By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 3.4
When it first debuted in 2008, the Smart Fortwo drew a lot of attention its way. People were drawn to the Fortwo's low price, miserly fuel consumption and ability to park in the most claustrophobic parking spots. But, after the initial glow faded the Smart Fortwo saw sales drop and rave reviews evaporate. Bigger players introduced similar sized cars with more power and interior space, cars such as the Scion iQ, Fiat 500 and Chevrolet Spark. However, the 2014 Smart Fortwo does have an ace up its sleeve – a pure electric model that sells for around $25,000. And, the Fortwo is also wildly customizable, letting consumers with an artistic flair express themselves through their car.
If your daily driving needs never take you far from the stop-and-go pattern of city traffic, the Smart Fortwo for 2014 is a good choice. It's one of the most affordable cars you can buy, sips fuel and can be parked in spaces overlooked by most cars.
The Smart Fortwo isn't much fun to drive at highway speeds, and it's not very fast. If you're looking for a small car with good handling, a bit of power and lot more presence on the road, try the Scion iQ or Ford Fiesta.
There are no changes to the 2014 Smart Fortwo.
Driving Impressions Ordinarily a tiny wheelbase results in a rather rude ride, but with only 73.5-inches between the wheels the 2014 Smart Fortwo is surprisingly comfortable. However, once you leave the low-speed...confinement of the city, the Fortwo's failings float to the surface like oil on water. At highway speeds, the Fortwo's steering requires constant correction to keep it on course. The engine labors for a good 13 seconds to reach 60 mph and the transmission is crude beyond reason. Strong winds and speeding 18-wheelers deliver unwanted shoves that require one to keep a firm grip on the steering wheel. After about 30 minutes of freeway driving, navigating the Fortwo felt more like a chore than joy ride, and we quickly exited to the side streets. It is here that the Fortwo's merits shine, displaying agile maneuverability, a comfortable ride and the ability to fit into parking spaces usually reserved for motorcycles and mopeds.
TINY TURNING RADIUS
Thanks to its tiny 28.7-foot turning radius, the Smart Fortwo can pull a u-turn where other cars are forced to perform the dreaded three-point turn.
TRIDION SAFETY CELL
A car as small as the 2014 Smart Fortwo is bound to elicit safety concerns, especially with the preponderance of SUVs trolling the streets. To alleviate this fear, Smart has created a high-strength steel cell around the Fortwo's occupants designed to dissipate energy in the event of a crash.
The old adage of "Never judge a book by its cover" is appropriate for the 2014 Smart Fortwo. Though tiny on the outside, the Smart's interior is surprisingly roomy. The Fortwo's tall shape creates ample headroom and legroom for two passengers, while the floating design of its dash adds to the cabin's sense of spaciousness. The Smart's rear cargo area is quite a bit smaller than that of a subcompact, but is large enough to swallow a bag of golf clubs. For further cargo flexibility, the passenger seat folds flat to carry additional items.Exterior
The Smart Fortwo has a tall profile, doors that take up the majority of its sides, and a long wheelbase relative to the car's actual length. Body panels are made of dent-resistant plastic, a plus for the shopping cart-laden urban environments for which the Smart is intended. On coupe models, the Fortwo's roof can be had as a conventional, solid one or as a large, see-through panel made from polycarbonate. Cabriolet models have an automatic soft-top that can be opened to various positions at any speed, and feature removable roof side bars for a more open experience.
The Smart's base trim is sorely lacking in creature comforts most of us now take for granted in a new car. Forget not just having power windows, for its tempting starting price of around $14,000, you won't even get a radio. Air conditioning, too, is considered an option in this model, as is power steering. What you will get are power door locks and a 2-spoke leather steering wheel. Stepping up to the Passion model brings a panoramic roof, air conditioning, power windows, and yes, a radio with two speakers and a USB input. Safety features include eight airbags and stability control.
