Make us your home page
Instagram

The Daily Drivers: Smart Fortwo

Peter drove the Smart Fortwo when it was first introduced in the U.S. market in 2009. At the time, he was impressed with the tiny car's interior roominess, dismayed by its rough-shifting transmission and wary of its potential price.

Fast-forward almost a decade, and the car — now in its second-generation here — hasn't changed much. You still get quirky styling — both interior and exterior — surprising headroom, a rough idle and parking-space supremacy. The transmission, thankfully, has been improved. What commuters don't get is a vehicle that's comfortable on longer drives, gets fuel mileage (36 mpg on premium gas), or inspires a lot of driver confidence.

To that final point, Lyra was a bit wary of taking it on the interstate, but the two-seater surprised her with its adequate pickup for a turbo 3-cylinder and stable ride — except around large trucks. The Fortwo has no problem maintaining highway speeds but it does get skittish as speeds increase.

The Fortwo comes in two models — a coupe and a cabrio— with lots of options to personalize the car. In the cabrio, the top is really more a power-retractable canvas sunroof. There are three cabrio trim lines with prices ranging from $18,600 to $20,400. There is also an electric Fortwo.

Lyra and Peter say: We love the concept of the Fortwo more than the reality. In its price range, you can get subcompacts that offer more of everything — room, MPG, performance, features, safety. Still, if the Fortwo matches your need for something offbeat and the ability to wedge into tight city parking spaces, is a priority, then it's worth a look.

2017 Smart Fortwo Cabrio

Price: $18,900 base start, $22,170 as tested

Powertrain: .9-liter turbocharged inline 3-cylinder, 6-speed dual-cluth automatic transmission, RWD

Horsepower: 89

Torque: 100 pound-foot

Curb weight: 2,094 pounds

Dimensions

in inches:

Wheelbase, 73.7

Length, 106.1

Width, 65.5

Height, 61.22

Seats: 2

Fuel economy:

33 miles per gallon city, 38 mpg highway

Fuel type: Premium unleaded (required)

Safety features: 6 airbags, ABS, crosswind assist electronic stability program, hill-start assist, tridion safety cell.

Website: smartusa.com/models/passion-cabrio

The Daily Drivers: Smart Fortwo 07/11/17 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 11, 2017 5:37pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Related Group breaks ground on complex at old Tampa Tribune site

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — When Miami developer Jorge Perez first eyed a 4.2-acre tract on the west bank of the Hillsborough River two years ago, people asked him if he wouldn't prefer to build on the opposite side closer to the downtown core.

    No way.

    From left, Related Group executive associate Arturo Penaa, Jorge Perez, center, founder and CEO of the Related Group, Mayor Bob Buckhorn and Steve Patterson, the President of Related Development dig their shovels  during the groundbreaking ceremony of the 400 unit Riverwalk Manor apartment complex on site of the old Tampa Tribune building on Wednesday. [OCTAVIO JONES | Times]
  2. Eat 3-course meals for $35 at these 100 restaurants for Orlando's Magical Dining Month

    Food & Dining

    In the early 1900s, hotels offered "table d'hote" or "prix fixe" menus as a form of loss leader. Hotels didn't necessarily make money on these lower-priced, multi-course meals, often served at communal tables, but they made up for it on the booze. Prohibition may have contributed to a gradual shift toward a la carte …

    Bulla Gastrobar serves a variety of Spanish and Portuguese dishes.
  3. Plant City farmer hopes robot pickers can save strawberry industry from shrinking labor force

    Agriculture

    PLANT CITY — If current trends continue, the region's status as a major strawberry producer will depend in large part on what happens in Mexico.

    Strawberry pickers work during the daytime, when fruit is more likely to bruise. Machine pickers can work at night. The owner of Wish Farms in Plant City is developing automated pickers and hopes to see them at work on a widespread basis in five years. [Times file]
  4. Lightning GM Steve Yzerman sells house for $3 million to new player

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — Tampa Bay Lightning General Manager Steve Yzerman's multi-million Davis Islands home is staying in the Lightning family. Yzerman sold his 6,265-square-foot house Monday to new defenseman Dan Girardi for $3 million.

    The Davis Islands home of Tampa Bay Lightning General Manager Steve Yzerman sold for $3 million Monday to Lightning defenseman Dan Girardi. | [Courtesy of Hi Res Media]
  5. Trigaux: As Florida seeks top 10 status as best business state, red flag rises on workforce

    Business

    In the eternal quest to appeal more to business than other states, Florida's managed to haul itself out of some pretty mediocre years. After scoring an impressive 8 among 50 states way back in 2007, Florida suffered horribly during and immediately after the recession. Its rank sank as low as No. 30 only four years ago, …

    Florida's trying to make strides in preparing its high school and college graduates for the rapidly changing skill sets of today's workforce. But the latest CNBC ranking of the best and worst states for business gave Florida poor marks for education, ranking No. 40 (tied with South Carolina for education) among the 50 states. Still, Florida ranked No. 12 overall in the best business states annual ranking. [Alan Berner/Seattle Times]