The Smart Fortwo holds the distinction of being the model that got things started domestically in the microcar segment. However, while it may have been the first, it's a long way from being the best in this growing category. This little hatchback has size — or lack of it — in its favor. With a length of just 106.1 inches, it's the smallest model in the segment, and this allows it to easily find its way into even the tightest of parking spaces.
However, the Fortwo is significantly hampered by its transmission, an automated manual that enhances mpg at the price of some clumsiness in the way it shifts gears, adding an element of unpredictability to even the most basic maneuvers. With just 70 hp, this Smart has the weakest engine in the segment, but its light weight ensures that drivers don't pay a harsh penalty for this when it comes to acceleration. While the car's miniature proportions are an asset in the city, they're a hindrance on the highway, making the little Smart susceptible to crosswinds and adding an unsettling element of insecurity to freeway travel.
Best for: Shoppers seeking the tiniest, easiest-to-park model in the segment