It was a cute novelty.
But let’s just say I was less than heartbroken when my week behind the wheel of the 2018 Smart fortwo Electric Drive Coupe was over.
You’ve probably seen a few on the road. Smart is the diminutive electric vehicle that makes even a VW Beetle look like a beast. Smart fortwo, unsurprisingly, fits two people. And the rear hatch opens to reveal enough space to cram three grocery bags.
My wife and daughter wouldn’t even let me take them for a drive. But, my father-in-law and sister-in-law were brave, and left the vehicle impressed with several key attributes.
First off, passengers sit surprisingly high, providing a decent view of the road. The seats were comfortable, and the interior was not claustrophobic. But best of all, the Smart fortwo has spunk. For those of you old enough to remember, that’s what Lou Grant admired about Mary on the Mary Tyler Moore Show.
Smart is powered by a 17.6 kWh lithium-ion battery and 60 kW three-phase electric motor paired with a single-speed automatic transmission to generate 80 horsepower. But the rear-wheel driver’s secret weapon is 118 lb.-ft. of torque, which causes the Smart to race from standing starts with jaw-dropping quickness and the quietness of a mouse.
My week’s test drive was during our heat wave, which meant I always had the air conditioner cranked – along with the radio and fan. All of that decreases range, which effectively dropped to about 60 miles. It took about 13-hours to trickle-charge on my garage 110v outlet to maximum range.
The Smart fortwo coupe is engineered with Mercedes-Benz, and is held to those safety standards. The laws of physics may not be on your side in the event of a collision, but a patented safety cell made of high-strength steel, with an energy-absorbing crumple zone, will at least minimize impact.
It also comes with an anti-lock brakes system, electronic stability program, eight airbags, front and rear fog lamps, alarm system, rear camera inset into the rearview mirror, and a 24-hour roadside assistance program.
Creature comforts are far from lacking, with cruise control, central locking, smart audio and Bluetooth; all standard.
My tester came with four options that featured a passion package ($1,490), climate package ($200), lighting package ($400) and Smart media system with JBL sound package ($1,780). Passion added 15-inch silver alloy wheels, and heated and power side mirrors. Climate added a heated steering wheel and climate control. Lighting added fiber-optic LED daytime running lights and LED tail lamps. Smart Media System includes navigation, JBL eight-speaker sound system and live traffic provided by Tom Tom.
Rounding out the optional equipment were a panorama roof ($350), rear park assist ($250), and heated front seats ($1,490). Parking assist is not needed. If you can’t park the Smart, you’re in big trouble.
All across the county charging stations are popping up, which means less worry about long trips. And with apps like Plugshare and Chargepoint, it’s easier than ever to find them.
All that said, I’m waiting a few more years for the technology to develop before pulling the trigger on an all-electric ride.
Base Price: $24,650
Price As Driven: $29,810
Base price includes destination charge. Vehicles are provided by the manufacturer. Prices may vary at local dealerships.