New 2018 smart fortwo electric drive cabrio Convertible New 2018
smart fortwo electric drive cabrio Convertible

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KBB Editor's Overview

By KBB.com Editorial Staff

Two years after debuting an all-new design, the 2018 2-seat Smart Fortwo makes a radical leap forward by jettisoning its gasoline engine, leaving only the all-electric version to serve the urban-commuter community. The Smart Fortwo comes in three trims: Pure, Passion and Prime, with the last two also offered in convertible form. However, with a $24,000 starting price (before any tax credits) and only a 58-mile range, buyers might find spending a bit more for a Nissan Leaf or Chevrolet Bolt gets them more distance, better safety features and an all-important back seat. There are also a number of compact gasoline-powered cars that cost much less than the Fortwo, but are as equally nimble in city traffic. 

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You'll Like This Car If...

If you live where parking spots are considered coveted territory, the Smart Fortwo’s minute dimensions will certainly come in handy. The cabin is surprisingly roomy for two people and the tiny turning radius makes it easy to get in and out of tight spots, as well as maneuver through congested streets.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you need room for more than one, prefer a car with verifiable crash-test results or need an electric vehicle that doesn’t need to recharge after just 58 miles, a Nissan Leaf, Chevrolet Bolt or Volkswagen e-Golf makes a better choice.

What's New for 2018

For 2018, Smart joins Tesla in offering only electric-powered cars. The Fortwo Coupe and Cabrio lose their gasoline engines, but everything else remains the same.

Driving It

Driving Impressions

The all-electric 2018 Smart Fortwo’s instant power delivery results in quick acceleration from a dead stop, but compared with other electrics its actual performance is pretty slow. That’s because the Fortwo’s electric motor puts out the equivalent of 80 horsepower and 118 lb-ft of torque. With a range limited to 58 miles (57 on the Cabrio), the Fortwo doesn’t go very far on a charge, but then again in a small urban setting most owners probably won’t exceed the batteries’ ability in a day. If they do, recharging requires a minimum of three hours on a 240v charger. The added weight of the battery pack and its position low in the chassis help improve the Fortwo’s handling and stability, something you’ll appreciate if you have the guts to take it on the highway. With a 22.8-foot turning radius, the Fortwo has no issues executing a U-turn on a 2-lane road, and fitting it into parking spaces normally reserved for motorcycles or mopeds is oddly satisfying.

Favorite Features

TRIDION CELL
Daimler is renowned for its safety innovations, so the Fortwo’s Tridion safety cell should come as no surprise. Formed from high-strength steel, the cage ensures the tiny car can hold its own in the event of an accident, as demonstrated in crash tests using Mercedes-Benz cars outfitted with the same technology.

TINY TURNING CIRCLE
Have you ever spotted the perfect parking spot, only to have it taken by the time you executed a 3-point turn? Well, those days are gone thanks to the Fortwo’s minute 22.8-foot turning radius. A clearing in traffic is all you need to make a U-turn and snag the perfect spot.

Vehicle Details

Interior

The Fortwo's cabin is surprisingly roomy for two, and its charming 2-tone color schemes make the interior feel spacious and welcoming. There are high-quality materials throughout, and the seats are more comfortable than you'd expect on longer drives. The interior isn’t perfect though, as the steering wheel doesn't offer tilt or telescoping adjustment, and there are storage cubbies but they aren't all that useful.

Exterior

The Fortwo model line benefited from all-new styling that carries on to the 2018 coupe and convertible. The large, round headlights and happy-to-see-you smiling grille on such a short car give the Fortwo the look of an enthusiastic puppy. The wide Fortwo looks more substantial than the first generation did, yet is about as long as some motorcycles. In the Fortwo Cabrio, a clever cutout in the rear hatch tailgate lets you stow the roof bars when you want the full convertible experience with the top down and the bars off.

Notable Standard Equipment

The base Pure model features automatic climate control, daytime-running lights, a multifunction steering wheel, Bluetooth connectivity, rearview camera and cruise control as standard fare. Crosswind assist is also standard, and welcome on this short-wheelbase car. Power windows and power steering are standard, which you couldn't say about the Fortwo two years ago. The Passion adds heated mirrors, a height-adjustable driver’s seat and 15-inch alloy wheels. Prime trims get heated seats, fog lights, black leather upholstery, panoramic sunroof plus rain and light sensors.

Notable Optional Equipment

Options vary by trim and include fog lights with cornering functions, smartphone cradle, heated seats, panoramic sunroof, a center armrest, a JBL audio system and 16-inch alloy wheels. A Sport Package adds a sport suspension. You can customize the Fortwo's color scheme, including the color of the Tridion cell and the grille. For even more customization, the Brabus Sport package has a lowered, retuned suspension and Brabus styling cues. Cabrio models offer a number of soft-top color choices. 

Under the Hood

The Fortwo is available in two body styles, coupe and cabriolet, with an 80-horsepower electric motor and only one transmission speed -- that’s right, no shifts. It’s utterly silent in operation. The battery pack remains somewhat small at 17.8 kWh, though it can be charged from zero to 80 percent in 2.5 hours on a 240-volt outlet.

3-phase synchronous electric motor
80 horsepower
118 lb-ft of torque
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 124 MPGe city/94 MPGe highway/108 MPGe combined (coupe), 112 MPGe city/91 MPGe highway/102 MPGe combined (cabrio)
Range on a full charge: est. 58 miles coupe/57 miles cabrio

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Pricing Notes

The 2018 Smart Fortwo Pure Coupe’s Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starts at $24,550, but that’s before the $7,500 federal tax credit. The Passion jumps to just over $26,000 and the Prime just shy of $27,500. The Passion Cabrio is $28,750 and the Prime Cabrio $29,750. For comparison, the larger and longer-range Nissan Leaf starts around $30,000, and the Chevrolet Bolt at around $37,500. Non-electric minicars like the Chevy Spark and Mitsubishi Mirage start at a lower price -- below $14,000 -- have two rows of seats, more cargo area but pitiful resale value. Those who are looking at the Smart Fortwo, however, want something more than pure practical transportation. Do check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for their Fortwo. It should also be noted that Smart cars have never been resale-value giants, and electric cars are really a tough resale.

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