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SAFETY | 8 out of 10
upright driving position prevents occupants from feeling dwarfed by surrounding traffic
Good," frontal offset impact; "good," side impact
Four stars, front driver impact; three stars, front passenger impact; five stars, side impact
The 2009 Smart Fortwo may be small, but it's got a full suite of safety features and impressive engineering to boot. Crash tests show that the 2009 Smart Fortwo can hold its own in some pretty serious impacts.
The 2009 Fortwo coupe was recently tested by both the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and both report impressive results. The IIHS, which typically has a more stringent rating system of the two, awarded the 2009 Smart Fortwo a perfect rating of "good" for both its frontal offset and side impact tests. NHTSA scores were 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, NHTSA noted that "during the side impact test, the driver door unlatched and opened," which "increases the likelihood of occupant ejection."
Reviews read by TheCarConnection.com register quite a bit of surprise at the high ratings, which Edmunds attributes to "the Tridion safety cell," a "cage of high-strength steel" that "allows the Smart car to withstand impacts as well or better than much larger cars."
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." 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 2009 Smart Fortwo "is safe," and "it feels safe, too," thanks to a "full retinue of airbags."
Car and Driver praises visibility from within the 2009 Smart Fortwo, proclaiming "the view out the windshield is panoramic." ConsumerGuide says that the Smart Fortwo's "upright driving position prevents occupants from feeling dwarfed by surrounding traffic" and affords "great visibility all-around." Despite its small stance, driver visibility from within the 2009 Smart Fortwo leaves little to be desired.
With regards to safety, the little 2009 Smart Fortwo is, among many other things, proof that looks can be deceiving.