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SAFETY | 8 out of 10
Four stars, front driver impact; three stars, front passenger impact; five stars, side impact
Good," frontal offset impact; "good," side impact
High-strength steel allows the Smart car to withstand impacts as well or better than much larger cars
The 2008 Smart Fortwo is, among many other things, proof that looks can be deceiving. One glance at the Smart Fortwo's tiny exterior dimensions will probably leave you wondering if it could withstand hitting a mailbox, much less a full-size SUV.
Crash tests show that the 2008 Smart Fortwo can hold its own in some pretty serious impacts. The 2008 Smart Fortwo coupe was recently tested by both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the two main crash-testing authorities in the United States, and both report impressive results. The NHTSA scores are the lower of the two, but still a respectable four stars for front driver impacts and three stars for front passenger impacts, as well as a perfect five-star rating for side impacts. However, the NHTSA does note that "during the side impact test, the driver door unlatched and opened," which "increases the likelihood of occupant ejection." The IIHS, which typically has a more stringent rating system, awards the 2008 Smart Fortwo a perfect rating of "good" for both its frontal offset and side impact tests. Reviews read by TheCarConnection.com register quite a bit of surprise at the high ratings, which Edmunds attributes to "the Tridion safety cell," which is a "cage of high-strength steel" that "allows the Smart car to withstand impacts as well or better than much larger cars."
When it comes to safety features, the Smart Fortwo is again ready to impress. Cars.com reviewers note "standard safety features include front and side-impact airbags--the latter extending upward to protect occupants' heads--as well as antilock brakes, traction control and an electronic stability system." Jalopnik reviewers add that the 2008 Smart Fortwo "is safe," and "it feels safe, too," thanks to a "full retinue of airbags." Thanks to the Tridion system and the fact that all the safety features come standard on every trim level, Kelley Blue Book testers feel comfortable praising the Smart Fortwo's "impressive crashworthiness."
Despite its small stance, driver visibility from within the 2008 Smart Fortwo leaves little to be desired. ConsumerGuide says that the Smart Fortwo's "upright driving position prevents occupants from feeling dwarfed by surrounding traffic" and affords "great visibility all-around." Car and Driver also praises visibility from within the 2008 Smart Fortwo, proclaiming "the view out the windshield is panoramic."
The 2008 Smart Fortwo may be small, but it's got a full suite of safety features and impressive engineering to boot.