Wednesday, June 5, 2013

First Drive: 2013 Smart ForTwo Coupe

The Smart ForTwo has been around since 1998 and is currently on its second generation, which has been in production since 2007. The Smart ForTwo started being sold in the United States in 2006. The Smart ForTwo is the smallest car currently sold in the United States. It is 106.1 inches long, 61 inches wide, and 61 inches high. It has a wheel base of 73.5 inches. The ForTwo has a curb weight of 1,650 pounds, making it the lightest car sold in the United States. The Smart ForTwo is a two-door, rear-engine, rear-wheel drive city car. I have seen many Smart ForTwos on the Houston roads. During one Friday and April of 2013, I took one out for a test drive. I drove the Smart ForTwo Passion Coupe.

The Smart ForTwo has a very small appearance. The car has a unique appearance as there is nothing on the road that looks like the Smart car. I like cars that have sporty and/or aggressive styling and the Smart ForTwo styling is neither aggressive nor sporty. To be honest, I find this car to be ugly. I just do not like its styling. On the inside, I had good amount of head room. As far as leg room goes, I felt cramped. My left leg was constantly touching the door panel. The seat has decent comfort. But I have been in other city cars that had more comfortable seats like the Fiat 500C and Chevrolet Spark. The dashboard has one analog gauge, a speedometer, and digital gauges under the speedometer. There is a storage space behind the two seats. The storage space is located above the engine compartment. But do not worry, the storage space is well insulated and your items will not be heated by the engine. Other than that, there is not much special about the interior of the Smart For Two.

The Smart ForTwo is powered by a 1.0L I3 engine, paired with a five-speed automatic transmission with manual shifting mode, that produces 70 hp and 68 lb-ft of torque. It goes from 0 to 60 mph in 15.5 seconds and reaches a top speed of 90 mph. The Smart ForTwo features the smallest engine currently sold in the United States. The Smart ForTwo is the slowest accelerating car as well as the least powerful car sold in the United States. One thing I noticed was a delay with the transmission when it is shifting. I have never noticed this in any other car. I felt unsafe in the car. I was driving on the highway and the wind easily knocked the car around. Never have I driven a car that could be easily pushed around by the wind. The Smart ForTwo Coupe I drove featured thin wheels, which added to the instability of the ride. Despite being pushed around by the wind, the Smart ForTwo has a quiet ride to it. Since the car has a short wheelbase, it has a rough ride. Prices for the Smart ForTwo Pure Coupe starts at $13,240. Prices for the Smart ForTwo Passion Coupe starts at $15,640. The Smart ForTwo is one of the cheapest cars you can buy in the United States and it felt cheap.

Overall, the Smart ForTwo is a bad car. It is too small, underpowered, and too slow for everyday driving. There is also a delay with the transmission when it is changing gears. It is not fun to drive and provides a horrible driving experience. This car is suitable for short distances only. If you have to rely on highway driving, look elsewhere. I can easily recommend the Fiat 500, Chevrolet Spark, and Mini Cooper Hardtop over the Smart ForTwo. The Smart ForTwo is very bad, but it serves a purpose. Automotive companies have to meet a certain fuel economy rating across all brands and models. Mercedes-Benz owns Smart. Since Smart ForTwo has a fuel economy rating at 34 mpg city/38 mpg highway, it allows Mercedes-Benz and AMG to make performance cars like the C 63 AMG Black and the SLS AMG.

Photo was taken by a camera phone.
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