Talk to onlookers, and they presume that the 2014 Smart ForTwo gets 60 or 70 miles per gallon because it's so small. Or they think it must be "one of those little electric cars, right?"
Half-right, anyway. The EPA gives both gasoline ForTwo models (the coupe and cabrio) a combined rating of 36 miles per gallon (34 mpg city, 38 mpg highway). That's less than almost every Toyota hybrid, and roughly equal to a number of subcompact cars with twice the seats, many more features, and much more power in reserve--at roughly the same price as a decently-equipped Smart.
One kicker is that the little 70-horsepower 1.0-liter three-cylinder engine in the Smart is recommended to use premium fuel. That means each gallon costs 20 or 30 cents more, which may add up over the course of a year.
The Smart Electric Drive models introduced last year, however, are about as green as you can get. With an EPA-rated range of 68 miles combined, the electric Smart is no Tesla Model S. But it's a far more pleasant urban runabout than the gasoline model if you have a place to charge it.
And its electric efficiency is rated at 107 MPGe, or miles-per-gallon-equivalent. That measures how far the car can travel electrically on the same amount of energy that's contained in 1 gallon gasoline. Its 107-MPGe rating puts it in the top third of all plug-in electric cars sold in the U.S.