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2009 smart fortwo

Overview
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2009 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 New for 2009

Fresh from its American debut last year, the smart fortwo sees little change for 2009. Daytime running lights are now available as an option, and a "loose cap" indicator light is added on the dash, alerting the driver when the gas cap hasn't been screwed on tightly enough. To increase storage space, expandable nets replace plastic bins on the side doors.

Driving the fortwo

Driving Impressions For a vehicle so extremely compact and lightweight, we found the 2009 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 2009 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

2009 smart fortwo Details
Interior

The big story inside the 2009 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 eight 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 2009 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 2009 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 in-line 3
70 horsepower @ 5800 rpm
68 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 33/41

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2009 smart fortwo Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.5
Out of 10

Based on 188 Ratings for the 2008 - 2014 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.8/10
    Quality
    8.8/10
  • Reliability
    9.0/10
    Performance
    8.3/10
  • Comfort
    8.6/10
    Styling
    9.1/10

Better than my old lover..

By on Tuesday, June 24, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 4,500

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
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Great value, fun to drive, easy to park"

Cons: "Rough ride on bad roads.Lots of ? from people!"

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

"OK, first my "old love" was my 1969 VW Bug. I loved the quick sterring, ease of parking, cute design, and good gas milage. But, now I'm a "Senior Citizen" and I prefer to have a car that has all that PLUS heat, air conditioning, GPS, heated seats, CD/radio etc.(add in the 8 air bags and tridon Safety Cell) I love driving this Smart! I'm mostly traveling around alone, so why do I need a mini van? There is plenty of room in the back compartment for groceries, etc. Plus if you have something larger, the front passenger seat folds down! you can even take your golf clubs! My only complaint would be the ride is a bit rough, but expected with the short wheel base. I bought this car to pull behind the RV, but I drive it everyday, in every kind of weather. It was good in the snow last winter as long as the drift is less that 2 feet! Most importantly, it sits about 9" higher than the normal car, has large door openings, making it easy to enter and exit like my van was. Love it!"

9 people out of 16 found this review helpful

never had so much fun

By on Wednesday, May 14, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 2,500

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "fun, mileage, comfort"

Cons: "$200 for oil change, navigation, winds"

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

"we have owned the 2013 smart for 6 weeks. 47mpg on first tank. averaging 42 since then city/hwy. learning transmission does take some time. paddle shifters like driving a stick with no clutch. bought it on impulse, but overall happy. only cons: high maintenance cost. pay Mercedes rates but drive s mart car. navigation system horrible with $500 for upgrades. now our fiat 500 sits in the driveway."

6 people out of 9 found this review helpful

Most fun vehicle I've had.

By on Friday, May 09, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 47,000

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
8/10

Pros: "Size, easy conv top, fun factor"

Cons: "Shifting in early modes"

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

"I used to get bored with a car after a year. I'm going on 3rd year and don't even look at anything else. It's useful, inexpensive to own and operate, practical, reliable and useful. Everyone told me "it wouldn't do well in the harsh Nebraska winters. Wrong. No issues. I did opt to put in winter tires for added safety - Bridgestone blizaks which are inexpensive and made a big difference. Shifting on these early models were a bit query, however the newer ones have remedied that."

3 people out of 3 found this review helpful

Spunky, Well built baby Benz

By on Monday, April 21, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 56,000

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
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Sip gas, excellent fit & finish, value !!"

Cons: "slight shift lag"

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

The 09 blue with 13 Ice Shine in reflection

"I love, love, love, my Smart car !!! Despite it's size it has the heart of a lion. My 2009 averages 42 mpg's and I drive it hard testing the limits almost daily. Being built by Mercedes Benz and having a Mitsubishi 3 cyl with just about all the bells and whistles ? Major value for the buck. 20 minute brake pad change (can it get any easier)fit and finish of an E class Mercedes this little car packs a punch. Heater leather seats built to last, a surprising amount of storage space (folks watch us at Costco all the time load up)we love this car. We were so impressed by this one we went out and purchased a 2013 "Ice Shine". With a 5 star crash rating, fuel consumption at a sip we can zip in and out of traffic with ease. Never a safety issue we love these cars. Perfect for the daily commuter, college student or new driver. Being a 2 seater no distractions from lots of passengers. This is a perfect car. Having a muscle car history this little lion changed our minds. The auto stick in the car tends to have a slight lag but I can paddle shift to avoid that. Be it in auto mode, drive it with the stick shift or paddle shift this car is a blast to drive. And the best part ? Both cars fit on one side of the garage so we have room for 4 more !!! No worries on taking it out on a long drive very comfortable and you can dress em up with lots of ideas, body wraps, different wheels endless possibilities. Love these cars !!"

11 people out of 13 found this review helpful

The 09 blue with 13 Ice Shine in reflection

Great in every way except these two

By on Saturday, April 05, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 16,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
Not Rated
Styling
10/10
Comfort
5/10

Pros: "great price, fun, surprising headroom & storage"

Cons: "can only be towed on a 4-wheel dolly"

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

"Have had the car since spring 2007 and loved everything about it except to two items. My husband and I move often and also drive long distance (such as round trip Florida to Rhode Island) once or twice most years. The first problem is this car cannot be towed normally, which is a hassle due to our lifestyle. It has to be towed on a four-wheel dolly, which is a hassle with our Subaru Forester. The second problem is that the passenger seat does not lay flat so that the passenger can sleep while the car is being driven. Taken together both problems are very minor compared to all the enjoyment this car has provided."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Fantastic mileage, fun to drive, towable

By on Thursday, March 27, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 8,200

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
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Handles like a go cart on steroids!"

Cons: "None"

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

"Silver and black with motor home towing package. Always garaged and only used once to tow. Power windows and doors, A/C, power brakes only 8175 miles."

4 people out of 10 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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