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2013 smart fortwo Overview
Despite being States-side since 2008, the urban subcompact smart fortwo receives just a touch-up for 2013, with a full redesign not scheduled until 2015. As smart dealerships now dot the nation, it is becoming apparent this little spitfire is here to stay, but all the neat stuff still goes to the Europeans first. We will get a luxed-up SharpRed limited edition, though, of which just 120 will be released unto the world. Otherwise, the American 2013 smart fortwo carries over with a few cosmetic differences for a more aggressive appeal.
The 2013 smart fortwo receives freshened front and rear ends with reshaped side skirts, the smart logo moved to the grille alongside slightly rearranged lights. Although nothing changed about the 70-hp 1-liter engine and its accompanying 5-speed automated manual, the EPA rated the 2013 at 34 mpg city/38 highway, as opposed to the previous year's 33/41 on the very same premium fuel. If the engine specs didn't give it away already, this rear-wheel-drive subcompact is no sleeper sport, having a zip-to-60 time of over 11 seconds and a reportedly rough transmission.
No nifty-colored soft top or alternative engine choices made their way over the pond, but the new SharpRed limited edition adds some leatherette spice to the dash for no extra charge, whereas the feature is an option for the Pure and Passion. The SharpRed also exclusively gains Napa leather upholstery all around. The Pure is still purely available as a coupe, with the Passion available in both coupe and cabriolet styles and now featuring a driver's-side armrest, but height-adjustable seats and an adjustable steering wheel are still glaring omissions from this strictly 2-seater.
Drivers of the virtually identical 2012 smart fortwo wouldn't exactly call it a pleasure to drive, but they do say it is a pleasure to own as a second vehicle and highly practical. Unlike others in its class, the smart fortwo is praised for making it easy to be green, with no "good" driving habits required to save gas, while never feeling underpowered. It's a bit rough on the highway, as the fortwo's profile causes some wind buffeting, even as a coupe, and the standard powerless "manual" steering takes some getting used to at low speeds, but the fold-flat passenger seat with a pass-through space are big hits alongside the tailgate, capable of holding 220 pounds.
Like most cars in this segment, the interior is surprisingly roomy and functional, but some of the innovations used to accomplish this are not very warmly received. The floor-pivot pedals tend to make the first few days of ownership somewhat awkward, and having a 200-mile range per fill-up could get annoying on longer trips—but that's when smart expects owners to park their fortwo, so no big surprise there. However, the transmission is touted as one of the worst in the industry—probably the worst—with unexpected surges in all gears that smart has so far been unsuccessful in addressing.
by Patricia Mayo
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