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2008 smart fortwo

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2008 smart fortwo Review

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Americans don't like small cars. That's an over-generalization, of course, but there's little doubt our country's is the biggest, heaviest vehicle fleet in the world. Record gas prices and increasing environmental awareness, though, have combined to create a bona fide boom in sales of compact cars. In some respects, Mercedes-Benz couldn't have chosen a better time to introduce to the U.S. its smart brand microcars that have been tooling around Europe for 10 years now. The new, second-generation fortwo is also larger than the first (believe it or not), which is just the way we Americans like it.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you like the idea of driving a car that turns heads and starts conversations, or if you face parking challenges on a regular basis, the fortwo may be for you. The fortwo cabriolet boasts the added advantage of being the most affordable convertible available.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you're looking to mitigate the financial impact of a longish highway commute, you might be disappointed in the affordable and fuel-efficient smart fortwo's skittish highway manners. You may also find frustrating the shifting behavior of the fortwo's "automated manual" transmission.

What's Significant About This Car?

As an affordable, fuel-efficient but charming vehicle for getting from Point A to Point B, the 2008 smart fortwo is without peer.

Driving the fortwo

Driving Impressions For a vehicle so extremely compact and lightweight, we found the 2008 smart fortwo's highway ride quite comfortable. The faster you go, however, the more skittish the fortwo becomes, and...

we eventually tired of having to constantly "steer" the car straight down the road. Similarly, we never got used to the automated manual transmission that swaps gears with all the grace of a backhoe. Where we most enjoyed our time at the controls of the smart fortwo was in parking lots, where the car's micro measurements and sub-30-foot turning circle combine to deliver an almost comical sense of agility. Although the smart fortwo's 90-mph top speed and 13-second zero-to-60 mph acceleration qualify it as one of the slowest new vehicles on the road, the upside is that you get to "floor it" more often.

Tridion Safety Cell
There's no escaping the fact that the 2008 smart fortwo is essentially the smallest, lightest vehicle on the road, but it's demonstrated impressive crashworthiness.

Convertible Roof
Some newer convertibles let you open or close the top at speeds up to 25 or 30 miles per hour. In the smart fortwo, you can let the sunshine in -- or shut the rain out -- even when maxed out at the car's 90-mph top speed.

2008 smart fortwo Details
Interior

The big story inside the 2008 smart fortwo is roominess. Plenty of headroom, a relatively compact instrument panel and open space where you'd expect a center console all contribute to an interior that feels less confined than that of the significantly longer and wider MINI Cooper. The fortwo even boasts a larger rear cargo area than the MINI Cooper (the MINI's two extra fold-down rear seats notwithstanding). The interior styling is unique, but not as quirky as the car's exterior design might lead you to expect.

Exterior

More than just tiny, the smart fortwo looks like nothing else on the road. The body panels are made of dent-resistant plastic, and the design element that runs from behind the front wheel up to the roof is actually part of what the company calls the "tridion" safety cell -- made of high-strength steel and painted black or metallic silver. The second-generation fortwo is nearly 8 inches longer than the first model, which can be parked nose-first between parallel parked vehicles. Whether local law enforcement and the added length allow that to happen in the U.S. remains to be seen.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Conspicuously absent from the smart fortwo's standard equipment list are a sound system, air conditioning, power windows and power mirrors. "Luxuries" provided at base price include power locks with remote keyless entry, plus a leather-wrapped steering wheel and transmission selector. A full complement of standard safety equipment includes four airbags, electronic stability control and an advanced braking system.

Optional Equipment

In addition to power windows and mirrors, a CD sound system and air conditioning with automatic climate control, the 2008 smart fortwo's options list includes heated leather seats, a fixed panorama glass roof and a sport steering wheel with paddle shifters.

Under the Hood

Tipping the scales at just 1,800 pounds (700 pounds less than a Mazda MX-5 Miata), the rear-engine, rear-wheel-drive 2008 smart fortwo is able to make its way in the world by means of an unusually small three-cylinder engine (that requires premium-grade fuel). The attached five-speed transmission is also distinct in that it's essentially a manual gearbox that the fortwo electro-mechanically manages automatically -- there's no clutch pedal or manual shift lever.

1.0-liter three-cylinder
71 horsepower @ 5800 rpm
68 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 33/41

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2008 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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