The Smart Fortwo: Tiny & Affordable

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One of the smallest cars ever made, the Smart Fortwo, is now available for sale in the US. First introduced by parent Smart FortwoDaimler AG Company (Mercedes) in 1998, the car quickly became popular in Barcelona, Paris, London and other European cities where narrow roads and parking problems dominate.

In October 2004 the first Smart cars went on sale in Canada, signaling that Daimler would eventually market the car in the US. Later, the Penske Automotive Group was awarded exclusive US distributorship of the Smart and the car will soon be made available at 70 showrooms across the country.

Smart Fortwo: Sized and Priced Right

Why should you consider this car for your college student? For two reasons: price and size. Although many parents would prefer to put some extra space between their adult offspring and a car’s front bumper, the Fortwo’s many standard safety features helps buyers to sit up and take notice. In addition, with a starting MSRP of $11,590, the Fortwo is one of the lowest priced new cars available today.

Light and Fuel Efficient

Just how small is the Fortwo? From bumper to bumper, the Fortwo measures nearly nine feet long, but from front wheels to back wheels, the car is six feet in length. 700 lbs. lighter than a MINI Cooper, the Fortwo weighs in at 1808 lbs — a true lightweight amongst subcompacts.

The Fortwo is powered by a 1.0L 3-cylinder engine with EPA fuel economy of 33 city and 41 highway. Only the Toyota Prius (which is a hybrid) and the Honda Civic Hybrid achieve better fuel economy — not bad for a gasoline-powered car.

Safety Is Standard

Of course, concern that this car could be destroyed and the occupants killed if t-boned by a Hummer is a big issue for some shoppers. Daimler has allayed some of those fears by incorporating safety features not available in cars costing twice as much including: traction control, ABS, stability control and side airbags.

A smaller frontal crumple zone on the Fortwo is virtually a nonfactor because the car’s rigid steel cage protects occupants even in the worst of crashes. Indeed, one of the best examples of just how well a Smart Fortwo would survive a head on crash is made evident in the following video, which has received thousands of hits on YouTube:

For additional technical information about the Smart, please visit the Smart Technical Specifications page.

Bare Essentials

The base Smart has all of the safety features, but none of the creature comforts many consumers want including an audio system, air-conditioning, alarm system, sunroof, special paint, and more. Those items — offered as options — can add as much as $5000 to the price tag and would probably impact fuel mileage. Clearly, the Smart Fortwo is basic transportation for the economy-minded driver, but desired options can still deliver a car with some important amenities.

Besides its price and size, the Smart is a can’t miss car creating a lot of buzz. The car comes with a two-year, 24,000 mile warranty with Mercedes Financial Services financing available or you can arrange for private automotive financing yourself.

Photo Courtesy/Copyright SmartUSA.

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Categories: Campus Cars
Tags: Smart Fortwo