2008 smart fortwo Long-Term Road Test

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Editors' Least Favorite: 2008 Smart Fortwo

March 15, 2010

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As part of our quest to find out what long-term cars we liked the most, we also voted on what our least-favorite long-term car of the last three and a half years was. The result was a landslide win (!) for the 2008 Smart Fortwo. Very few editors liked it and even those that did readily admitted its many failings.

Honorable mentions for this category were the 2007 Jeep Compass and the 2006 Pontiac Solstice.

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2008 Smart Fortwo Passion Coupe: Parting Shots

September 03, 2009

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(Photo by Dan Edmunds. Or me. Can't remember. I know he sized it and that it was for the suspension walkaround.)

You won't have the 2008 Smart Fortwo Passion to kick around anymore.

That's right. It's done. Over. Gone. Sold. And as of today, all wrapped up. But, we can't let it go without a final farewell in the form of Parting Shots. By now you all know the drill; this is everyone's (both Edmunds Editors and your) last official chance to get a word in edgewise on an outgoing Long-Term Road Test car.

Follow the jump for our official farewell --and don't forget to leave your own -- to the 2008 Smart Fortwo Passion Coupe...

"On the way through traffic to the last home game for the Dodgers a year ago, the high pitched engine and the robo-rocking chair ride proved to be too much. John and I couldn't stand to be in the car anymore so we pulled over at the nearest bar and watched the game on TV. The Dodgers won, but my night was ruined because I had to get back into the thing after the game and drive home." Scott Jacobs, Senior Photographer

"Our Smart attracted more vile hate than any other long-term car I can remember. So I'm certainly in the minority when I say that I liked driving the Fortwo. It required mental effort to drive properly, and that made it fun. But that doesn't mean that it was a good car." Brent Romans, Senior Editor

"I cried when it left. Such raw performance, such tactile handling, such polished character, such beautiful noises coming from just behind my shoulder. Styling that could melt a cheese sandwich from across the room. Oh wait, you didn't say R8? The Smart??? Oh crap, I hated that thing. Good riddance." James Riswick, Automotive Editor

"With its lurching, nausea-inducing automatic transmission, this was initially quite a hateful little piece of work. But ah, what a difference paddle shifters make - I eventually discovered that manual shifts fostered a smoother ride, and a smoother ride meant I could stop whining about feeling brutally jostled and instead soak up the little car's charms.

And what exactly are those charms, you ask? I'll get back to you on that." Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor

"Give me the Hayabusa swap ( http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=05c_1222299007 ) or Monster Smart mods (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MDU5BU_qSJU) and I'm sold." Josh Sadlier, Associate Editor

"Not many 21st century cars can do almost everything worse than the competition, so I guess in that regard the Smart was a very special (and ironically named) automobile." Karl Brauer

"Well, it's no Toyota Yaris. But then again, isn't that a good thing?" Michael Jordan, Executive Editor

"We should have flat-blacked it." Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

"I liked it. Good steering, well shaped seats, plenty of room and it rode well. I even learned to live with its odd transmission. I'm a fan." Scott Oldham (yes, Scott Oldham!) Editor-in-Chief.

"It's all about throttle control and preparedness. Forget the paddles. If you've got a good foot, the smart is a pretty fun toy. If it was $8,000 new, I'd buy one." Mike Magrath, Vehicle Testing Assistant and compiler of Parting Shots.

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2008 Smart Fortwo: Sales Wrap-up and Departure

August 07, 2009

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Smart Fortwo in Santa Cruz after we bought it on eBay last winter - Photo by Steve Pearl

Our 2008 Smart Fortwo is driving off into the sunset.

We posted the Smart for sale on Craigslist and over the course of two weeks got many calls. One young man wanted us to float him a loan for the car and earnestly began to describe his credit history. Another caller made a lowball offer and tried to sweeten it by adding, "cash!" Another person called and asked all the right questions but never showed up for a test drive.

And so, we sold the Smart to Carmax for $9,000. This means they will turn around and put it on their lot for $11,000. If you see a red and silver Smart scooting around your area, it might have a special history.

Philip Reed, Edmunds Senior Consumer Advice Editor @ 18,877 miles

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2008 Smart Fortwo Passion Coupe: Two-For-One Parking Spots

August 06, 2009

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This isn't our long term 2008 Smart Fortwo Passion Coupe but you get the idea. Here in West Los Angeles, parking is at a premium and sometimes it pays to double up.

