2018 smart fortwo Review
With a tiny passenger compartment, limited cargo room and underwhelming performance, the Smart Fortwo is never going to be a mainstream vehicle. But considering it can fit into almost any parking space and turn on a dime, it undoubtedly has niche appeal for consumers living in dense urban areas. Well, now that niche is even smaller. Smart has discontinued the gasoline-powered model from the current lineup, leaving only the Fortwo Electric Drive version.
On the upside, we think the Electric offers the better driving of the two. It doesn't have the gas model's rough-shifting transmission, and it benefits from the electric motor's instant torque and smooth acceleration. However, the Electric is more expensive than the old gas model, and its maximum range of 58 miles is considerably less than any other EV's.
All of this piles on to the Fortwo's existing problems such as a punishing ride and a low-rent cabin. We strongly recommend checking out other EVs in this price bracket for their better range, greater utility and higher emphasis on passenger comfort.
trim levels & features
The 2018 Smart Fortwo Electric is a pint-size city car with seating for two (get it?) and a surprising amount of passenger space inside. The Fortwo Coupe is sold in three trims — Pure, Passion and Prime — while the Fortwo Cabrio (convertible) is available in Passion and Prime levels. There isn't a huge price differential between the trims, but the starting MSRP for this stylish two-door EV is quite high. As with many cars produced by parent company Mercedes-Benz, there are a number of available features packages and stand-alone options.
The Fortwo Electric's 17.6-kWh lithium-ion battery pack and 60-kW motor (80 horsepower and 118 pound-feet of torque) drive the rear wheels directly. The EPA estimates that the Smart Fortwo Electric can travel up to 58 miles before it runs out of juice and takes three hours to charge an empty battery using a 240-volt power supply.
The Fortwo Coupe's base Pure trim includes 15-inch steel wheels with plastic covers, LED daytime running lights, cruise control, power windows, a rearview camera, a driver information display, cloth upholstery, automatic climate control, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, and a two-speaker sound system with an auxiliary input and a USB port.
Also standard is the ability for iOS and select Android smartphone users to download a free Cross Connect app that controls phone, audio, internet streaming radio, vehicle information and a navigation system.
The Passion trim adds alloy wheels, heated and power-adjustable mirrors, contrasting interior upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a height-adjustable driver seat, an additional storage compartment in the center console, and a retractable cargo cover.
The Prime further dresses up the Smart with foglights, cornering lights, a panoramic glass roof, automatic headlights and wipers, leather upholstery, heated seats and interior ambient lighting.
Several options packages are available for the Smart Fortwo Electric. The Cold Weather package adds heated seats and additional cabin insulation, and the new Sport package (Passion and Prime only) dresses up the Fortwo with 16-inch alloy wheels and stainless steel pedals. The 10th Anniversary Edition pack is similar to the Sport, but the wheels are of a different design and certain exterior elements are painted blue. There's also the Smart Media System bundle, which combines a 7-inch touchscreen, a navigation system and Android Auto functionality. It can be ordered with or without a six-speaker JBL audio system.
Individual options include rear parking sensors, a forward collision warning system, imitation leather (premium vinyl) upholstery, a center armrest, and a phone cradle that positions your smartphone in the middle of the dash so it can function as a touchscreen controller.
Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our first drive of the 2017 Smart Fortwo Electric Prime, as well as the full rating of the gasoline-powered 2016 Smart Fortwo Proxy (turbo 0.9L inline-3 | 6-speed automatic | FWD), which is no longer available.
NOTE: Since this test was conducted, the current Smart Fortwo lineup has received some revisions, including the deletion of the gasoline-powered Fortwo model starting this year. Our findings from the gas-powered version carry over to the EV model, as well.
Noise & vibration
Ease of use
Getting in/getting out
edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.