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Smart ForTwo Electric Drive: 2018 Motor Trend Car of the Year Contender

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 11/17/2017 Motor Trend Staff
2017-Smart-ForTwo-ED-Prime-front-in-motion.jpg

We Like: The fun handling and the small size for the city

We Don't Like: The very short driving range and lack of comfort and value

Smart is the name, and small is the game. Too small for most Americans, though. The ForTwo's size makes sense in old, extremely dense European cities, but it doesn't for wide-open North America. When you factor in the 58 miles of range, the math just doesn't add up.

The small size is great for maneuvering in and around tight spaces (we love the tiny turning radius) and for the fun handling it provides. The light weight coupled with the instant torque of the electric motor only compliments the fun-to-drive factor. Some might like the quirky design elements, and the braking feel is great for an EV, but that's where it ends for the ForTwo.

a car parked on the side of a road© Motor Trend Staff

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The Smart's rough ride and questionable highway driving characteristics can be partly attributed to the short wheelbase and narrow tires. "The car gets very upset on rough surfaces," Jonny Lieberman said. "Imperfections that are minor bumps to other cars feel very threatening when encountered in the Smart." Ed Loh agreed: "The ride is pretty terrible."

The biggest drawback is the lack of value. With room for only two people, very little cargo, one of the shortest driving ranges in the industry, and a price similar to larger, longer-range EVs, the Smart ForTwo ED is a hard sell. "Value is simply not there," Loh said. "It's priced high at $24,550-$29,230, especially relative to the Nissan Leaf." Angus MacKenzie concluded: "There's simply no reason to own one in the U.S. And so there's no reason why it should be Car of the Year."

2017 Smart ForTwo ED Prime front three quarter in motion 00© Motor Trend Staff 2017 Smart ForTwo ED Prime front three quarter in motion 00
2017 Smart ForTwo ED (Passion)2017 Smart ForTwo ED (Prime)
BASE PRICE $24,550$24,550
PRICE AS TESTED $26,490$29,230
VEHICLE LAYOUT Rear-engine, RWD, 2-pass, 2-door coupeRear-engine, RWD, 2-pass, 2-door coupe
ENGINE 0.0L/80-hp/118-lb-ft0.0L/80-hp/118-lb-ft
TRANSMISSION 1-speed automatic1-speed automatic
CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST) 2,358 lb (48/52%)2,393 lb (48/52%)
WHEELBASE 73.7 in73.7 in
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 106.1 x 65.5 x 61.2 in106.1 x 65.5 x 61.2 in
0-60 MPH 9.0 sec10.3 sec
QUARTER MILE 17.0 sec @ 77.9 mph17.8 sec @ 74.8 mph
BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 131 ft129 ft
LATERAL ACCELERATION 0.71 g (avg)0.71 g (avg)
MT FIGURE EIGHT 30.1 sec @ 0.53 g (avg)30.2 sec @ 0.52 g (avg)

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