wheels the 2014 Smart Fortwo is surprisingly comfortable. However, once you leave the low-speed...confinement of the city, the Fortwo's failings float to the surface like oil on water. At highway speeds, the Fortwo's steering requires constant correction to keep it on course. The engine labors for a good 13 seconds to reach 60 mph and the transmission is crude beyond reason. Strong winds and speeding 18-wheelers deliver unwanted shoves that require one to keep a firm grip on the steering wheel. After about 30 minutes of freeway driving, navigating the Fortwo felt more like a chore than joy ride, and we quickly exited to the side streets. It is here that the Fortwo's merits shine, displaying agile maneuverability, a comfortable ride and the ability to fit into parking spaces usually reserved for motorcycles and mopeds.
TINY TURNING RADIUS
Thanks to its tiny 28.7-foot turning radius, the Smart Fortwo can pull a u-turn where other cars are forced to perform the dreaded three-point turn.
TRIDION SAFETY CELL
A car as small as the 2014 Smart Fortwo is bound to elicit safety concerns, especially with the preponderance of SUVs trolling the streets. To alleviate this fear, Smart has created a high-strength steel cell around the Fortwo's occupants designed to dissipate energy in the event of a crash.
The old adage of "Never judge a book by its cover" is appropriate for the 2014 Smart Fortwo. Though tiny on the outside, the Smart's interior is surprisingly roomy. The Fortwo's tall shape creates ample headroom and legroom for two passengers, while the floating design of its dash adds to the cabin's sense of spaciousness. The Smart's rear cargo area is quite a bit smaller than that of a subcompact, but is large enough to swallow a bag of golf clubs. For further cargo flexibility, the passenger seat folds flat to carry additional items.Exterior
The Smart Fortwo has a tall profile, doors that take up the majority of its sides, and a long wheelbase relative to the car's actual length. Body panels are made of dent-resistant plastic, a plus for the shopping cart-laden urban environments for which the Smart is intended. On coupe models, the Fortwo's roof can be had as a conventional, solid one or as a large, see-through panel made from polycarbonate. Cabriolet models have an automatic soft-top that can be opened to various positions at any speed, and feature removable roof side bars for a more open experience.
The Smart's base trim is sorely lacking in creature comforts most of us now take for granted in a new car. Forget not just having power windows, for its tempting starting price of around $14,000, you won't even get a radio. Air conditioning, too, is considered an option in this model, as is power steering. What you will get are power door locks and a 2-spoke leather steering wheel. Stepping up to the Passion model brings a panoramic roof, air conditioning, power windows, and yes, a radio with two speakers and a USB input. Safety features include eight airbags and stability control.
Extras on the Pure trim model include an AM/FM radio with USB and auxiliary inputs, heated seats, air conditioning, power steering, and cruise control. Passion models can be made more passionate with a navigation system, heated leather seats, Bluetooth, cruise control, power steering, and LED running lights.
The 2014 Smart Fortwo is powered by a 1.0-liter, 3-cylinder Mitsubishi engine that makes 70 horsepower. That isn't a lot of power, but at less than 1,900 pounds, the Smart doesn't have much mass to move. The engine is located in the rear of the Smart and, unlike most other small cars of its ilk, drives the rear wheels. The sole transmission is a very unrefined 5-speed automated manual. Highway fuel economy on the Smart is rated up to 38 mpg. That figure is good, but you might expect better from such a tiny vehicle. Also note, the Smart Fortwo uses premium gasoline. The all-electric Smart uses a 55-kilowatt motor powered by lithium-ion batteries, and has been rated by the EPA to achieve the equivalent of up to 122 mpg in city driving.
70 horsepower @ 5,800 rpm
68 lb-ft of torque @ 4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 34/38 mpg
Electric magneto motor
96 lb-ft of torque
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 122/93 mpg equivalent
Range on a full charge: 68 miles
The 2014 Smart Fortwo Pure has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting of just over $14,000. Better-equipped Passion models start around $15,680, and Cabriolets start around $18,900. The electric-drive Smart coupe is priced around $25,750, while the electric cabriolet is around $28,750. The Smart Fortwo has a tempting starting price to be sure, but it's not the lowest out there. The 2014 Nissan Versa and 2014 Chevrolet Spark start at under $13,000 and have more room and features. The 2014 Scion iQ, meanwhile, starts around $16,500, and a 2014 Fiat 500 comes in at $17,000. Before buying, be sure to check the Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are actually paying for the Smart Fortwo. The resale value of the Smart Fortwo is predicted to be average at best for the Pure trim, and worse than average for Passion coupe and Cabriolet trims.