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2012 Smart fortwo Comfort & Quality

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Despite last year's dashboard update, the 2012 Smart Fortwo feels basic and plasticky inside--more like a small pickup truck than an urban cruiser. The accommodations for two people are lavish, with ample headroom for even those occupants well over 6 feet tall and good legroom too. Drivers with broad shoulders may find themselves touching their passenger, however, due to the narrow cabin.

Both driver and passenger sit in upright position, on rather short seats, and the steering wheel is more horizontal than in other vehicles. That gives the Smart an odd bus-like driving position, though it's the world's shortest bus. Cargo space behind the seats is very small, holding perhaps only three upright shopping bags. And to be able to fold down the passenger seat for more cargo space, you'll have to specify a folding passenger seat as an option.

The 2012 Smart Fortwo offers a remarkable amount of space for two adults, but at speed, they won't enjoy the travel--the car's noise level, short wheelbase, and busy ride add up to the opposite of refinement.

At highway speeds, conversation is all but drowned out by road noise and engine howl, and the low-output sound system doesn't do much to overcome the roar. Add the Smart's busy, pitchy ride, its susceptibility to sidewinds, and you're looking at a car that embodies the opposite of refinement.

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