Ultra-compact city cars might not be the hottest commodity nowadays, but there are still plenty of environments where a vehicle with the smallest possible footprint will fit in. And if you want tiny, vehicles don't get much smaller than the 2017 Smart Fortwo.

Pricing and Equipment

As standard, the tiny 2017 Smart Fortwo Pure (the base trim) starts at $15,400 ($750 destination charge included). The standard features on this model include:

  • 15-inch steel wheels
  • LED daytime running lights
  • Cruise control
  • Automatic climate control
  • Cloth upholstery
  • Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity
  • Two-speaker audio system with a CD player and USB port
  • Power windows

All Fortwo models use a 900-cc, turbocharged three-cylinder engine with 89 horsepower and 100 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed manual is standard, although a six-speed dual-clutch automatic is an option. Thankfully, the last-gen Smart's automated manual is dead and gone.

In addition to the Pure, Smart offers three additional trims – Passion, Prime, and Proxy, which tops out at $18,480 – that up the equipment standards considerably. Smart also offers a convertible version of the Fortwo. This is the last year of production for the gas-powered Smart line, as the company announced it will sell only Electric Drive-equipped models in 2018.

Performance Pros

smart fortwo
  • Tiny footprint makes it a breeze to park
  • Much-improved acceleration and on-highway confidence
  • 22.8-foot turning radius lets you pull a U-turn just about anywhere
  • Handles better than we expected

Performance Cons

  • Still relatively slow at 10.1 to 10.5 seconds to 60 miles per hour
  • Standard five-speed manual transmission feels a little sloppy
  • Up to 35 miles per gallon combined isn’t impressive for such a small car

Interior Pros

  • Plenty of room for two people
  • Modern features and styling at a low price
  • Good build quality
  • Unique EcoDrive and Fuel Economy functions that promote green driving

Interior Cons

smart fortwo
  • New Cross Connect app is slow to respond
  • Lack of many safety features and limited safety ratings can be unnerving
  • Very limited cargo room at just 9.2 cubic feet

The Most Pleasant Surprise

As a small car, we expected a rough ride in the Fortwo, but it’s surprisingly smooth and quiet on most surfaces. What’s more, its handling, while not incredible, is very good for a city car.

The Least Pleasant Surprise

Small cars already invoke fear in some safety-conscious buyers, but modern safety features and good crash-test ratings often alleviate these concerns. However, the Smart Fortwo has only limited IIHS safety ratings (“good” ratings in the moderate overlap and side tests) and no advanced safety features.

The Bottom Line

The Smart Fortwo is great for zipping through the city and fitting in tight parking spaces with ease. Plus, its improved ride, powertrain, and handling make it significantly better than the previous generation. However, its lack of rear seats, limited cargo room, price, and average-for-its-class fuel economy will push many buyers toward more traditional four-seat subcompacts.