2008 Smart Fortwo Passion Coupe – Road Test – Car Reviews – Car and Driver

29 Jan 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on 2008 Smart Fortwo Passion Coupe – Road Test – Car Reviews – Car and Driver

2008 Smart Fortwo Passion Coupe

A Pretty Good Errand Boy: Or a nice car to play fetch with.

You’ll recall Monet telling Manet that for a painting to be successful it must have a “long life.” That means owners must be able to stomach looking at the purchased object day in and day out for a very long time.

The look of this tiny car, the Smart ForВ­two Passion, is just one of the tests it faces as it seeks to gain a foothold in a country not noted for nurturing cute little urban cars made in Europe. It’s 106.1 inches long, and the width and the height round to 61 inches in both directions, so the Fortwo is more than four and a half feet shorter than one of the few little cars that were successful in this country, the Volkswagen Beetle. half a century ago. The Smart seats two, weighs 1815 pounds, and has maybe the storage space (eight cubic feet) of a supermarket grocery cart.

It is the smallest car curious Americans will likely ever get into, and the seeming vulnerability of its golf-cart dimensions, riding on little 15-inch donuts, may frighten off a lot of buyers. But it’s very easy to get into and out of; it’s not at all cramped insidein fact, it has about the same legroom, and close to the headroom, of a Cadillac Escalade. The seats are exceptionally comfortable, the materials inside are first-rate, and the view out the windshield is panoramic.

And the Fortwo comes with an odd feeling when one notices that each of the doors runs almost the entire length of the car.

Its short wheelbase (73.5 inches) results in a nerve-jangling ride on neighborhood streets that are raggedy, a place where, oddly, it is supposed to shine as the perfect errand boy. And there’s no overcoming the minuscule cargo space, although if you cram stuff up to the headliner, the room swells to 12 cubic feet, and the passenger seatback folds down flat. Our test vehicle got a disappointing 32 mpg overall, not the 50 or 60 mpg it looks like it should deliver, and the tiny engine requires pricey 91-octane fuel.

Still, the Fortwo has real charm and can be fun to drive if you like to drive. If you don’t and are simply looking for some relief from three-dollar gas prices, think Chevy Aveo. Honda Fit. and Toyota Yaris.

They’re as potato-faced as Jimmy Kimmel, but they do have back seats and trunk space, and the prices are in the same ballpark.

The base Smart is the Fortwo Pure. It starts at $12,235, and that’s without an air conditioner or radio. A step up is the better-equipped Passion model seen here, at $14,235. The Passion convertible. whose ride feels identical to the hatchback’s, opens at $17,235.

The rear wheels of all are powered by a 61-cubic-inch, three-cylinder engine making 70 horsepower and a very thin 68 pound-feet of torque at 4500 rpm. The 12-valve engine hangs out back and monkeys around to 60 mph in 14.4 seconds. The heavier convertible’s time is 13.6 seconds, and no, we don’t know why, but at that clip, who’s counting?

Top speed is 91 in the hatchback, 92 in the cabriolet. Our three-door tester cruised through the quarter-mile in 19.9 seconds at 68 mph. The excellent-feeling brakes provided another quirky result: The hatch stopped from 70 mph in 167 feet, the ragtop nine feet later. Grip on the skidpad measured 0.71 g, which amused our test driver, who wrote, “The super-conservative stability control cuts throttle on the skidpad, so you just floor it and steer.”

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