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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 191 Ratings for the 2008 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.7/10
    Quality
    8.7/10
  • Reliability
    9.0/10
    Performance
    8.3/10
  • Comfort
    8.6/10
    Styling
    9.1/10

Excellent car. Fun to drive.

By on Thursday, September 18, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 12,000

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: "Great 2nd car and easy to drive & park."

Cons: "No cons as I relish my smart car."

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

"Have not had one issue since owning the car. Great car to drive & has many bells and whistles that my Lincoln has."

12 people out of 20 found this review helpful

eh is all i have to say

By on Monday, September 15, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 80,490

10 1.0
overall rating 1 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "gas mileage"

Cons: "no room, expensive to maintain, expensive gas,"

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

"bought the car with 74k on it the car now has 80k and i have had nothing but issues with it airbag light is on TPMS light is on i have had the car in the shop more than iv driven the car i bought it for 10k and i am now trying to get rid of it. the new value is 4,500 how does the price drop that much within 7 months.....i have only put 6k miles on the car. will never buy a smart product again. very unsatisfied"

3 people out of 11 found this review helpful

Love this car!

By on Tuesday, August 12, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 65,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Fun to drive. and see above"

Cons: "See above"

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

"Just minor problems: 1. Distance to service it is 300 miles. 2. Occasionally just from automatic to 5 speed. 3. Automatic locking system constantly has to be repaired. Postive aspects: 1. Love that it only has to be serviced every 10,000 miles. 2. I get 45 mpg; husband gets 39 mpg. 3. Safety features are great and is built by Mercedes. :)"

13 people out of 20 found this review helpful

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!"

14 people out of 23 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."

8 people out of 13 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."

4 people out of 4 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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