Used 2011 smart fortwo Hatchback

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Pros & Cons

  • Fits in spaces others cannot
  • zippy around-town handling
  • surprisingly accommodating interior
  • attention-getting style.
  • Rough-shifting transmission
  • expensive compared to larger subcompacts
  • awkward floor-pivot brake pedal
  • ill-suited for highway travel.
List Price Estimate
$2,526 - $3,908

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Edmunds' Expert Review

The 2011 Smart Fortwo is a capable city car, but its high price, eccentric transmission and unpleasant highway ride should be enough to drive shoppers to other, more well-rounded small cars.

Vehicle overview

The 2011 Smart Fortwo is a car of contradictions. In many of the ways that people expect it to suffer -- interior space, passenger comfort and crash-test scores, for instance -- the Fortwo actually does quite well. But in other aspects that you'd otherwise take for granted, the Fortwo disappoints.

The Smart Fortwo's 1.0-liter three-cylinder engine puts out 70 horsepower -- an unimpressive figure in today's world. It's not a major drawback, though, as the Fortwo generally feels surprisingly energetic around town. No, the drawback is the transmission to which it's connected. This single-clutch, automated manual transmission shifts gears so slowly and clumsily that the noticeable shift shock will make passengers wonder what's wrong with it.

There are other contradictions, too. The Smart car's small footprint means it's easy to fit in the smallest of parking spaces, but the jumpy driveline engagement during the parking process makes doing so a real adventure. Fuel economy is very good, but the engine requires premium gas. And though it's certainly not an expensive car, the 2011 Smart Fortwo is pricey for what you get, which is essentially a two-passenger runabout with a one-dimensional, city-oriented personality.

Considering all this, the Smart Fortwo's competition looks pretty attractive. Even if we were to forgive the Fortwo for some of its flaws, we'd still recommend any number of basic (although slightly more expensive) cars with more well-rounded personalities. That group includes the 2011 Honda Fit, the 2011 Ford Fiesta, the 2011 Hyundai Accent and the 2011 Mazda 2.

2011 smart fortwo models

The 2011 Smart Fortwo is a two-seat subcompact available as a hatchback coupe or a convertible (Cabriolet). There are two trim levels: Pure and Passion.

The Pure includes 15-inch steel wheels, keyless entry, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and two pre-wired speakers. Options include air-conditioning and a radio with auxiliary audio/USB jack.

The Passion Coupe adds the Pure's options, plus 15-inch alloy wheels, transmission shift paddles, a glass roof, heated power mirrors, power windows and a sport steering wheel. The Passion Cabriolet further adds a power convertible top, a glass rear window and side airbags (in place of side curtain airbags).

Options on the Pure and Passion include LED daytime running lights, automatic lights and wipers, power steering, heated seats, center console storage and an alarm. Cruise control is also available and includes a trip computer but eliminates the paddle shifters. The Passion models can be further equipped with additional gauges and the Comfort package, which includes foglights, power steering and heated leather seats.

Also available is the Style package that adds wider tires and wheels, foglights and metallic paint. Most of the bundled options are also available on their own.

2011 Highlights

For 2011 the Smart Fortwo receives a few minor cosmetic changes, LED daytime running lights, a new upper dash panel, cruise control, additional interior storage options and an upgraded audio system as well as side curtain and knee airbags.

Performance & mpg

Powering the 2011 Smart Fortwo is a rear-mounted 1.0-liter three-cylinder Mitsubishi engine that delivers 70 hp and 68 pound-feet of torque. This is sent to the rear wheels through a five-speed automated manual transmission. The transmission can be shifted manually if desired via the console-mounted stick on all models or shift paddles on the steering wheel of the Passion.

In Edmunds testing, a Smart Fortwo went from zero to 60 mph in a glacial 14.1 seconds on its way to a 90 mph top speed. Though its fuel capacity is only 8.7 gallons, the range is acceptable considering its EPA-estimated fuel economy of 33 mpg city/41 mpg highway and 36 mpg combined. Premium fuel is required, however.

