As the diminutive Smart Fortwo enters its second year stateside, it benefits from being in the right place at the right time. Capitalizing on instabilities in the economy and fluctuating fuel prices, the Smart has enjoyed a successful introduction into the American market. While initially the Smart may have been thought of more as a novelty, its solid sales and growing, cultlike following suggest the Smart is here to stay.
For one thing, many people find the Smart car adorably cute. The charming exterior is unlike anything on the road, defying most preconceptions. With its golf-cartlike proportions, people often expect it to be as roomy as a straitjacket, suitable for city driving only and as safe as a soapbox racer. On the contrary, the Smart has enough room to comfortably seat tall adults, is highway legal and protects occupants surprisingly well in crashes.
The 2009 Smart Fortwo is a two-seat subcompact available as either a hatchback coupe or convertible (cabriolet). The Passion model includes the Pure features and options, plus a panoramic glass roof, a sport steering wheel with shift paddles, power heated side mirrors and a CD player. Passion options include partial leather upholstery and additional gauges.
The 2009 Smart Fortwo is powered by a rear-mounted 1.0-liter three-cylinder engine that squeezes out 71 horsepower and 68 pound-feet of torque. Oddly enough, it requires premium fuel. Power is sent to the rear wheels through a five-speed automated manual transmission that can be driven as a typical automatic or with manual shift control via a console-mounted stick or column-mounted paddles on the Passion models.
In testing, we accelerated the Smart Fortwo to 60 mph in an unhurried 14.1 seconds on the way to its 90-mph top speed. Though its fuel capacity is only 8.7 gallons, the range is acceptable, considering its EPA-estimated fuel economy of 33 mpg city/41 mpg highway and 36 mpg in combined driving.
Since the 2009 Smart Fortwo is built by Mercedes-Benz, ample occupant protection would be expected, and the Smart delivers. Standard safety equipment includes side airbags, antilock brakes (front discs and rear drums), stability control and traction control. Despite its tiny size, the Smart car has performed well in crash testing. In government crash tests, the Smart was awarded four out of five stars for frontal crash protection of the driver and three stars for passenger protection. In side impacts, the Smart was awarded a perfect five out of five stars. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the Smart its highest rating of "Good" for both frontal and side impact protection.
With its extraordinarily short wheelbase, one would expect the 2009 Smart Fortwo to feel like a shopping cart on the road. Surprisingly, the suspension manages to reduce everyday bumps and potholes to acceptable levels. On city streets, the Fortwo is much more enjoyable to drive, and it could even be described as sporty. We have yet to drive the sharper Brabus edition, but we would expect it to add even more enjoyment.
Though the Fortwo's cabin is on the snug side, it is still comfortable for two tall adults. Legroom is ample, with an extra 6 inches provided for the passenger seat, which also folds flat for added cargo space. The trunk offers 12 cubic feet of space when packed to the roof -- blocking the rearward view. With the trunk loaded to the waistline, storage drops to 7 cubes.
The interior is simple but attractive, with a number of monochromatic and two-tone options available. The Passion trim level's cloth upholstery is available in several vivid colors with whimsical patterns that breathe some life into the well-designed cabin.
If you'd like to take it for a spin, give us a call now at 720.204.2542
Exterior: The exterior of this unit is in excellent shape with no major flaws.
Interior: The interior is in excellent condition.
Mechanical: This vehicle is "Insight Certified" with no known mechanical defects after completing a 144 point mechanical inspection with required maintenance performed.
Tires: The tires are in excellent health with plenty of tread life remaining.