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2012 smart fortwo

Overview
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2012 smart fortwo Review

By

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.

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 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."

6 people out of 10 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 10 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 19 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!"

12 people out of 21 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 12 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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