Shopping for a new Smart fortwo?
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QUALITY | 4 out of 10
offers a surprising amount of space for two people
Overall ambiance is budget, with lots of hard plastic
Maybe the storage space (eight cubic feet) of a supermarket grocery cart
Car and Driver
The 2008 Smart Fortwo offers the build quality one would expect from a Mercedes-Benz offshoot, as well as a surprising amount of passenger space. The lack of any significant cargo room, however, is a major drawback.
The Smart Fortwo can, as its name suggests, seat two inside its tall cabin. Edmunds reviewers write that although the interior is "certainly snug, the Smart Fortwo offers a surprising amount of space for two people." Other reviews read by TheCarConnection.com rave about the ample occupant space, and Cars.com reviewers find that "headroom and legroom are entirely adequate." ConsumerGuide, which is typically very conservative with their praise, says that the "seats are supportive, with good side bolstering," but the "narrow cabin means two adults ride almost shoulder-to-shoulder." They also point out that the "lack of a tilt steering column may compromise comfort for some drivers."
While the interior of the Smart Fortwo may be spacious for passengers, that certainly isn't the case when it comes to cargo. In this important category, especially for a car designed for urban driving, Cars.com finds that "cargo room in back measures just 7.8 cubic feet, less than a third the space the Cooper offers behind its front seats." ConsumerGuide also rates the 2008 Smart Fortwo well below the class average for cargo room, saying that it is "meager overall" and claiming that the "tiny glovebox offers barely enough space for an owner's manual." Kelley Blue Book reviewers feel that the "open space where you'd expect a center console" helps contribute to the "less confined interior," but the lack of a console for storing small items might prove annoying.
Build and materials quality on the 2008 Smart Fortwo is a bit of a mixed bag. While Cars.com writes that "build quality is respectable," and most reviews read by TheCarConnection.com agree--the materials left some reviewers wanting something a bit more upscale. Like the Cars.com reviewers, ConsumerGuide feels that the "cabin materials are solid and well-assembled," but they also say that the "overall ambiance is budget, with lots of hard plastic and very few padded surfaces." The 2008 Smart Fortwo also features "standard cloth upholstery," according to Edmunds, which certainly doesn't offer any upscale pretense.
Aside from some materials issues, the 2008 Smart Fortwo is plagued by excessive road noise. ConsumerGuide says that the ride is "never serene," and while "road noise is relatively well-muffled," the "wind rush is pronounced at highway speeds." They also add that the tiny engine produces quite a bit of noise, and "engine note is always audible and rises to a loud groan under acceleration."
Despite being hailed as an urban alternative, the 2008 Smart Fortwo offers little in the way of functional storage space.