Road Test Editor, John DiPietro, had the above pictured 2009 Smart Fortwo Brabus and was headed to a concert one night recently. Parking was tight and after he finally secured a spot, and was backing in, a second Smart appeared. The driver said, "Hey, mind if we share that spot with you?" The outcome is the photo.

Philip Reed, Edmunds.com Senior Consumer Advice Editor

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2008 Smart Fortwo: I Want the One I Can't Have

August 05, 2009

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Not that I'd ever buy a Smart, but if I did, I'd want one of these; a Smart Roadster Coupe.

These were cancelled in 2005 after a short, 2 year run in the European market. Bring it back, and driving around in a Smart will suddenly be a lot less like wearing aluminum foil on your head.

Did I mention Gordon Murray has one?

Kurt Niebuhr @ 18,792 miles

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2008 Smart Fortwo Passion Coupe: New Beetle?

July 14, 2009

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U.S. sales of Volkswagen Beetle, 1952: 390 units.

U.S. sales of Volkswagen Beetle, 1968: 400,000 units (5 percent of the total U.S. market).

Pictured above is the celebration at the Volkswagen assembly plant in Mexico as production of the Volkswagen Beetle officially ended on July 30, 2003. A total of 21,529,464 Volkswagen Beetles had been built.

This reminds me that while it's easy to make fun of transportation pods, the Smart might be the start of something important.

Then again, maybe the Smart is more like the BMW Isetta, which was not exactly something big.

Michael Jordan, Executive Editor @ 18,680 miles

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2008 Smart ForTwo: David Coulthard Has Two

May 26, 2009

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Not Harleys. Smarts. CAR recently let a few of its readers submit questions to former F1 driver Coulthard, and naturally, someone asked what "normal cars" he owns. His reply:

A couple of Smarts, a Mercedes M-Class and G-Class, an Infiniti FX45 - I brought that in New York with Jenson Button about four years ago and shipped them to Monaco. What else? A 1971 280SL Pagoda roof - same age as me - and that's it. I don't have anything sporty because I drive F1 racing cars for a living.

CAR

Erin Riches, Senior Editor

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2008 Smart ForTwo: Doesn't Seem Safe, She Says

May 07, 2009

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Although I'm not exactly keen on strapping my life's most precious cargo into the Smart's passenger seat, I have on occasion offered to take my eight-year-old daughter for a ride around the block just so she could see what the diminutive ForTwo feels like.

She vehemently refuses. Just doesn't seem safe, she says.

She's always happy to pose in the Smart Fortwo, just don't ask her to ride in it.

Kelly Toepke, News Editor @ 16,335 miles

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2008 Smart Fortwo: Smart vs. Nano

May 04, 2009

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So suppose you're looking at rear-engine, rear-wheel-drive runabouts, and you've narrowed it down to the Smart Fortwo and the Tata Nano (possibly the only two in existence, auto rickshaws aside), and you don't have to bother with troublesome details like the fact that the $3,000 Nano isn't available stateside.

If it's performance you're after...well, clearly it's not. But for what it's worth, the Nano does 0-50 mph in an unofficial 16.4 seconds, according to our first drive, while the Smart embarrasses it with a 14.1-second 0-60 sprint. Similarly, the Nano tops out at 65, whereas the Smart will do a rather harrowing 93. Smart owners now have a handy retort for whenever their rides are being ridiculed: "Dude. If you had a Nano, I would smoke you."

The Nano also doesn't come with a radio, and it lacks anything like the Tridion Safety Cell, which means the force of hitting that cow in the middle of the road won't be transferred solely to your internal organs, a la the Smart. To the Nano's credit, though, it has a proper manual transmission, it seats four rather than two, and its claimed 47 combined mpg on regular gas trounces the Smart's 36 mpg on premium.

Here's my question: How much more is the Smart worth than the Nano? Given its edge in safety and performance, and taking into account its inferior fuel economy and passenger capacity, I say about 100%. A $6,000-7,000 Smart car is something I could wholeheartedly recommend.

Josh Sadlier, Associate Editor

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2008 Smart Fortwo: Packs a Punch

April 13, 2009

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Don't be fooled by the unassuming 2008 Smart Fortwo. It actually gave me a fat lip this weekend. No, not because I was mouthing off.

Since the seatback lever is located on the inside of the seat and not by the door I had to reach across the seat to get at the lever. Unfortunately I had unwittingly put my mouth at level with the hard plastic seatbelt holder. Pulled the lever and...you know the rest. Right in the kisser. For new Smart owners out there, I did it so you wouldn't have to.

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor

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