The smallest car sold in America, the Smart Fortwo appeals to drivers who want to take up as little space as possible. That might not sound like everyone's goal, but it certainly appeals to urbanites facing crowded streets and a stingy supply of parking spots.
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2016 smart fortwo Overview
What's New for 2016
The Fortwo receives its first full design since its introduction.
Choosing Your Smart Fortwo
The Fortwo retains its rear-engine, rear-drive layout and two-person interior. All-new styling makes the exterior friendlier and more approachable, not unlike the charming MINI Cooper. With no back seat competing for space, front passengers enjoy a surprising amount of room, and you can stuff in about 12 cubic feet of cargo, so routine shopping tasks are very doable.
Power comes from a new turbocharged three-cylinder engine that makes 89 horsepower, enough to allow the Fortwo to keep up -- finally -- with other cars in its (low) price class. A five-speed manual transmission comes standard, and you can opt for a six-speed automatic. You can expect about 36 mpg in combined city and highway driving, but keep in mind that the engine requires premium fuel.
The Fortwo is available in four trim levels:
Optional on all except the Pure are rear parking sensors and a front-collision warning system. An in-dash touchscreen will become available at mid-year.
Like the car itself, the price difference between trim levels is small. With that in mind, our pick is the Prime, which carries a rather extraordinary load of features for the money.
2016 smart fortwo Review
Smart cars aren’t for everyone but in the scheme of their niche consumer base, the new 2016 Smart Fortwo pits its redesigned small proportions for the specific purposes of inner-city and urbanized economical transportation.
Pricing and Equipment
The 2016 Smart Fortwo remains a two-seat city vehicle that comes in four trim levels as a coupe -- convertible and all-electric models will be introduced in 2016.
The Smart Fortwo’s price is just as small as its proportions at $14,650 for the base pure trim, $16,140 for the passion trim, $17,490 for the prime trim, and $18,480 for the proxy trim.
Our favorite, the top-trimmed Smart Fortwo proxy, completes the smallish package with several features that don't leave the modestly-sized vehicle out of the running with mainstream competitors:
- 16-inch alloy wheels
- Lowered sport suspension
- Eight-speaker JBL audio system
- Steering wheel mounted shift paddles on automatic transmission-equipped models
- Leather upholstery and a leather-wrapped steering wheel
- Automatic headlights
- Heated seats
- Height-adjustable driver's seat
The Smart Fortwo’s base pure trim lacks many fundamental features that may otherwise be included as standard on other vehicles, with the exception of its standard Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity with a USB input.
While the 2016 Smart Fortwo offers four trim levels, many optional features can be added on lower-trimmed models. Stand-alone options include a frontal collision warning system, rear parking sensors, and a conventional touchscreen infotainment system in place of the Cross Connect app smartphone connectivity paired with an optional phone cradle.
Due to the small size and low mass at 1,984 pounds, the 2016 Smart Fortwo’s only engine is a minuscule 1-liter inline three-cylinder engine that produces 89 horsepower and 100 pound-feet of torque. The exceptionally small size of the Smart Fortwo places it in a position to easily maneuver in tight spaces while returning EPA estimates of 33 mpg city and 39 mpg highway with the automated dual-clutch transmission.
- An optional "Twinamic" six-speed dual-clutch with a manual shifting mode is much improved over that previous automated transmission.
- New electronically assisted steering is quick for easy maneuvers.
- Phenomenally tight 22.8-foot turning radius.
- Unremarkable overall performance and slow acceleration.
- Requires premium fuel.
- Interior design and contrasting color selections conform to hip and modern expectations in a subcompact.
- Excellent road visibility.
- Spacious enough for two passengers just over six feet tall.
- Cargo capacity is extremely limited with only 9.2 cubic feet available in the trunk.
- The driver's gauge cluster is difficult to read during quick glances, which may be unnecessarily distracting to some drivers.
The Most Pleasant Surprise
The 2016 Smart Fortwo’s brilliant use of available seating space garners enough space for adults slightly over six feet tall. Moreover, the small turning radius combined with the extremely small size of the Smart Fortwo makes parking a cinch.
The Least Pleasant Surprise
The sluggish acceleration from the 2016 Smart Fortwo’s 89-horsepower engine is unsettling at times -- especially for a vehicle so small that you would otherwise assume is zippy enough to overtake flowing inner city traffic.
The Bottom Line
The purpose-built aspects of the 2016 Smart Fortwo place it nearly in a category of its own. Inner-city residents will take to the enjoyment of fitting down narrow passages and roadways to find parking spaces that may only be designated for bikes just as accommodating as a large shopping mall’s garage. The economic benefits of the Smart Fortwo also put it at the upper end of its small-proportioned food chain considering its low base pricing.