2015 smart fortwo Review

Pros & Cons

  • Easy to park in tight spaces
  • roomy seating for two people.
  • Irritating automanual transmission for gas models
  • anemic performance
  • rough ride on the highway
  • spartan interior
  • Electric's below-average range.
List Price
$8,981

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Edmunds' Expert Review

Although the ability to park the 2015 Smart Fortwo almost anywhere is a major plus for city dwellers, its unrefined driving characteristics and questionable value proposition make it hard to recommend. The Fortwo Electric Drive is better, but it still trails other available electric vehicles.

Vehicle overview

For anyone who lives or works in urban centers like New York or San Francisco that are plagued by a chronic shortage of parking spaces, there's no need to explain the appeal of the 2015 Smart Fortwo. At slightly less than 9 feet in length, this two-passenger microcar's entire mission is to allow its owner to squeeze it into all those curbside spots that are too small for even the stubbiest of subcompacts. Unfortunately, that's about where the Fortwo's appeal ends.

Topping the list of negatives are the annoying hesitations and clunky gearchanges that have long plagued the gasoline-powered model's automated-manual transmission. That problem thankfully doesn't exist for the Fortwo Electric Drive because of its all-electric powertrain. But all Fortwos are prone to a choppy ride quality, a substantial amount of road noise and noticeable buffeting in crosswinds, all of which can become tedious on long road trips. Pokey acceleration is another notable drawback.

With these downsides in mind, it's not surprising that we'd urge buyers considering the 2015 Fortwo to look at a number of more refined and practical competitors. If small size is a big deal for you, we'd recommend that you check out the only slightly larger but more enjoyable to drive 2015 Scion iQ. For those in search of maximum mpg, the compact Toyota Prius C should work out well. We'd also point you to any of the top subcompacts like the Chevrolet Sonic, Ford Fiesta and Honda Fit, as they're more comfortable to drive and offer a more attractive set of features for the money. Finally, if zero-emissions operation is important, the 2015 Fiat 500e provides more range, quicker acceleration and a superior on-road feel than the Smart Electric Drive.

Good news is coming for next year as Smart is set to introduce an all-new Fortwo that will be a little bigger and more refined. But for this year, the Smart Fortwo is simply outclassed.

2015 smart fortwo models

The 2015 Smart Fortwo is offered in both coupe and convertible (a.k.a. Cabriolet) body styles. Coupes are available in entry-level Pure and better-equipped Passion trim levels. The convertible, which features a powered soft top with a sunroof-like front section that can be opened independently, is only offered in the Passion trim. The Fortwo Electric Drive is also available in coupe and convertible body styles in a single trim level.

The base Pure coupe's short list of standard features includes 15-inch steel wheels, a solid roof panel, keyless entry, automatic climate control, cloth upholstery, a flat-folding passenger seat, manual windows, power door locks and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Stepping up to the Passion trim level gets you 15-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights and wipers, a see-through roof panel (coupe only), a power-folding convertible top (Cabriolet only), heated power side mirrors, power windows, a three-spoke steering wheel with shift paddles, a driver armrest and a two-speaker sound system with USB and auxiliary audio input jacks.

The Smart Fortwo Electric Drive includes most of the Passion coupe and convertible's standard features and adds electric power steering

The options list includes a Cruise Control package that bundles cruise control and a trip computer and removes the steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles. A Comfort package offered on the Passion coupe and convertible includes electric power steering, leather upholstery, heated seats and a retractable cargo area cover. The Style package offered on Passion models includes 15-inch Brabus alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights, ambient interior lighting and additional instruments in dash-top pods; the same package on the Fortwo Electric Drive includes distinctive green and white trim pieces inside and out. Finally, a Technology package that includes a navigation system and a seven-speaker surround-sound audio system is offered on both Passion body styles and the Electric Drive variant.

Stand-alone options include foglights, LED daytime running lights, dash-top gauges and most of the features in the option packages noted above.

2015 Highlights

With an all-new third-generation model due out later in the year, the 2015 Smart Fortwo continues unchanged.

Performance & mpg

The 2015 Smart Fortwo Pure and Passion models are powered by a rear-mounted 1.0-liter three-cylinder engine that produces 70 horsepower and 68 pound-feet of torque. Power flows to the rear wheels by way of a five-speed automated-manual transmission.

