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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
8.5
Out of 10

Based on 205 Ratings for the 2008 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.7/10
    Quality
    8.7/10
  • Reliability
    9.0/10
    Performance
    8.2/10
  • Comfort
    8.5/10
    Styling
    9.0/10

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"

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."

1 person out of 3 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."

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

Gets you back and forth

By on Thursday, March 05, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 52,000

10 3.0
overall rating 3 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
3/10
Value
1/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
5/10
Performance
1/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
3/10

Pros: "Fun in the sun, comfy when crusing"

Cons: "Jerky transmission, Not versatile, bad in traffic"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 3

"It definitely gets the job done. Its a great car for someone with open roads and no inclement weather. The second you get stuck in traffic or have bad weather you will instantly regret this vehicle. The transmission is jerky and makes for a very uncomfortable traffic commute. Winds off 18 wheelers will blow you around and its so light you have very little traction in snow or heavy rain. Fun to drive in the sun and great for cruising... Fun side car but about as good as a motorcycle on 4 wheels."

1 person out of 3 found this review helpful

most misunderstood great engineering ever!

By on Friday, January 30, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 22,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
6/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "perfect for congested places, park anywhere"

Cons: "Benz shop rates if you need repair"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"if you live in a crowded city with slow traffic and impossible parking, and you tried living with a "normal" car, you will totally get the smart. Small, nimble, very comfortable for two and reasonable good on gas - you will not miss your "real" car. Why? Because what you gain in a real car - more seats, more room for gear, more power - are the very things that will drive you nuts every day trying to get around in a congested city. The smart is a brilliant solution to inner city congestion - everywhere else it is a duck out of water. If you live in the typical suburb, the prairies or freeway heaven LA - you will never "get" the smart - but why do you care?"

18 people out of 29 found this review helpful

A blast to drive

By on Friday, January 09, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 4,200

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Fun, handling, easy to park, great brakes"

Cons: "Wind noise above 75MPH"

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

"leased this Cabriolet because it is sharp looking, fun to drive, and different. I have only my wife as an occasional passenger and don't need a big klunker. Lease deal is great, so I can turn in with 36000 miles and still be on warranty. Averaging 39 MPG and have had no problems. Top works great even at 70 MPH. Get a weeks worth of groceries in rear or two carry on bags when going to airport. Love the automatic clutch manual. People who don't like the tranny are most likely trying to drive it in automatic which is not the best way. With the paddle shifters, I put it in the gear I want and have plenty of acceleration up to about 65 MPH. Above 75 mph get a lot of wind noise, but never drive on interstate for more that 10 miles at a time, so no problem. Fit and finish is excellent for a very low priced car. Love the radio with the flash drive in the glove box. Everything neat and out of the way."

12 people out of 26 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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