It exceeds every measure of what anyone should reasonably expect! During my 55 years of driving I have owned quite a few of those "highly recommended" status symbols. In quality and reliability my smart car is equal to or exceeds every one of them! The writers REALLY blew it on the smart car. Do you believe a magazine writer knows more than the engineers at Mercedes? Rate the car for it's intended purpose! Don't get out of your manufacturer provided 455hp sport car and say the smart car lacks acceleration! My advice, if you truly want to know about any car, talk to an owner. Forget the writers getting paid by the manufactures to write about their "phenomenal new engineering creation."
I just purchased a Passion coupe for my wife, as she has been very interested in this car ever since it was introduced to the US in 2008. She was driving a 2008 New Beetle Convertible, but reliability issues were making this car a real hassle to maintain. As has been pointed out in countless reviews, the smartfor2 is equipped with a rather bizarre 5-speed automatic transmission which can also be shifted manually via steering wheel mounted paddles or the floor shifter. My wife tends to keep the car in the auto mode and it seems to constantly be shifting; even on relatively small inclines. When I drive the car, I usually use the manual mode. It actually gets better than advertised mileage.
I'm a teacher, and they reeled me in with the extra discount - and a generous trade-in on my 10-year old New Beetle. The car has been more fun than I thought it would be to drive, but I agree with other posters that leaving it in pure auto mode results in a lousy ride. Even in 'manual' 1st to 2nd is a drag. The little engine does quickly lug out on hills and even slight inclines, but it drops seamlessly into 4th with an easy pull of the shift lever. Gas mileage so far better than advertised. Plenty of vertical room, but my legs end up jammed against the door and the shifter when it is in 'manual' mode. Along with the seats being uncomfortable, I am not looking forward to long trips.
My first impression of this car was that it will be fuel efficient which I can now assure you that it is NOT. I had read reviews that this car isn't really efficeint so I convinced myself by telling myself that I'm buying a quality product. It has been six months and take my word on this. It's not efficient for it's class. It's a tiny car, with very little power, you would think it gives twice as much mileage as a car like Corolla but it gives same result at the gas station. I had a flat tire at 2000 miles from a tiny piece of metal and Roadside assistance took 5 hours to arrive in rural area near a smart center. Inefficient and uncomfortable. I don't know how I got fooled into this.