In Edmunds testing, a Smart Fortwo went from zero to 60 mph in a painfully slow 14.1 seconds on its way to a 90 mph top speed. Though its fuel capacity is only 8.7 gallons, the car's range is acceptable when you figure in its EPA-estimated fuel economy of 36 mpg combined (34 city/38 highway). These are offset, however, by the fact that the engine requires expensive premium fuel.

The Smart Fortwo Electric Drive's powertrain includes a 55kW electric motor and a 17.6 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. Rated power is 47 hp, but a burst mode allows the Electric to generate 74 hp for a short period of time. Acceleration from zero to 60 mph is said to take 11.5 seconds. Smart also says fully charging the battery with a 240-volt power source will take 6 hours, which is a long time for an EV. According to the EPA, the electric Smart has a range of 68 miles and an overall efficiency rating of 32 kWh used per 100 miles driven.

Safety

Standard safety features on the 2015 Smart Fortwo include antilock brakes, stability control, traction control, hill-start assist and eight airbags including front, knee, side-impact and side curtain.

In crash tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the Fortwo earned the top rating of "Good" in moderate-overlap frontal-offset, side impact and roof strength tests. Its seat/head restraint design was rated "Acceptable" (second best out of the four ratings) for whiplash protection in rear impacts.

Driving

From behind the steering wheel, the 2015 Smart Fortwo is a bit of a mixed bag. With a size that makes even pint-sized cars like the Mini Cooper seem large and a tight turning circle, the Smart lets you move through snarled traffic and snag partial parking spots in a way that's sure to make many of the drivers around you envious. On the open road, however, the Fortwo's combination of a short wheelbase and firm suspension tuning creates a rough ride that takes a good bit of fun out of the driving equation.

Much the same can be said of the standard model's 70-hp three-cylinder engine, which gives the car sufficient zip in slow-moving traffic but begins to feel winded when driven at prolonged freeway speeds. By far the biggest drawback of this powertrain, though, is the performance of the automated-manual transmission that provides gearchanges that are slow and clunky in fully automatic mode and only slightly less aggravating when shifted manually.

Interior

The Fortwo Pure is quite basic inside -- power windows and even a radio are options. Even the better equipped Passion model charges extra for simple everyday features like power steering, cruise control and a retractable cargo area cover. But the passenger cabin feels a good bit more spacious than you might expect given the car's diminutive exterior. Part of the credit for this feeling of openness goes to the large windshield and the see-through roof panel on the Passion coupe and the front section of the retractable roof on the Passion convertible.

The Fortwo's podlike body shell also creates generous amounts of head- and legroom. Behind the seats, the cargo area offers a passable 8 cubic feet of storage that can be expanded to accommodate long items via the flat-folding passenger seat. Perhaps more impressive is the fact that, unlike some electric and hybrid models, the Smart Fortwo Electric Drive doesn't sacrifice any of this cargo space to make room for the battery pack, as designers have managed to sandwich it beneath the floor.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2015 smart fortwo.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

