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2008 smart fortwo

Overview
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2008 smart fortwo Review

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Americans don't like small cars. That's an over-generalization, of course, but there's little doubt our country's is the biggest, heaviest vehicle fleet in the world. Record gas prices and increasing environmental awareness, though, have combined to create a bona fide boom in sales of compact cars. In some respects, Mercedes-Benz couldn't have chosen a better time to introduce to the U.S. its smart brand microcars that have been tooling around Europe for 10 years now. The new, second-generation fortwo is also larger than the first (believe it or not), which is just the way we Americans like it.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you like the idea of driving a car that turns heads and starts conversations, or if you face parking challenges on a regular basis, the fortwo may be for you. The fortwo cabriolet boasts the added advantage of being the most affordable convertible available.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you're looking to mitigate the financial impact of a longish highway commute, you might be disappointed in the affordable and fuel-efficient smart fortwo's skittish highway manners. You may also find frustrating the shifting behavior of the fortwo's "automated manual" transmission.

What's Significant About This Car?

As an affordable, fuel-efficient but charming vehicle for getting from Point A to Point B, the 2008 smart fortwo is without peer.

Driving the fortwo

Driving Impressions For a vehicle so extremely compact and lightweight, we found the 2008 smart fortwo's highway ride quite comfortable. The faster you go, however, the more skittish the fortwo becomes, and...

we eventually tired of having to constantly "steer" the car straight down the road. Similarly, we never got used to the automated manual transmission that swaps gears with all the grace of a backhoe. Where we most enjoyed our time at the controls of the smart fortwo was in parking lots, where the car's micro measurements and sub-30-foot turning circle combine to deliver an almost comical sense of agility. Although the smart fortwo's 90-mph top speed and 13-second zero-to-60 mph acceleration qualify it as one of the slowest new vehicles on the road, the upside is that you get to "floor it" more often.

Tridion Safety Cell
There's no escaping the fact that the 2008 smart fortwo is essentially the smallest, lightest vehicle on the road, but it's demonstrated impressive crashworthiness.

Convertible Roof
Some newer convertibles let you open or close the top at speeds up to 25 or 30 miles per hour. In the smart fortwo, you can let the sunshine in -- or shut the rain out -- even when maxed out at the car's 90-mph top speed.

2008 smart fortwo Details
Interior

The big story inside the 2008 smart fortwo is roominess. Plenty of headroom, a relatively compact instrument panel and open space where you'd expect a center console all contribute to an interior that feels less confined than that of the significantly longer and wider MINI Cooper. The fortwo even boasts a larger rear cargo area than the MINI Cooper (the MINI's two extra fold-down rear seats notwithstanding). The interior styling is unique, but not as quirky as the car's exterior design might lead you to expect.

Exterior

More than just tiny, the smart fortwo looks like nothing else on the road. The body panels are made of dent-resistant plastic, and the design element that runs from behind the front wheel up to the roof is actually part of what the company calls the "tridion" safety cell -- made of high-strength steel and painted black or metallic silver. The second-generation fortwo is nearly 8 inches longer than the first model, which can be parked nose-first between parallel parked vehicles. Whether local law enforcement and the added length allow that to happen in the U.S. remains to be seen.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Conspicuously absent from the smart fortwo's standard equipment list are a sound system, air conditioning, power windows and power mirrors. "Luxuries" provided at base price include power locks with remote keyless entry, plus a leather-wrapped steering wheel and transmission selector. A full complement of standard safety equipment includes four airbags, electronic stability control and an advanced braking system.

Optional Equipment

In addition to power windows and mirrors, a CD sound system and air conditioning with automatic climate control, the 2008 smart fortwo's options list includes heated leather seats, a fixed panorama glass roof and a sport steering wheel with paddle shifters.

Under the Hood

Tipping the scales at just 1,800 pounds (700 pounds less than a Mazda MX-5 Miata), the rear-engine, rear-wheel-drive 2008 smart fortwo is able to make its way in the world by means of an unusually small three-cylinder engine (that requires premium-grade fuel). The attached five-speed transmission is also distinct in that it's essentially a manual gearbox that the fortwo electro-mechanically manages automatically -- there's no clutch pedal or manual shift lever.

1.0-liter three-cylinder
71 horsepower @ 5800 rpm
68 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 33/41

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2008 smart fortwo Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.4
Out of 10

Based on 208 Ratings for the 2008 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.7/10
    Quality
    8.7/10
  • Reliability
    8.9/10
    Performance
    8.1/10
  • Comfort
    8.5/10
    Styling
    9.0/10

the company does not stand by its cars

By on Saturday, June 20, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 50,000

10 1.0
overall rating 1 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
1/10
Value
2/10
Reliability
4/10
Quality
2/10
Performance
3/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "decent gas mileage, should be better - 33mpg"

Cons: "paint peeling, engine problems, computer problems"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1

"We bought two Smart cars when they first came out. The first one ended up having engine problems. Something about the compression not working in one of the cylinders. Then a second one started having problems. Not something that should happen with a car after only two or three years. They refused to do anything about it because we got old changed at an 'unauthorized' dealer. The place we got it changed was at a Mercedes Benz dealership that didn't have a Smart Center, but was recommended by a Smart Center. Too bad, so sad. Then the second one has problems with the paint (clear coat) peeling. I've seen online that this happens with some of the Rally Red Smarts like my own. The company acts like they've never heard of such a thing. No help at all. I would never recommend this car to anyone."

