2008 smart fortwo Long-Term Road Test

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2008 Smart Fortwo: Greener Vehicles

June 02, 2009

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Here's a sneak peek at what the Obama Administration has planned for GM's new fleet of "Green Vehicles." I drove each one and I'm really liking Rody the bouncy horse - it's made in Italy, has excellent air suspension and a better 0-60 time than the Smart Fortwo. However, the lack of an iPod connection and ABS are deal breakers for me. On the other hand, the Smart has one touch down power windows - that's nice too. Which vehicle do you think is best?

Brian Moody, Automotive Editor @ 17,305 miles

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2008 Smart Fortwo Passion Coupe: "Pull a U-Turn and Get Out of Here!"

March 02, 2009

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Saturday night I was on the way to dinner with a friend in the 2008 Smart Fortwo when the traffic on Pacific Coast Highway came to an abrupt stop.

Up ahead there was trouble but we couldn't see what was happening. The light turned green and we inched forward then came to a stop next to a wrecked car with tongues of fire flicking out from under the hood. As we waited for the light to turn the whole front of the car went up in flames.

Cop cars and fire equipment were pulling up all around us. I heard a frantic rapping on my window and rolled it down.

A cop's face filled my vision. "Pull a U-turn and get out of here! That thing's going to blow up!"

It was like one of those old movies when a character yells: "Run for your lives! She's gonna blow!"

I threw it in reverse -- but where could I go? I was boxed in by a fire truck and a cop car. But wait a second. I was in the ultimate U-turn car. After a few reverses and some frantic cutting of the wheel, I cleared the fire truck, reversed my direction and was flying away from the scene, waiting for a fireball to fill my rearview mirror.

Well, this was just a long way of saying, safety comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. Sometimes you can drive your way out of danger.

In other news, the Smart delivered 43.2 mpg over a weekend of driving all over Southern California. Checking records, I see that the worst tank was 29.7 mpg and our average at 14,274 miles is 33.7 mpg.

Philip Reed, Edmunds.com Senior Consumer Advice Editor @ 14,274 miles

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2008 Smart Fortwo: Fuel Economy Update

October 27, 2008

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My reward for bad-mouthing the Smart on Friday? Keys for the weekend, of course. I bucked and droned my way down the 405 to Newport Beach yesterday and came up with a brilliant idea for a three-car comparo: Wrangler, Elise, Smart -- Cruising On The Highway Like It's 1923!

Anyway, fuel efficiency is supposed to be one of the Smart's strong points, right? So I figured it was time to update the fuel log and see how we're doing. Against an EPA combined estimate of 36 mpg, we're averaging a somewhat disappointing 33.4 mpg -- and I'm hesitant to blame our chronically leaden feet for this deficit, since wooding it in the Smart is about as pleasant as punching yourself in the face.

Moreover, that's 33.4 mpg on premium, which means the Smart will run you an extra 27 cents per gallon at current prices. If premium costs $3.27 and regular costs $3.00, then as far as your wallet's concerned, getting 33.4 mpg in the Smart is the same as getting 30.6 mpg in a car that runs on regular.

Josh Sadlier, Associate Editor, Edmunds.com @ 10,516 miles

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2008 Smart Fortwo: Smarten Up

October 24, 2008

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Here's the biggest problem with our long-term Smart Fortwo:

It's priced like a real car.

Whenever someone asks me for my opinion of the Smart, I reply, "It might make some sense...if it cost eight or nine grand." But ours listed for over $15k. That's real-car money. Honda Fit money. Base Mazda 3 or Elantra or Civic or Corolla money. Hell, our Smart even makes the base Yaris looks like a bright idea at $12k and change, not to mention the Accent coupe at $11k.

Now, suppose the Smart got ridiculously good gas mileage. Say, 50 city/70 highway, something like that. In that case, it would be understandable that this thing is exceeding sales expectations, with the first two years of stateside Smarts already spoken for back in March. Fuel economy is sexy these days, so I could see why people would want to pony up real-car coin for a toy car with mega-MPGs. But the Smart's 36 mpg combined figure is frankly pathetic for something this small -- and that's using the required premium unleaded, of course.

So the Smart's sales success leaves me scratching my head. Lop $6 or $7k off the price of our Fortwo, and sure, I'd recommend it as an unrefined and impractical but affordable alternative to a real car. As it stands, though, this has got to be the worst $15k you could possibly spend on a new car today.

Josh Sadlier, Associate Editor, Edmunds.com @ 10,327 miles

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2008 Smart Fortwo: My Turn

September 03, 2008

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Since I had some seat time in the Smart this weekend, I've finally got some first-hand impressions to share. In the spirit of the Smart, I'll keep my comments short - compact, even.

Guess what? The transmission sucks. I know it's been said before, but it needs repeating. No one should ever make a transmission this bad again. It's so bad, it needs its own paragraph.

As does the stereo. It has two speakers. Two really, really, bad speakers.

It's not all bad though. The seating position is good and the seat is comfortable. You've got good visibility too. The motor has nice snarl to it and, even though you're basically sitting on it, its noise and vibration are well controlled. It's not really that slow, either. You've really got to give it a good caning, but it'll get you up to speed.

Even in southern California, this car attracts attention. Everywhere I parked the car, someone came up and asked me about the car. Supermarket? Check. Gas station? Check. Bookstore? Check. My driveway...you get the idea. You've got to be prepared to deal with the attention.

On a side note, Mr. Magrath had asked me to put some license plates on the car this weekend. It shouldn't be a big deal, except there are no pre-drilled plates holes on the Smart. There aren't even any dimples. There's just painted plastic. So, in order to not 'G8' our Smart, I busted out a ruler and a level to center up the plates. A little painter's tape to prevent the paint from cracking, a fully charged drill and 10 minutes was all it took to plate up our Smart.

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2008 Smart Fortwo Passion Coupe: Thing Runs On Premium

July 08, 2008

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Ummm. Talk about ironical. Last night I drove home in our long term 2008 Smart Fortwo Passion Coupe. Don't worry, I scooted down in the seat so nobody I know would see me. The zany part is that this little car runs on premium fuel. There it is in black and white on the fuel filler door. I couldn't believe my eyes. Reminds me of the time I was forced to listen to the musical stylings of the Bacon Brothers. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!

What's next in this mad, mad world, a car with a gasoline burning engine and the added efficiency of an electric motor. The world needs a vacation.

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief @ 6,801 miles

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