5 out of 5 stars
What a great little car
snowyrivers,05/11/2015
pure coupe 2dr Hatchback (1.0L 3cyl 5AM)
After driving Class 8 trucks for over 20 years I wanted something small, fuel efficient and fun. Bought our Smart last fall and have no regrets. I wish these car bloggers had some idea about transmissions, as the Smart tranny is a sweet little gear box. Shifted manually it is as smooth as silk. Let it do things on its own and its not quite up to my standards of a smooth shift, but in the hands of a neophite that has never touched a real stick shift, it will get them from A TO B without grinding the gears or wasting the clutch. Benz got this right. At 2 million miles under my belt juggling big rigs, this little car is sweeeeeet. GREAT LITTLE RIDE. We get 34 city and have seen 60 hwy MPG
4.75 out of 5 stars
Fabulous Car Unbeatably Economical
danawanapskana,10/06/2014
pure coupe 2dr Hatchback (1.0L 3cyl 5AM)
I took this thing from Schenectady area New York all the way to the coast of Oregon in about 12 days. I took my time on the country roads for long winding miles with hours sometimes between gas stations. It got stares, comments, questions, smiles and even some curious gawking from cute girls and a driver of a brand new Ferrari. It was awesome to drive across country, even up and around the steep Rockies with no barriers from 5000 foot drops and now I find it's even more fun to drive around where I'm living- to the gym or to shop, to get into the bigger city by Interstate and the State highways. It's absolutely wonderful to take through a pretty town with country driving in mind. Marvelous
5 out of 5 stars
Very Much Worth It
Nick Castillo,03/04/2018
pure coupe 2dr Hatchback (1.0L 3cyl 5AM)
It looks small from the outside, but I am able to stretch my legs all the way out in the passenger seat, and I'm 6 foot tall. It's got plenty of get up and go, easy to do 80 on the highway, and is very fuel efficient. They are made by Mercedes, so its a bit loud, and the engines behind you in the rear. If looking for a first car, or just for the pure enjoyment, get a Smart. They are actually very safe. They are built with a safety cell that protects the occupants better than most vehicles. Great, Fun Car Overall!
1 out of 5 stars
WE WERE STUPID TO BUY A SMART!!!
RB,09/13/2015
pure coupe 2dr Hatchback (1.0L 3cyl 5AM)
We purchased the Smart fortwo thinking we will save money on gas and save on maintenance as the car is relatively simple compared with today's sophisticated vehicle standard. WRONG! The MPG is okay not comparable to other vehicles in the same or larger size range. The battery which is located under the passenger carpet died twice within the first 8K miles and by the time we accumulated 20K, we had to have the Smart towed to the dealer because it abruptly died in the middle of traffic and would not restart. The BIG SHOCK was the dealer's $15,000.00 estimate of repair... If you're thinking that the engine or transmission failed, you'd be wrong. According to the dealer, whoever replaced the battery the second time failed to properly ensure that a condensation hose that runs from the AC over the top on the battery and through the floor was reconnected properly. The condensation accumulated between the foam under the carpet and the metal floor, and shorted out the transmission module under the driver's seat and wiring harness. The carpet above never got wet so we had no clue this was occurring underneath. After further inspection, it was evident that the hose actually pops off by itself and it was more of a design failure than a battery installation error. Besides, is it SMART german engineering to run an AC condensation line with a pop off break directly over the battery? The $15,000.00 was a joke since you can almost buy a new Smart for that. So we called Mercedes/Smart customer service for assistance and after a one month run-around, they offered nothing! Not even an acknowledgement that they have a design problem even though it's well documented on Smart Blogs. It is no wonder that the Smart Car made it on both Consumer Reports' Worst new cars of 2014 list and Edmunds The 17 Worst Cars You Can Buy. In fact, It's No.1 on Edmunds list with the subcaption "Friends Don't Let Friends Buy These Vehicles" Save your money, don't be so dumb as to buy a Smart!

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    DriverNot Rated
    PassengerNot Rated
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    DriverNot Rated
    PassengerNot Rated
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover3 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of Rollover21.2%
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Good
  • Roof Strength Test
    Good
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Acceptable
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

More about the 2015 smart fortwo

Used 2015 smart fortwo Overview

The Used 2015 smart fortwo is offered in the following submodels: fortwo Hatchback, fortwo Convertible, fortwo Electric. Available styles include pure coupe 2dr Hatchback (1.0L 3cyl 5AM), electric drive coupe 2dr Hatchback (electric DD), passion coupe 2dr Hatchback (1.0L 3cyl 5AM), passion cabriolet 2dr Convertible (1.0L 3cyl 5AM), and electric drive cabriolet 2dr Convertible (electric DD). The Used 2015 smart fortwo comes with rear wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 5-speed automated manual, 1-speed direct drive. The Used 2015 smart fortwo comes with a 4 yr./ 50000 mi. basic warranty, a 4 yr./ 50000 mi. roadside warranty, and a 4 yr./ 50000 mi. powertrain warranty.

What's a good price on a Used 2015 smart fortwo?

Price comparisons for Used 2015 smart fortwo trim styles:

  • The Used 2015 smart fortwo passion coupe is priced between $8,981 and$8,981 with odometer readings between 45257 and45257 miles.

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Which used 2015 smart fortwos are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2015 smart fortwo for sale near. There are currently 1 used and CPO 2015 fortwos listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $8,981 and mileage as low as 45257 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2015 smart fortwo.

Can't find a used 2015 smart fortwos you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used smart fortwo for sale - 12 great deals out of 14 listings starting at $11,680.

Find a used smart for sale - 5 great deals out of 21 listings starting at $9,571.

Find a used certified pre-owned smart fortwo for sale - 7 great deals out of 13 listings starting at $21,047.

Find a used certified pre-owned smart for sale - 8 great deals out of 23 listings starting at $7,654.

Should I lease or buy a 2015 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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