The two-seat Smart ForTwo arrived at U.S. dealerships for the 2008 model year as a tiny runabout groomed for city streets and tight parking. It comes in basic Pure, better-equipped Passion and drop-top Cabriolet trim levels, but its novelty rules out a rigid set of competitors.
New for 2009
The Passion now comes with a solid-roof option — last year's had only a panoramic see-through panel — though getting the solid roof won't save you any money. Other changes are minor.
Built on a 73-inch wheelbase, the rear-wheel-drive ForTwo measures just 106 inches long — more than 3 feet shorter than a Mini Cooper, the next shortest car on the market.
- 15-inch steel wheels (Pure)
- 15-inch alloy wheels (Passion, Cabriolet)
- Contrasting colors along framework around passenger compartment
- Fully powered convertible top (Cabriolet)
- Optional fog lights
Smart markets the car as offering an unexpectedly large cabin for its shrink-wrapped size. The front seats boast 45.4 cubic feet of passenger volume, about 4 cubic feet smaller than the front-seat volume in a Chrysler PT Cruiser.
- Standard fold-flat front passenger seat
- CD stereo (Passion, Cabriolet)
- Power windows (Passion, Cabriolet)
- Optional heated leather seats (Passion, Cabriolet)
- Panoramic roof (Passion)
- Optional air conditioning (standard on Passion, Cabriolet)
Under the Hood
The ForTwo uses a three-cylinder engine with an automated-manual transmission that can be left in automatic mode or shifted with paddle shifters.
- Standard 71-horsepower, 1.0-liter three-cylinder with 68 pounds-feet of torque
- Standard five-speed auto-manual transmission
- Optional power steering
- Top speed of 90 mph
Safety features include:
- Standard front and side-impact airbags
- Standard disc/drum antilock brakes
- Standard traction control and electronic stability system