Now in its third generation, the smart fortwo carries on with a tall and narrow overall shape. It stands out thanks to a softer-looking front end that falls in line with the company's newest design language.
The fortwo stretches 106.1 inches long, which makes it approximately 50 inches shorter than a four-door MINI Cooper, but its cabin is surprisingly roomy. Though decidedly spartan in base models, the fortwo's interior features quality materials, a well laid-out dashboard and intuitive controls.
The fortwo can't be ordered with a conventional touch screen-based infotainment system, but the free Cross Connect smartphone application provides features such as navigation, trip history, fuel consumption, online radio and even city guidebooks. It also saves the car's exact parking location.
As one would expect, the fortwo excels in the city, where it can zip through traffic and fit in the smallest of parking spaces. Maneuvering it is a breeze, too, thanks in part to a curb-to-curb turning radius of 22.8 feet. However, it's much less at home on the highway, where its tall greenhouse and its short wheelbase make it a bit darty and susceptible to crosswinds.
Power comes from a rear-mounted electric motor that delivers 80 horsepower and 118 pound-feet of torque. It takes 11.4 seconds to hit 60 mph from a standstill, and it maxes out at 81 mph.
Electricity comes from a 17.6-kWh lithium-ion battery pack that provides between 96 and 99 miles of range. An 80-percent charge takes a whopping 22 hours when the fortwo is plugged into a standard, 110-volt outlet, or 2.5 hours when it's plugged into a 240-volt wallbox.
An Eco mode that limits the top speed, adjusts the curve of the throttle pedal, and engages the top level of energy recuperation maximizes range. And, for the sake of convenience, a purpose-designed smartphone application lets owners remotely charge the car, turn the climate control on or off, and check how much juice is left in the battery pack.
Trim Level Breakdown
The lineup is broken down into three trim levels called pure, passion, and prime.
The pure model comes standard with 15-inch steel wheels with hubcaps, a black safety cell, a dash-mounted clock, cloth upholstery, a height-adjustable driver's seat, an alarm system, LED daytime running lights, a multi-function steering wheel, LED headlights, and Bluetooth connectivity.
The passion model gets heated and power-adjustable mirrors, a retractable cargo cover, a choice of seven different colors for the safety cell and four different grille styles, two-tone cloth upholstery, 15-inch alloy wheels, a storage compartment in the center console, and another compartment integrated into the tailgate.
Finally, the prime model offers fog lights with a cornering function, heated seats, black leather upholstery, a panoramic sunroof, rain and light sensors, LED tail lights, trim-specific alloys, and ambient lighting.
Many of the features included in the prime trim can be ordered individually on the passion model. Other standalone options include a smartphone cradle, all-weather floor mats, and an upgraded sound system manufactured by JLB.
With full-size SUVs, enormous pickups and gargantuan 18-wheelers roaming the roads, smart knew that it had take special care in ensuring that the fortwo would protect its occupants in event of a collision. The car was designed from the outset with safety in mind and features a reinforced high-strength steel tridion safety cell, eight airbags, a tire pressure monitoring system, traction and stability control systems as well as ABS with electronic brake force distribution. The fortwo also come with crosswind assist, a feature usually found on much bigger models like the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van.
The smart fortwo is the smallest electric car on the market. The Fiat 500e is almost as compact, but it's only available in a handful of states.