2014 smart fortwo Review

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2014 smart fortwo Overview

Ideal for those who reside in the big city and have little faith in public transportation, the 2014 smart fortwo mini car fits just about any small opening, returns proven agility in downtown traffic and won’t break the budget. Just the fact that the folks at smart (actually Daimler AG—the same people that make the Mercedes-Benz line) use all small letters in their various smartcar trim designations is a hint that this is one seriously downsized vehicle.

Again available in three trim variations, hatchback coupe, cabriolet (convertible) and hatchback electric, along with 5 trim levels, the base pure coupe, the passion coupe, the passion cabriolet, the electric-drive coupe and the flagship electric-drive cabriolet, this pint-size couple-configured conveyance seats 2 passengers in surprisingly roomy comfort. Alas, it also returns carrying a mere 7.8 cubic feet of cargo space and trickles down, at best, 74 hp (in electric-drive trims). Face it, this go-cart on steroids, at a super-blunt 8 feet, 10 inches long, is not designed for the 18-wheeler-overload of the typical highway or the luggage-lugging airport schlep. It is, however, ideal for cramped city sidestreets and those not-quite-big-enough parking spots that would bring the ordinary compact-car owner to tears.

Powering the base pure coupe, passion coupe and passion cabriolet is a somewhat anemic 1.0-liter inline 3-cylinder gasoline engine. Mated with the still-clunky 5-speed auto-manual transmission, this tri-banger puts out 70 hp and 68 lb-ft of torque for a long-time-coming top speed of 75 mph. Gas mileage, meantime, is a not-too-shabby 34 mpg city/38 highway, but don’t look to pass much on the highway, since the car's 0-62 time is established at an ambling 11.5 seconds.

The smart electric-drive coupe and cabriolet, after debuting for the 2013 model year, each sport a water-cooled permanent 3-phase electric motor that uses a 17.6 kilowatt/hr lithium-ion battery to reach max power numbers of 55 kilowatts/74 hp, with a continuous output of 35 kilowatts/47 hp. Torque, meantime, is rated at 96 lb-ft (metric: 130 Nm), meaning this overwrought golf cart is, like its gasoline-burning siblings, at its best in under-30-mph city traffic. With reviewers touting those electric-drive trims as the real smart fortwo, look for about 68 miles of range in normal driving conditions. Of course, the battery can be recharged via an ordinary household socket, or owners can cut rejuicing time in half with an available Bosch Keba home charging station.

Anyhow, appearance amenities and creature comforts are Spartan in the entry-level 2014 smart fortwo pure coupe, with 15-inch steel wheels complemented by cloth upholstery, remote power door locks, climate control and floor mats. A standard fold-flat passenger seat, however, does marginally bolster the otherwise meager cargo area.

Moving up to the passion coupe, look for 15-inch alloy wheels, a fixed glass sunroof, heated power-adjustable mirrors and power windows, while steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters and an AM/FM stereo radio with 2 speakers and a USB port allow sportier shifts and some leisurely toe-tapping during the ride.

Cabriolet trims, meantime, boast a power-retractable cloth roof sliding unobtrusively on rails mounted just over the doors.

Options for all 2014 smart fortwo trim levels include cruise control, heated seats and electric power steering. For the passion trim level, a Technology Package flaunting navigation and 7 Surround Sound speakers is available, with the optional Comfort Package featuring leather upholstery, heated seats and a retractable cargo cover also on tap again for this year. The available Style Package, finally, featuring upgraded interior and exterior trim pieces, is complemented by the upscale Brabus Sport Package with a Brabus sport-tuned suspension, pedals and spiffy Monoblock VII wheels.

Standard safety stuff lineup-wide includes 4-wheel antilock brakes (ABS), traction and stability control, side-mounted and head airbags, and a post-collision safety system. Optional safety equipment, meantime, remains front fog/driving lights, LED daytime running lights and a remote antitheft alarm.

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Have Laptop. Will Travel. I'm retired and travelling the country in a 34' motor home. I'm really digging meeting people . . and sometimes their cars . . . getting a sense of what makes this nation tick. The plan is to visit all the national parks in the continental US, then cruise to Alaska to visit Denali, and to Hawaii to check out Haleakala and the Hawaii Volcano's national parks. Anyhow, when I'm not horsing the motor home around the roadways, I'm tooting around in the 2012 Ford Focus that we tow behind, or making runs to Home Depot and various malls with the 2004 F-150 that just won't die.

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