The 2014 Smart ForTwo remains quirky, distinctive, and stylish--and now there's a battery electric model to boot. Still, the car's hip persona can't hide its spartan interior and the lack of a few features found on even the most basic subcompact sedans. Think of it as an early-Nineties economy car, or perhaps a base-model pickup truck, and you'll have the context for its mediocre sound system and plain-Jane interior.
While the interior has been upgraded a couple of times, the Smart's standard equipment has remained remarkably constant since 2008. When a lockable glovebox is a notable addition, you know you're dealing with a basic car.
One notable addition has been integrated Bluetooth hands-free connectivity, navigation, and Internet radio. To take advantage of it, though, you'll have to buy a special cradle, to be installed by the dealer, just to hold your smartphone--which provides the processing power and apps to fill the gap.
The base model Smart ForTwo is dubbed the Pure, and the higher trim level is known as Passion. The soft-top Cabriolet comes only as a Passion model. The Pure level includes keyless entry and a rear-window defroster. That's about it. No, there's no sound system at all--and the windows wind up by hand. Which is why we expect most buyers will opt for the Passion trim.
The Passion model adds alloy wheels--much better looking than the steel wheels on the Pure--along with power windows, automatic climate control, an AM/FM/CD sound system, and a panoramic roof. The sound system doesn't have enough oomph to overcome road noise at speed, but at least you can hear something.
As for options, there's a premium sound system that can be added to the Passion Coupe, with four speakers and a subwoofer, though it comes standard on Passion Cabrio models. Electric power steering is an option on certain models, standard on others, though it doesn't provide that much assist and could well be considered unnecessary.
Then you can add cruise control, air conditioning, automatic lights and wipers, power seats, and fog lamps. Power locks? Power mirrors? Not available.
The Electric Drive--in either coupe or cabrio form--is effectively a Passion model with a few additional features. Those include standard electric power steering and an onboard trip computer to give you vehicle operating information and the all-important remaining range calculation.
Smart also offers various special limited editions each year. For 2014, they're the BoConcept Edition (180 units, designed with the Scandinavian furniture store) and the Smart ForJeremy, an electric model with small angel wings from designer Jeremy Scott. Smart USA also says it'll have two more limited-edition models that will be chosen by online voting. Special editions generally have distinctive paint and trim combinations, and include options like a navigation system, higher-performance audio, and alloy wheels
One final option for Smarts is custom body wraps, which allow owners to select graphics, patterns, or anything else they relish and have their custom design transferred onto specially shaped vinyl sheets that cover the car's body panels. Dealers appear happy to take the money of buyers who've always wanted a zebra-striped car. Or a car with a photo of their dear departed pet. You get the idea. We're just trying to ignore it.