The first thing you’ll think when you see a Smart Fortwo is “Damn that car is small”. Don’t worry, there’s no controlling that. It’s an extremely tiny vehicle, and it’s only built “For Two”. Parents need not apply. People afraid of small cars need not apply either, because this is a really, really small car. Just for sake of ridiculous comparison, the Smart Fortwo is a whopping 116 inches shorter than a Chevy Suburban – that’s nearly 10 feet shorter.
Once you get past the miniscule size ( if you can ), the Fortwo is interesting. It starts at a cool $11,590, but can scare $20k if you opt for the Cabrio version and pile on the options. So it’s not really as cheap as you might think. It’s also not nearly as fuel efficient as you would think. With just a 70 HP engine, and only 1653 lbs to move around, you might expect 50-60 MPG or better. Sadly, the Fortwo earns just a 33 mpg city / 40 mpg highway rating from the EPA. That’s not bad mileage by any means, but that hardware suggests much better. A diesel or hybrid option should be offered here at a reasonable price.
So it’s not extremely cheap, and it’s not amazingly efficient. That leaves “tiny” as the single redeeming trait. If you live in a city where parking is always a squeeze, then the Fortwo might do you some good. I’d be deathly afraid to take this thing on the highway though, no matter how safe they tell me it is.
2008 Smart Fortwo Specs
- 70 HP 1.0 liter 3 cylinder engine
- Rear engine, RWD layout
- 5 speed automatic transmission
- Length: 106.1 inches / Width 61.4 inches
- Curb weight: 1653 lbs
- EPA Says : 33 mpg city / 40 mpg highway
2008 Smart Fortwo Reviews
Jalopnik reviews the 2008 Smart Fortwo and writes – ‘So the Smart is a more complete, practical car than most people assume it to be – but that’s also its biggest problem. Most people who stop to ask what it is think it’s electric or at least a hybrid. It isn’t. Neither is it cheap. The Fortwo Passion Cabriolet pictured here costs $18,500. It’ll still get caught in traffic jams. Look at the Smart as a practical car that’s easier to use in an urban environment than anything else, and you’ll be happy. Look at it as fundamentally altering the way Americans think about transportation though, and you’ll be disappointed.’
Automobile Mag reviews the 2008 Smart Fortwo and writes – ‘It doesn’t take very long to get used to this hypercompact weasel on wheels. The brakes and the handling benefit from the fatter 155/60TR-15 front tires, and the five-speed semiautomatic transmission shifts much more smoothly than the previous six-speed unit. Potholes, broken pavement, and longitudinal grooves still irritate the car’s front end, but unless you encounter merciless crosswinds, the directional stability has improved from frightening to acceptable.’
reviews the 2008 Smart Fortwo and writes – ‘Practicality is never going to be the smart’s strong suit. Cargo space has gone up from 5.3 to 7.8 cubic feet, and that does make a difference, but it’s still only enough for a couple of soft bags. The dashboard has been redesigned because of American crash regulations about unrestrained occupants, but unfortunately that hasn’t meant an increase in the number of cubby holes. There’s a new modular system with storage bins that pivot around a central point, but they’re too small to be really useful. A can of de-icer and not much else will fit in the glovebox, and doorbins are pretty much for decoration only. The three trim levels – Pure, Pulse and Passion – remain unchanged.’
Edmunds reviews the 2008 Smart Fortwo and writes – ‘The way the car handles depends a lot on the combination of steering and tires that you choose. If you opt for manual steering and the narrow 155/60R15 front tires, the Smart feels slightly ponderous and the front tires give up pretty quickly in the corners. Once you upgrade to quicker-ratio, electrically assisted power steering and 175/60R15 front tires, then this agile little car can be hustled along at a surprising pace. It’s no sports car, but it is fun.’