One of my blogging friends Positive Letters, requested is post on the Smart Fortwo. The Smart Fortwo is a cute, small, and economical car. The Smart is produced by Smart Gmbh, which is a brand owned by Daimler AG(Mercedes Benz). The Smart Fortwo is a rear-engined two-seater car which was introduced at the 1998 Paris Motor Show.
In September 2006, Daimler AG announced that Smart USA, a division of Penske Auto Group, would be the official distributor for Smart in the United States and Puerto Rico. The redesigned Smart Fortwo has been available since January 2008 in the USA. See Car and Driver article for more information.
The Smart Fortwo has a short wheelbase of 73.5 inches, which is four and one half feet shorter than the original Volkswagon Beetle. In combination with its 15 inch wheels results in a jarring ride. The Smart seats two people and weights 1815 pounds, and has approximately eight cubic feet of storage space.
Since the Smart is so light, safety is apparently a concern with most people. The car's core architecture is a body cage made of steel that Smart calls a "Tridion Safey Cell". The engine , battery and fuel tank are housed in impact protected zones that keep them from entering the cabin in a crash.
In May of 2008, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety released crash test results for the Fortwo. The IIHS gave the Fortwo top ratings in protecting passengers in front and side crashes. However, the NHTSA cited a Safety Concern on their tests of a 2008 Fortwo, stating "during the side impact test, the driver door unlatched and opened. A door opening during a side impact crash increases the likelihood of occupant ejection." See the crash test video!
Numerous changes were made from the original model. Its Mercedes Benz power plant was replaced by a non-turbo Mitsubishi engine, with 70 hp, the interior made more luxurious, and the overall dimensions of the car increased. If your into speed this car is not for you with a 0-60 time of 14.4 seconds and a top speed of 90 MPH.
The 2009 model year US version of the Smart Fortwo is available in 3 trims: Pure (base trim), Passion, and Passion cabriolet. Pure has an MSRP of US $11,990, Passion has an MSRP of $13,990, and the Passion Cabriolet has an MSRP $16,990. A reservation program was launched by Smart USA in March, 2007. This program allowed interested parties to place a $99 refundable deposit on the new Fortwo in preparation for the product's launch. Since the product's launch, sales have surpassed production and the reservation program continues as a "wait list" program. The average wait is 12 to 18 months for delivery.
The Smart Fortwo was rated as the most fuel efficient two-seater car in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) 2008 Fuel Economy Guide, with fuel efficiency ratings of 33 mpg city and 41 mpg highway. The 2008 Smart Fortwo coupe was given an EPA fuel efficiency rating of 36 mpg.
My view on the Smart Fortwo Passion Coupe is that it is a good looking car. Definitely for someone that is looking for good gas economy or looking for a "green" vehicle. What I did not like about the car is the slow acceleration and the harsh ride.
Shown below is the original model which was produced from 1998-2007, and initially named the Smart City Coupe.