2008 Smart Fortwo Passion: Don't Bother with the Power Steering Option
March 24, 2009
Our long-term 2008 Smart Fortwo Passion has the $450 power steering option, which provides a small electric motor to power the car's steering. So far, this is one of the few things we haven't complained about on our Smart.
The Fortwo's EPS doesn't have much feel, but I don't think it's the worst of the lot in this price range. Perhaps, more importantly, effort levels are Prius-easy at low speeds and the steering is weighty enough at highway speeds that the car feels like it'll stay planted in its lane -- assuming there's no crosswind. Of course, it doesn't hurt a bit that the Smart's German engineers gave the Fortwo a big helping of caster, too.
Well, the Smart Fortwo Passion that Jon Barrett, an Edmunds.com vehicle data editor, is driving doesn't have the optional power steering. Today we took his Smart for a spin around the neighborhood. Jon had warned me that it takes a little extra muscle to coax the car into a turn from a stop -- and it did, but not much more. After all, this is a car that barely cracks 1,800 pounds soaking wet. Although, with the two of us aboard, we were past the 1-ton mark.
Once the blue Smart is up to 15-20 mph, the steering feels pretty similar to our Smart's. So, apparently, there's minimal EPS assist being provided once our long-term car has any kind of momentum going. Drop this option, and our 2008 long-termer drops from a $15,305 MSRP to $14,855. But I think I'd pay another $120 for the "additional gauges" option: I'm tired of living without a tach, dammit!
Erin Riches, Senior Editor