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2012 smart fortwo

Overview
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2012 smart fortwo Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 3.6

In America, fads come and go as quickly as reality TV stars. When the news of Smart's stateside arrival reached the eyes and ears of Euro-loving Americans, the subsequent waiting list presaged a bright future for the Mercedes-Benz subsidiary. With over 40,000 pre-orders, Smart experienced the automotive equivalent of crazed shoppers camped outside a local retailer to be among the first to get their hands on the latest Apple product. In the years following the brand's initial success, dwindling sales indicated that predictions for the unstoppable microcar revolution might be a bit premature. And while the 2012 Smart Fortwo returns adequate fuel economy figures, slightly larger 5-seat competitors like the Ford Fiesta, Kia Rio and the Nissan Versa deliver comparable fuel efficiency and superior driving characteristics for a similar price.

You'll Like This Car If...

The Smart Fortwo's tidy dimensions make it the ideal choice for inner city dwellers faced with daily parking challenges. Additionally, if you're a thrifty open-top enthusiast searching for the most affordable convertible available, look no further than the Smart Fortwo Cabriolet.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Between the Fortwo's nervous highway manners and the irksome shifting behavior of its automated manual transmission, driving becomes a chore rather than a privilege. Unless you are married to the Smart's unique European charm, the market offers a crowd of alluring subcompacts with exceptional road manners, additional standard equipment and five seats.

What's New for 2012

The Smart Fortwo receives a modest aesthetic refresh for the 2012 model year along with a newly available navigation system.

Driving the fortwo

Driving Impressions For a vehicle with a tremendously short wheelbase, we found the 2012 Smart Fortwo's ride surprisingly comfortable. The faster you go, however, the more skittish the Fortwo becomes, and we...

eventually grew tired of constantly making steering corrections to stay on course. Similarly, the automated manual transmission swaps gears with all the grace of a farm tractor. On the other hand, the Fortwo reigns supreme in parking lot maneuverability, where the car's micro measurements and sub-30-foot turning radius combine to deliver an almost comical sense of low-speed agility. Although the Smart Fortwo's 90-mph top speed and 13-second 0-60 mph acceleration qualify it as one of the slowest new vehicles on the road, the silver lining is that you get to "floor it" on a regular basis, and no self-respecting cop would ever pull you over.
Favorite Features

TRIDION SAFETY CELL
With American roadways chock-full of overweight vehicles, compact car owners are subjected to an elevated level of danger every time they get behind the wheel. Much like a roll cage protects a racecar driver, the 2012 Smart Fortwo's Tridion Safety Cell distributes energy over a wide area of the car for greater impact resistance.

CONVERTIBLE ROOF
To the frustration of countless drop-top devotees, some modern convertible tops are inoperable when the vehicle is in motion. With the Smart Fortwo Cabriolet, you can let the sunshine in – or shut the rain out – even when traveling at highway speeds.

2012 smart fortwo Details
Interior

We've all heard the old adages, "Never judge a book by its cover" and "Looks can be deceiving." When it comes to the Smart Fortwo's deceptively roomy cabin, these redundant clichés hold equally true. There's more than abundant headroom and legroom even for the long of limb in this 2-seater, and the unique floating design of the dashboard further conveys a sense of spaciousness. While the cargo area is quite a bit smaller than a traditional subcompact, it is large enough to accommodate a bag of golf clubs. And if you frequently travel solo, the passenger seat folds flat for additional cargo space.

Exterior

More than just a pint-sized economy car, the Smart Fortwo looks like nothing else on the road. The body panels are made of dent-resistant plastic, and the design element running from behind the front wheels up to the roofline is actually Smart's patented Tridion Safety Cell: a high-strength steel shell that's available in black or metallic silver. To help combat the Fortwo's obvious weight disadvantage in a collision, Mercedes-Benz engineers developed an interconnected steel shell that distributes impact energy rather than absorbing it.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

If you thought the 2012 Smart Fortwo's enticing starting price was too good to be true, you were right. The aptly-named Pure model conspicuously excludes an audio system, air conditioning, power windows, cruise control and power mirrors. "Luxuries" provided at base price include power locks with remote keyless entry, plus a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. Opting for the Passion trim adds most of the creature comforts one would expect in a $15,000 new car. Because safety is on the mind of every prospective Fortwo owner, the 2012 model offers eight airbags, front and rear crash boxes for low-speed-collision protection, and a full serving of electronic stability systems.

