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Although it's relatively new to American buyers, the smart has been around since the 1980s—at least as a concept. The tiny city car conceived by Swatch's CEO once had backing from Volkswagen, but only came to the European market in the late 1990s under the guidance of Mercedes-Benz.
A decade later—in 2008—smart released its first U.S. models: the smart fortwo convertible and smart fortwo coupe. These compact and thrifty cars have continued with niche success through the 2013 model year.
The 2013 smart fortwo’s base model is the pure and it comes standard with: manual side-view mirrors; 15-inch steel wheels with hubcaps; preparations for a two-speaker audio system; a tire pressure monitoring system; projector beam headlights; intermittent wipers; front disc brakes; traction control; electronic stability control; anti-lock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution; a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter knob; a coin holder; front cup holders; outdoor thermometer; a flat-folding passenger seat; manual windows; a clock; and a passenger-side vanity mirror.
The Passion is the top trim for the smart fortwo coupe, and standard equipment includes: a panoramic roof with a sun screen; 15-inch, 12-spoke alloy wheels; electronic stability control; anti-lock braking; traction control; side, window-curtain and knee bolster airbags; keyless entry; power windows and door locks; power and heated side-view mirrors; automatic wipers and headlights; smart radio with auxiliary inputs and USB port; a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter knob; automatic climate control; black, red and beige no-cost interior colors; and a driver’s side armrest.
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Seats three, far more powerful, faster and well equipped, but more expensive and third seat is nearly useless
Stylish exterior, over 100 horsepower, quicker and better base highway mpg, but more expensive
Stylish look, good highway mpg and zippy acceleration, but lacks city mpg and more expensive
120-horsepower base engine and good highway mpg, but lacks city mpg and high price