2008 Smart Fortwo: Smarten Up
October 24, 2008
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