Safety

The 2011 Smart Fortwo is built by Mercedes-Benz, and as such, it offers ample occupant protection. Standard safety equipment includes side curtain airbags for the coupe models and side airbags for the cabriolet, knee bolster airbags, antilock brakes (front discs and rear drums), hill-hold assist, stability control and traction control. In Edmunds brake testing, the Fortwo Passion came to a stop from 60 mph in 124 feet -- a better-than-average distance for a subcompact.

The Smart Fortwo has not been rated using the government's new, more strenuous 2011 crash-testing procedures. Its 2010 ratings (which aren't comparable to 2011 tests) resulted in four out of five stars for frontal crash protection of the driver and three stars for passenger protection. In side impacts, the Smart was awarded a perfect five out of five stars. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the Smart its highest rating of "Good" for both frontal- and side-impact protection.

Driving

Don't expect too much in the way of driving refinement with the 2011 Smart Fortwo. Ruts and bumps in the road are acceptably damped and the Fortwo can be fun to drive around town, but the tiny car is easily upset by crosswinds and gusts from passing trucks on the highway. Furthermore, the automated manual transmission is as crude a unit as you'll find in any car. Shifts are not only slow, but they're also accompanied by a significant lurch. Gearchanges can be made smoother with a well-timed throttle lift in manual mode, but that defeats the point of having an automatic in the first place.

Pulling away from a stop, the Smart car is at least capable of accelerating with more authority than a golf cart, but quickly runs out of steam as the revs and speed increase. Compounding matters, the automated clutch is slow to react and in parking lots, the car has a tendency to dart forward or backward, rather than crawl or roll. We're also not fans of the awkward brake pedal placement and its inconsistent travel.

Interior

Despite its comically small exterior proportions, the Smart Fortwo is remarkably roomy inside. There's enough head- and legroom for 6-foot-plus occupants while the passenger benefits from an additional 6 inches of seat travel. The passenger seat also folds flat to provide more cargo space than the 7 cubic feet the cargo area behind the seats can hold (12 cubes if you load it to the roof, blocking rear visibility).