Optional Equipment

Passion and Cabriolet trims offer practical niceties such as cruise control, electric power steering and center-console storage. Tech options include a touch-screen navigation system, Bluetooth and a 7-speaker audio system with a subwoofer. Since playing dress-up isn't just for little girls anymore, the Fortwo offers a multitude of interchangeable body panels and a sporty Style Package, complete with retro 3-spoke alloy wheels, ambient interior lighting, dashboard gauge pods, and LED daytime running lights.

Under the Hood

Tipping the scales at just 1,800 pounds (nearly 600 pounds less than a Honda Fit), the rear-engine, rear-wheel-drive 2012 Smart Fortwo is able to make its way in the world by means of a 3-cylinder Mitsubishi engine matched with a 5-speed automated manual transmission. Instead of a clutch pedal and a manual shift lever, the Fortwo electronically manages the manual gearbox. On the road, it becomes painfully clear that it is perhaps the most unrefined transmission ever affixed to a modern production vehicle.

1.0-liter inline-3
70 horsepower @ 5,800 rpm
68 lb-ft of torque @ 4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 34/38 mpg

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2012 smart fortwo Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.5
Out of 10

Based on 190 Ratings for the 2008 - 2014 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

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."

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 9 found this review helpful

Great Car

By on Wednesday, March 05, 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
8/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Great price, great mileage, open air fun"

Cons: "Ride can be bumpy"

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

"I have owned this car for over 5 years. During that time the only service has been for oil changes and recommended maintenance. It is a blast to drive and I'm always getting stopped and asked questions. The convertible top is easy to open at any speed."

8 people out of 13 found this review helpful

Love Love LOVE our Smart Car!!

By on Sunday, February 23, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 9,800

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: "Fun to drive, good mpg, EASY to wash & wax"

Cons: "NONE that we've found"

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

"We've had our 2012 for two years. (Less than 10,000 miles as we leave the AZ heat for five months each summer.) It took my husband a little while to get used to driving it as this replaced a 5-speed Miata - Zoom Zoom. There is really nothing offensive about this car. More storage room than you would expect. We average 37 to 42 mpg, depending on A/C use. Have taken it on 200+ mile road trips and it was wonderful. You can't beat it for in-town driving. You can make a U-turn in a driveway!!! Absolutely NO problems. Plan to drive this little gem for another 10 years or so."

3 people out of 3 found this review helpful

Not a car for everyone, but a terrific car for me.

By on Friday, February 21, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 15,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Fun to drive. Great mileage. Curious onlookers."

Cons: "Relatively high price for size of car."

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

"It may feel like driving a go-cart with a gear box. It does bounce over bumps more than a regular sedan 3 times it's length. But if you are not over 70 and don't need a snoozer of a ride, this car is fun. My wife drives it about 5000 miles a year around town and loves every bit of it. It has more leg room than most sedans. It's reliable, quick and fun to drive by shifting the gears with the cute paddle shifters on the steering wheel. I wouldn't drive this thing at 90 mph which I am told they will go, but for an economical drive around town, you can't beat the mileage or fun."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

dissapointed

By on Thursday, January 16, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 35,000

10 3.0
overall rating 3 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
3/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
1/10
Performance
1/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

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

"I have owned this care for 3+ yrs.PROS: Loved it for size and comfortable interior. Hate it for driving dynamics and minor but costly malfunctioning's. CONS: Driving: makes jerky mvnts when changing gears if you are not careful enough to push it very slow.(Great on highway tho, makes 70mi/hr w/o effort) Horrible on speed bumps. Costly , minor malfunctioning: radio broke down: would cost me $800(w/installation) to replace it! screeching brakes (still good but screeching) and cleaning didn't help it, mechanic said nothing he can do about it. Once the battery in the key died: I could open the car manually but would not be able to lock it manually. I can't open the car's hatchback door while car's keys are in and car is running. I am said, I love the compactness of this car, since I use it for commute only, but... because of above - will get rid of it..."

3 people out of 6 found this review helpful

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