Smart Fortwo

Smart Fortwo

The Smart Fortwo is a rear-engine, rear-wheel-drive microcar that seats two, and it's available as a hatchback and a convertible. This diminutive city runabout spans three generations, but the first generation wasn't sold by the manufacturer in the United States. The Fortwo's extremely tiny footprint makes it suited for urban travels, and it easily slides into parking spaces that would be too cramped for virtually every other vehicle in the market.

2016 to Present: Smart Fortwo

The current climate favors upsizing. Our cell phones look like tablets, and many compact vehicles have grown to midsize dimensions. The Smart Fortwo bucks this trend, and its claim to fame is a footprint that's not much bigger than golf cart's.

The Fortwo's most recent generation was launched in the 2016 model year. Relative to previous generations, this upgraded Smart features revised styling, a roomier interior and a more powerful engine. The generation was initially launched with a hatchback model onl y, but the convertible rejoined the ranks for the 2017 model year.

This microcar's exterior is as cute as cute gets. In front, a friendly grille looks out from between headlights equipped with standard LED daytime running lights. Petite 15-inch steel wheels are standard, and they help the car resemble a child's cheerful toy in profile. The Fortwo's rear view presents a tall hatch flanked by squarish taillights.

The Fortwo is motivated by a turbocharged three-cylinder engine generating 89 horsepower. The standard transmission is a five-speed manual, and a six-speed dual-clutch automatic is also available.

Smart's Fortwo was designed for local urban travel, and it's a satisfactory companion on these quick jaunts. However, when experienced over longer trips, the car's stiff suspension and rough power delivery can grow wearisome. The cabin can also get quite cacophonous during highway travel.

Inside, the Fortwo delivers a roomy interior that belies its minute footprint. Materials quality is about average relative to other small cars, but the look of the cabin is elevated by its modern design.

Standard features on hatchbacks and convertibles include Bluetooth connectivity, a radio, a tire pressure monitoring system and automatic climate control. Available features include 16-inch wheels, fog lights, heated seats and an upgraded sound system.

The Smart Fortwo's most direct competitors include subcompacts such as the Chevrolet Spark, Ford Fiesta, Fiat 500, Kia Rio and Honda Fit. All these choices surpass the Fortwo in passenger room and cargo capacity, but if you're looking for the car with the smallest, most accommodating footprint, the Fortwo is in a class of its own.

Earlier Smart Fortwo Models

The second-generation Smart Fortwo was the first version of the car to hit the U.S. market, and it was launched in the 2008 model year. Available as a hatchback and convertible, this car was motivated by a 1.0-liter three-cylinder engine good for 70 horsepower, and it was governed by a five-speed automatic transmission.

Standard features on the earliest models included 15-inch wheels, keyless entry and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. The list of available features included air conditioning, power windows and a radio.

The 2009 model year saw the introduction of the performance-oriented Brabus trim. These models come with sport suspensions and a sport-tuned exhaust system. For 2010, Smart added leather upholstery and automatic headlights and wipers to the Fortwo’s options list.

LED daytime running lights and a revised upper dash panel were added a year later, when side-curtain and knee air bags were also brought in. New stereo and navigation choices were added for 2012, and the car got sheet-metal upgrades for 2013.

For the 2014 model year, air conditioning became standard on base models. The Fortwo was unchanged for 2015.

The Smart Fortwo's first generation ran from 1998 to 2007. Though some models were privately imported, this generation wasn't officially sold in the U.S. by the manufacturer.