Used 2012 smart fortwo Hatchback
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2012 smart fortwo KBB Expert Review
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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
Notable 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.
70 horsepower @ 5,800 rpm
68 lb-ft of torque @ 4,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 34/38 mpg
The 2012 Smart Fortwo Pure carries a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of around $15,000. Begin checking option boxes and a fully-loaded Passion trim with metallic paint approaches the $20,000 mark. Before heading to a dealer, be sure to check Kelley Blue Book's Fair Purchase Price, which reflects what others are paying in your area for their Smart Fortwos. The latest addition to the microcar segment is the 2012 Scion iQ, which undercuts the Fortwo’s sticker price by a few thousand dollars, while 5-passenger subcompacts like the Kia Rio, Chevrolet Sonic and Nissan Versa share a comparable price point with the Smart Fortwo along with higher retained values.
smart fortwo Consumer Reviews
January 15, 2018
I purchased my smart new in 2008.
My smart has been great and pretty much trouble free. The only issue was a blown head gasket which the dealership repaired. My smart has...
December 19, 2016
I LOVE MY SMART, FUN
I MEET SO MANY NICE PEOPLE BECAUSE OF MY SMART, EVER DAY SOMEONE GIVES ME A STUMBS UP, OR COMES OVER TO CHAT ABOUT MY SMART. WHEN I AM...
September 11, 2016
Good -by to the only car I've ever wanted
I bought my 08 new and totaled it 2 weeks ago. I was driving on an interstate in a rain storm in the left lane. I was cut off by a...
December 24, 2015
Great Micro car.
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...
December 16, 2015
Most fun car ever!
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...
October 13, 2015
The smartcar is a beast!!
The smart car is a flat out beast!! No other way to describe it! I can park it anywhere in Manhattan! It is awesome!!
September 24, 2015
Fun to drive, in town and on the road
I have owned 2 Smart Passion vehicles. Both run and ride great, considering the short wheelbase. I drove one from Texas to Arizona and...
April 23, 2015
I love this car.
My Smart is an amazing car. It is solid, nimble, and incredibly reliable. With 130,000 miles and still going strong, it has had no...
April 11, 2015
GREAT CONDITION . SECOND CAR, LOCALLY DRIVEN
Like new condition Red/black outside combo. Red/black inside . Has AM/FM and single cassette. Airconditioning. Tire pressure monitoring...
March 24, 2015
I have 100,000 miles on my car
I get on average 40 mpg it drives great in all weather snow wind rain climbs mountain roads with ease I have traveled with it long...