Smart Fortwo Offers American Drivers Smarter Options
by Beth Garcia
European cities and roadways since 1998, the zippy, small Smart car is now finding
its way to the American automotive market in 2008 with its U.S. friendly design
— Smart Fortwo.
stylish micro-compact car from Smart USA — a member of the Mercedes Car Group
from parent company Daimler AG — is an Americanized version of the widely popular
Smart car models that have sold more than 770,000 vehicles in more than 35 countries
The economic two-seater compact finds its niche as the smallest
vehicle available for American drivers, specializing in city driving where parking
space is often limited. The Smart Fortwo brings American drivers an opportunity
to capitalize on the efficient driving and parking ease European drivers have
had at their disposal for years.
Available in three different models —
Pure, Passion Coupe and Passion Cabriolet — the 3-cylinder, 1 liter gasoline-powered
Smart Fortwo is created for drivers on the go with little or no cargo. At 8.8
feet long and 5.1 feet wide and tall, the Smart Fortwo comfortably surrounds its
two passengers in a no-nonsense interior equipped with the basic driver amenities,
but stacked with safety and driving features. Though the numbers seem small —
only 71 horsepower at 5,800 rpm and 68-pound-feet of torque at 4,500 rpm — the
Smart Fortwo is more responsive than its appears.
The light, economic car
shifts sufficiently with its 5-speed automanual transmission, sliding through
gears with the typical manual transmission pause most expect. Drivers use to automatic
transmissions may find it difficult at first to smoothly transition through gears.
However, once they get a feel for the car, the automanual shifting should smooth
basic Pure model comes standard with the automanual transmission with manual,
However, an upgrade to the Passion Coupe can allow drivers
the option of a sports steering wheel with shift paddles for a more fun drive.
With a maximum speed of 90 mph, the Smart Fortwo can transition from city car
to highway driver easily. Drivers
not use to smaller framed vehicles may be caught off guard at high speeds with
strong side winds, which can make the boxy car seem a bit shaky.
this, the gas sipping Smart Fortwo does provide the kind of gas mileage both city
drivers and commuters can appreciate, with an average of 33 mpg city and 40 mpg
As the smallest car on the American market, the Smart Fortwo comes
prepared for the safety questions and concerns its sure to meet from SUV-loving
American drivers. Built around a Tridion safety cell cage, the Smart car offers
a frame constructed in rough steel and covered in a colorful, fun-loving plastic body.
The safety cell, with transverse and longitudinal beams, prevents vehicle occupants
from crash damage by smartly displacing the force of any impact.
the Smart Fortwo is equipped with electronic stability control with Hill Start
Assist and anti-lock brakes, traction control, side airbags and thoughtfully placed
axles that protect the passenger compartment.
Make no mistake. The Smart
Fortwo is not a car for luxury or amenity-spoiled drivers. Though well-equipped
with safety features and performance amenities, any extras on the Smart Fortwo
come at a price.
Pure model offers nothing more than a fuel efficient, minimalist driving tool
starting at $11,590. However, jump to the Passion Coupe at $13,590 and drivers
will see a more sporty look with panorama roof, alloy wheels, air condition with
climate control, sports steering wheel, power windows, heated and electric seats
and a radio with six-disc CD changer.
The Passion Cabriolet gives drivers
a little bit of sunlight for a more seaside friendly look. At $16,590, this model
offers an upgraded radio and sound system with an mp3 compatible six-disk CD changer
and soft, removable top with heated rear glass windows that is fully automated.
As Smart's first splash into the American
driving market, the Smart Fortwo offers
urban dwellers an opportunity to cash
in on Europe's carefree city driving.
However, with its size and features, the
Smart Fortwo remains suitable
for city lovers, commuters and second-vehicle
purchasers. Only time will tell if steadily
increasing gas prices and continually
crowding cities push American drivers
to these more economic vehicle purchases.
Passion Coupe, Passion Cabriolet
12-valve inline-3, aluminum block
and head, port fuel injection
manual with automated shifting and
with ABS, EBD
mpg city/40 mpg highway
- $11,590, Passion Coupe - $13,590,
Passion Cabriolet - $16,590
information on the Smart