I’ll be the first to admit that when I fist saw a Smart car I thought, “Come on, just get a real car.” As their short frames became ubiquitous through more car sharing platforms and parking spots, opportunities to squeeze into one became ample. After a day-long test drive of the Fortwo in Miami, I can almost understand why Smart owners are as evangelical as those who vape, own a Thermomix or have recently discovered CrossFit.
The latest Smart Fortwo is the most fully realized execution of the city car idea in the market right now. My interest around this car is so much more than just urban convenience. Daimler has been pushing this pint sized project with its Car2go car sharing service, which you can find in large cities around the world. Pair that with the thoughtful steps forward that Daimler is making in autonomous driving technologies, and it’s easy to imagine a future filled with Fortwo’s making shared autonomous transportation services a reality. The Fortwo could eliminate the hassle of owning a car and driving it in one fell swoop.
Electric Drive has come a long way from cars that had delayed response times, poor shifting experiences and extremely longer than desired charge times. The 2017 Smart Electric is peppy and responsive even at high speeds on the highway. This year’s Smart is also much better looking than previous generations which makes the idea of buying one an easier thought to realize.
This years model is 10% more power than its predecessor, 5kw total, the engine itself has 60kw peak power, and the torque was lifted by more that 20% from 130 to 160Nm. The complete package is 132kg. See a gap in traffic? This 30MN difference combined with the light frame, new turbo engine and responsive dual clutch automatic transmission makes assertive driving no problem. Incremental experiences are more noticeable because of its light (but I’m assured very durable) chassis.
The ED goes zero-to-60 kilometers per hour, or 37 mph, in 4.9 seconds and has 81-horsepower which provides 118 pound-feet of torque. But when its placed over the traction axle in a small and light rear-wheel drive car like this you do get pressed back into the seat.
Experiencing this on the highway was what really changed my mind about viability of the Smart as a real short distance commuter car. Life in a big city often means that bending traffic rules is the only way to make any progress, you need your car to be able to quickly fit into those often elusive gaps. Add in the laughably small turning radius of 6.95m and you can see why if you’re looking for a car for city driving, a Smart is an easy decision.
Another concern that I had was always the driving radius. 160km is comfortable, but life being what it is ,returning home isn’t always an option. The quick charge options would be mandatory in my books: you can get 80% in just 45 minutes. This feature really suits those with a fast paced lifestyle.
The issue that I have as a single gal is that I can only own one car. When faced with the choice I’m going to go with something that will double duty on road trips. Having said that, if I had a man a larger ‘get out of town’ car and an around town car would be my ideal situation. Or maybe I wouldn’t feel so guilty owning two cars if the Smart was available as an accessory for 10K when I picked up an E-Class. At $18,900 it’s very competitive in the Electric Vehicle space, but another half off would be an easy sale. Or better yet bring back those $99 leases!
Have a comment, leave it below, but before you do that, here are a few shots from my drive around Miami with the 2017 Smart Fortwo.
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