The interior is pleasantly modern in design, with a choice of several monochromatic and two-tone color palates available. The Passion models feature cloth upholstery with bold colors and wild patterns, while the base Pure models are notably tame by comparison -- a radio and air-conditioning are optional.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2011 smart fortwo.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Another Daimler product
iota78,02/10/2011
The only reason I checked the smart car out was the fact that it is made/engineered by Daimler. I have had many Mercedes. still have a 1972 450SL and my current one is a 2009 R350 (yea, the spaceship) For a 75 HP engine it has what i would expect or more with regard to acceleration. The transmission shifting is a little different at first but then reminds you you didn't buy a race car but one that gets you where you want to go with some nice euro style creature comforts. I am 6'4" 270 pounds and easily got into the seat without any trouble due to the large doors. leg room is ample and the large windows are good to eliminate any chance of feeling claustrophobic.
Smart???Not
ErnieB,05/15/2019
passion coupe 2dr Hatchback (1.0L 3cyl 5AM)
Wanted a commuter car. Reviewed 2011 Smart for Two Passion costs and performance stats, test drove and bought a new one for $15460. Car was comfortable, gave good service, and ran fine for eight years but only attained 48072 miles when, during mandatory CA smog test in May 2019, it failed indicating a miss in one the three cylinders. Took it to a local Mercedes repair shop ( not an authorized dealer ) because the nearest authorized dealer is 60 miles distant required a lot of coordination to get there and back. The local repair shop tested all cylinders and found #2 to very weak and recommended replacing the complete engine at a significantly high cost. Then talked with the service rep at the authorized Smart for Two dealer in Santa Barbara, CA to discuss problems and costs to repair. They informed me that they are no longer in the Smart Car business and basically suggested I donate the car to charity. Next I called Daimler Vehicle Innovations (Smart) and pleaded for help. Result was " Sorry, although you are under 50000 miles the 4 year warranty is past. Now I have a vehicle that is running on two and a quarter cylinders, definitely shows signs of cylinder misfire and needs costly repair. Purchase price, maintenance and repairs over eight years = about $3200 a year cost. It wasn't a smart purchase, unfortunately. UPDATE 11/15/2019: Final costs for repair would have been over $11,000. Sold it to "We Buy Cars" out of LA, CA for $1,000 and they did a nice job on the pick up and paperwork. Searched for new car and bought a 2019 Honda FIT for under $20,000, which has more room, excellent, ergonomics, better all around features and road ability. Santa Maria, CA, Honda dealer attention to detail and service is very good and the new Fit has performed flawlessly for the last six months.
Surprisingly fun!
wallen2,12/11/2011
I don't own one of these, but I use Car2Go in Austin, which is a car sharing company that uses only Smart cars. I was so surprised how fun this thing is to drive, even out of the city and on the highway. For only 75hp, this thing really goes quickly. Great interior space as well. But Edmonds cons are spot on. That transmission is pretty harsh, and that break pedal is hard to get used to at first. It feels like it's not going to stop.
2011 - Love my Smart - sad to see them go.
CLWest,01/26/2020
passion coupe 2dr Hatchback (1.0L 3cyl 5AM)
Needed commuter car as I have 34 mile one-way commute - Having seen these in Germany in '06 was glad to see them come to US in '08 - waited couple years before purchase. Purchased new from Tulsa dealer for 'cuteness' factor & MPGs; Did purchase extended warranty because it was a 'benz. Ran great until 24K miles- took it in to OKC Mercedes/Smart and needed new engine (2nd cylinder out - seems to be a known issue) - had to fight to get them to honor warranty - but finally they did (had a salesman actually tell me they 'hated' the smart but had to sell them for the 'offset' credit). No issues with new engine. Drove without a flaw until '17 (6yrs) needed new coil. Drove great until shifting issue (Nov '18) - took to Euro shop said was master cylinder (which controls shifting) $1K repair; Is in shop now (Jan 20) for busted motor mount, master cylinder & bent arm (? $2K). I am also discovering ways to 'reset' the computer to adjust shifting issues - wondering about first mechanic now .... Currently have 114K miles - has been a bit costlier to drive (repairs) but my '95 F150 never met a gas station it didn't love so have enjoyed this Smart! $20/week fuel and this Smart is a fun car to drive! While I hope to get a couple more years out of it, I will be selling it (maybe) because I now have 2 grands and - most importantly - when I do need a repair I have to haul it a minimum of 60 miles to the nearest mechanic that works on Euro cars (hassle factor). If I were in a city with local repairs available, or was younger and could work on it myself, I would drive this into the ground. Other than listed repairs, just basic maintenance. I have enjoyed my Smart - it has worked well for the reason I purchased it!! Its interesting but I am also looking at a Honda Fit as a replacement (see ErnieB's post) :-)

Features & Specs

MPG
33 city / 41 hwy
Seats 2
5-speed automated manual
Gas
70 hp @ 5800 rpm
MPG
33 city / 41 hwy
Seats 2
5-speed automated manual
Gas
70 hp @ 5800 rpm
See all Used 2011 smart fortwo Hatchback features & specs

Safety

IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Good
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

More about the 2011 smart fortwo

Used 2011 smart fortwo Hatchback Overview

The Used 2011 smart fortwo Hatchback is offered in the following styles: passion coupe 2dr Hatchback (1.0L 3cyl 5AM), and pure coupe 2dr Hatchback (1.0L 3cyl 5AM).

What's a good price on a Used 2011 smart fortwo Hatchback?

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Should I lease or buy a 2011 smart fortwo?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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