2016 Smart ForTwo Proxy Coupe Quick Take
If you are looking for the most practical subcompact car on the market, the Smart ForTwo is not for you. It is a 2-seat car with lower fuel economy -- 34 city/39 highway -- than some 5-passenger cars out there (Scion iA and Toyota Yaris, among others), and requires premium unleaded fuel. Also, at its $20,570 as-tested price, you can get a larger car (say, the Honda Fit) with more interior space and the same combined fuel economy of 36 mpg. But practicality isn't what the Smart is about.
The Smart ForTwo is new for 2016, and among other things, its looks have been improved. The ForTwo is cute and stylish, and it has a unique design. While the Scion iQ is vaguely similar, there is nothing that looks exactly like a Smart. Despite its diminutive size, this charming coupe is easy to find in a parking lot -- but we'd recommend that when you park it, don't pull up all the way to the front of the space, as some overzealous mall shopper may not realize there's a car parked there until it's too late. A big plus is the ForTwo's phenomenal turning radius; at 22.8 feet, it has to be the best out there.
Short yet roomy
As a 2-passenger model (hence the name), you get the benefit of a roomy interior and some shockingly long doors: they are over four feet long, and make up almost half of the car's overall length (52 inches out of 106). Getting in and out of this car is very easy, and the seats are quite comfortable.
Once you're in, you are greeted by a cheery cabin, with light blue textured neoprene-like material on the dash, seats and doors, surrounded by white. All controls on the center stack are white. Finishing off the interior's design are orange accent lights. While the white interior isn't ideal for those who eat cheez curls while they drive, there's no way this color scheme and cabin layout won't put a smile on your face.
There are definite improvements with the new ForTwo including more power. The 0.9-liter cylinder turbo engine has 89 horsepower instead of 70 making the Smart surprisingly quick. Our Proxy model came with the new dual-clutch automated manual which is better than the previous single-clutch automated manual that lurched at odd times and was terrible unless you used the manual paddles. While still a little jerky in Economy mode, switching it to Sport helps a lot. The Smart's ride is firm, and the tires like to follow grooves in the road surface, but it feels stable at speed. Once you get used to the transmission, it's a decent commuter car you can park in tight spaces that regular cars have to pass up.
When it comes to cargo space, there isn't much, but it's more than you think. Behind the clamshell rear hatch there is a shelf that will hold a decent amount of groceries or gear. You can fold down the passenger seat for more room, but if you want more space than that, you'll have to look elsewhere. The ForTwo is for someone who wants or needs a subcompact but doesn't want to drive what everyone else is driving. In short, it's more of an emotional buy.
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