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2012 smart fortwo

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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.

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
8.4
Out of 10

Based on 214 Ratings for the 2008 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.7/10
    Quality
    8.7/10
  • Reliability
    8.9/10
    Performance
    8.1/10
  • Comfort
    8.5/10
    Styling
    9.1/10

Great city car, but expect some set-backs

By on Monday, December 28, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 27,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
6/10
Performance
5/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "decent price, fun to drive, park anywhere"

Cons: "shoddy transmission, bumpy rides"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6

"I bought a 2012 smart car about a month ago for my wife, who doesn't drive very well but needs a vehicle mainly to get to and from work (which isn't too far from our home). The overall design of the car is quite nice. It stunned me for a while when I'd get out of the car and literally a step away is the back of the car. You might look weird inside it at first, but you'll get used to that. The headlights are VERY bright, providing plenty of sight for night travel. The interior is quite spacious and comfortable, with plenty of adjustments to be made to the seats in order to accommodate you. The "trunk" space is fine for us, since I have a regular-sized car when I need to transport goods or people. My biggest complaint with the interior design is the location of the ignition--right under the armrest--as well as the shifter. Now, the armrest is also adjustable, and you can even pull it up and out of the way, but it's one more nitpicky thing you have to deal with. If you're driving with someone in the passenger seat who is tall, chances are their leg with get in the way of the shifter. I accidentally grabbed a friend's knee when I went to shift into drive. It was awkward, but again, not a major point of concern. The radio is nice, and the inclusion of a usb and aux port in the glove compartment for added media options is great. How does the car handle? Well, as other reviews have stated, the transmission is pretty terrible. When the computer shifts the car, you can very a very apparent stalling until it takes. Not a game-changer, but I hear there are other similar-sized cars such as the Scion IQ that handle better in that regard. The car takes every bump like a weakling. I live in a city with pretty bad streets, and every bump is like an earthquake. However, I don't agree with what others have said about highway driving. I think it handles quite nicely on the highway, even with decent winds. I've driven by large vehicles and never felt like I had to death-grip the wheel."

5 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Great Micro car.

By on Thursday, December 24, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 60,000

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
8/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "This car is a blast to drive a had turner."

Cons: "None if you're going to purchase it for what it is"

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

"One of the funnest cars have ever owned. It's Pappy. I love the convertible being able to go up and down even it quick rates. Simple to park easy to get in and out. Great in traffic. Fine for long halls. I love the car. I would recommend it to anyone any day. Don't fix The only thing I would say is don't expect it to be a manual or an automatic transmission it is a manual automatic. So it's stupid like a manual but you don't touch it like an automatic if you wish you can use the paddles. Love it. Average in the mid 40s for gas have gotten 50 on the interstate. Lastly I would say I am a big guy big shoulders tall and I fit in this thing varies. Remember the first time I saw the left tackle for the Redskins John Jansen driving around town and one and thought to myself I got to get one of these."

6 people out of 7 found this review helpful

Most fun car ever!

By on Wednesday, December 16, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 50,000

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
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "This car has been an all "pros" car for me."

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

"I love my 2008 Smart Fortwo. It is the most fun car to drive! I only drive it in manual for the best control. I have never had a problem with it. It is most reliable, it gets great gas mileage especially if you stay under 65 mi/gallon, but it speeds up to 90 easily if you must. I live 90 miles from the closest smart dealership, but I only take it there for the major checkups, and have minor stuff taken care of locally with a German car shop. This is the lowest car maintenance ever. Unfortunately, I have to sell my adorable smart because I just bought a new ELECTRIC Drive Smart!"

2 people out of 3 found this review helpful

The smartcar is a beast!!

By on Tuesday, October 13, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 92,000

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: "Park anywhere!"

Cons: "People get jealous!"

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

"The smart car is a flat out beast!! No other way to describe it! I can park it anywhere in Manhattan! It is awesome!!"

18 people out of 36 found this review helpful

Fun to drive, in town and on the road

By on Thursday, September 24, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 19,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Great qualiy, fun to drive, feel safe driving."

Cons: "Short wheelbase has choppy ride over bumps."

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

"I have owned 2 Smart Passion vehicles. Both run and ride great, considering the short wheelbase. I drove one from Texas to Arizona and averaged 42mpg. Only problem was having to take it out of cruise control over the mountains."

11 people out of 14 found this review helpful

ont bad for what it offers

By on Sunday, September 20, 2015

I owned and sold this car
Reason: other

10 6.0
overall rating 6 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
6/10
Value
6/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
5/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "it was fun to drive"

Cons: "heater motor could use some improvement"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6

"I found this smart car to be all right over all considering the size and room it has to offer. a nice little run around car."

6 people out of 9 found this review helpful

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