15 people out of 24 found this review helpful

I love this car.

By on Thursday, April 23, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 131,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Easy to park, reliable, peppy, fun, and cheap."

Cons: "Wear on tires; bulky aerodynamic profile."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"My Smart is an amazing car. It is solid, nimble, and incredibly reliable. With 130,000 miles and still going strong, it has had no problems whatsoever beyond standard maintenance work. I love the price of the car. While my friends are saddled with huge monthly car payments, mine is quite affordable and I got a lot of car for less than half the price. I also find it hilarious that the value of the car drops so quickly after you buy it because my property tax bill is even lower. Every dollar I avoid paying the government gives me a lot of satisfaction. Although it claims to get 41 mpg, I routinely get more than 45 by hypermiling. I have read complaints about the shifting but I moved to this car from a 1985 Honda CRX HF manual transmission and it shifts a lot better than I ever did with a clutch. As it isn't an automatic transmission I forgive that difference in performance anyway. I think this transmission design is more reliable and requires less maintenance than an automatic transmission in the end. I have driven this car on 14+ hours trips every year and I find it to be delightful on the highway. I don't drive excessively fast, very rarely exceeding the speed limit, but at very high speeds and on windy days the car's blocky profile catches the wind in an occasionally scary way. I wish they had designed the car to have a lower profile that was more aerodynamic (which would improve fuel economy), but on the other hand, compared to the Honda CRX which was invisible to other drivers, despite its small size its profile makes it more readily seen, which I am grateful for. The engine is perfectly sized for the car, maybe even a little too peppy. I think the car could afford to give up another 20% of its acceleration to get better fuel economy. I'm not driving any Indy 500 races, just commuting to work. I never have to floor the accelerator because I just don't need to accelerate that quickly, even when merging onto the highway. I have never felt like I was holding up traffic since I accelerate just as fast as the cars in the other lanes (muscle cars excepted). The only cons I can think of after many miles of driving are that the front and rear tires are different sizes so they can't be rotated, and so tire manufacturers only offer half a warranty on the tires, so 80,000 mile tires are guaranteed only for 40,000 miles. And despite getting the car aligned every year, the extreme toe-out angle they use, wears the inner edge of the tires rather quickly."

19 people out of 30 found this review helpful

GREAT CONDITION . SECOND CAR, LOCALLY DRIVEN

By on Saturday, April 11, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 10,800

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "VERY ECONOMICAL. UP TO 45 miles per gallon."

Cons: "minimal trunk space. NO SPARE TIRE."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"Like new condition Red/black outside combo. Red/black inside . Has AM/FM and single cassette. Airconditioning. Tire pressure monitoring system. New Battery installed recently. Only has 10,800 ORIGINAL miles on it 7 years old!."

8 people out of 11 found this review helpful

I have 100,000 miles on my car

By on Tuesday, March 24, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 100,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Power windows cup holders and a radio and ac"

Cons: "Needs hands free phone Bluetooth"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I get on average 40 mpg it drives great in all weather snow wind rain climbs mountain roads with ease I have traveled with it long distance and was comfortable I'm a big women 5'8" and 200 pounds and my husband is over 6 feet tall and about 200 pounds we fit in no problem we also take our dogs with us a lab husky 75 pound dog min pin dog 25 pounds and our jack Russell 10 pounds all five of us get in and go visiting ..I also shop for groceries by the month and get four stores worth of food in the car with pet food you have to have organizing skills but I get it done fairly easy ...love my car hope to have it for many more years and I treat it right so I will"

10 people out of 14 found this review helpful

Very fun little car and great to drive

By on Friday, March 13, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 32,145

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
Not Rated
Reliability
Not Rated
Quality
Not Rated
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
4/10

Pros: "Fun, cute, drives like a sports car"

Cons: "Bumpy and not comfortable for a long ride"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Fun to drive and cute to look at. I have found it to be very reliable. The worst thing about it is the lack of comfort but it is made to drive in the city and not on extended trips. Mine has tremendous acceleration most of the time. There are times when it will hesitate but I have not found that to be a problem. More often it will throw my head back when I take off from a light. I have driven it in the mountains and it takes them like a four wheel drive. It never hesitated or required manual shifting."

6 people out of 9 found this review helpful

great for errands about the city, and really cute!

By on Monday, March 09, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 34,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
2/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
2/10

Pros: "great mileage, great for errands around town,"

Cons: "not the smoothest of rides"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7

"Both automatiic or can shift, fancy tire rims, CD player, automatic windshield wipers, good gas mileage. In other words, all the whistles and bells for a Smart car; does have cup holders and arm rest in the middle. Also included is a sun screen for front window."

3 people out of 5 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

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