Extras on the Pure trim model include an AM/FM radio with USB and auxiliary inputs, heated seats, air conditioning, power steering, and cruise control. Passion models can be made more passionate with a navigation system, heated leather seats, Bluetooth, cruise control, power steering, and LED running lights.
The 2014 Smart Fortwo is powered by a 1.0-liter, 3-cylinder Mitsubishi engine that makes 70 horsepower. That isn't a lot of power, but at less than 1,900 pounds, the Smart doesn't have much mass to move. The engine is located in the rear of the Smart and, unlike most other small cars of its ilk, drives the rear wheels. The sole transmission is a very unrefined 5-speed automated manual. Highway fuel economy on the Smart is rated up to 38 mpg. That figure is good, but you might expect better from such a tiny vehicle. Also note, the Smart Fortwo uses premium gasoline. The all-electric Smart uses a 55-kilowatt motor powered by lithium-ion batteries, and has been rated by the EPA to achieve the equivalent of up to 122 mpg in city driving.
70 horsepower @ 5,800 rpm
68 lb-ft of torque @ 4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 34/38 mpg
Electric magneto motor
96 lb-ft of torque
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 122/93 mpg equivalent
Range on a full charge: 68 miles
The 2014 Smart Fortwo Pure has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting of just over $14,000. Better-equipped Passion models start around $15,680, and Cabriolets start around $18,900. The electric-drive Smart coupe is priced around $25,750, while the electric cabriolet is around $28,750. The Smart Fortwo has a tempting starting price to be sure, but it's not the lowest out there. The 2014 Nissan Versa and 2014 Chevrolet Spark start at under $13,000 and have more room and features. The 2014 Scion iQ, meanwhile, starts around $16,500, and a 2014 Fiat 500 comes in at $17,000. Before buying, be sure to check the Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are actually paying for the Smart Fortwo. The resale value of the Smart Fortwo is predicted to be average at best for the Pure trim, and worse than average for Passion coupe and Cabriolet trims.
By Andy F. on Wednesday, March 05, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 56,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
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."
By GrammyB on Sunday, February 23, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 9,800overall rating 10 of 10rating details
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."
By Sam on Friday, February 21, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 15,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
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."
By albo on Thursday, January 16, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 35,000overall rating 3 of 10rating details
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..."
2 people out of 2 found this review helpful
By Don M on Sunday, January 05, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 350overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "fun to drive, great gas mileage."
Cons: "No spare tire or jack but has a "repair kit""
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Drove from Denver to the western slope of Co.(300 mi) bought this car new 2 days ago. Thus the low mi.It took the Eisenhower Tunnel (elevation 11,000 ft. @ 70 mi per hour in 3rd gear. The little engine was working hard but we passed full size cars with ease. Took Vail pass @10,000 ft at the same speed. And got 50 mi per gallon. (honest) The ride can be a little harsh on rough roads. But we not only kept up with the big guys but passed many. Even on the grades. Top speed on this little guy 92 mph. We leased the car for 3 years so if in the future we dont like it we'll return and walk. But if we like it we'll sign up for a new model. I hope MB makes it with this car because I think its a hit. You have to understand the transmission and why it works the way it does. When you understand why you'll learn to live with it and realize its a good tranny and perfect for this car. It doesnt ride like my Deville but its perfect for around town and short trips.."
4 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By Little One on Friday, January 03, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 64,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5
"I've had this car for 5 years now, and I still love owning it! She is really fun to drive and one you learn to compensate for the fact that you're driving something that gets pushed around by air pressure, it's really relaxing. I always get complements on her looks and there is always a patron or two at a gas station fill up that has questions about it and what it's like to own (which I find to be fun). I've kept her on regularly scheduled maintenance and haven't had any mechanical problems yet. My only long term concerns are about the places that I can get it serviced. There are only five places in my state that are designated "Smart Centers" and it's near impossible to find any mechanic that will even look twice at it outside of those locations. It's inconvenient, but it's still totally worth owning. :-)"
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful