For the ultimate small footprint, the tiny Smart car is a good choice. The electric Smart Fortwo even boasts a small carbon footprint. Although new Smart cars are no longer sold in the United States, used electric Smart Fortwo vehicles from the 2019 model year and earlier are still available. But the price isn’t right for what you get.
The electric Smart Fortwo
The Smart Fortwo appeared in Europe in 1998, according to Green Car Reports. It then arrived in the United States in 2008 and switched to all-electric for the 2018 model year. The tiny Smart Fortwo has a fun design and is easy to park. Its short wheelbase and narrow width give it an overall tiny size. It has just enough room for seating for two (we see what the Fortwo did there).
The Fortwo has a 17.6-kWh lithium-ion battery pack and a 60-kW motor generating 80 hp and 118 lb-ft of torque. Its range of 58 miles on one charge is quite low compared with its rivals. It takes about three hours to charge the battery from empty when using a 240-volt power source.
Edmunds found the 2018 Fortwo has quick acceleration, especially at low speeds. However, it isn’t a comfortable ride on bumpy roads, and there are large rear blind spots. It also has low-quality cabin materials. Although easy to park and great for driving in urban spaces, the Fortwo also has limited room for passengers and cargo. Edmunds found its performance to be “underwhelming.” As part of its unusual design, it integrates a smartphone as the main infotainment screen. A seven-inch touchscreen was optional. The Fortwo Coupe comes in three trims: Pure, Passion, and Prime. The Fortwo Cabrio, which is a convertible, comes in two trims: Passion and Prime.
Buying a used Fortwo
Edmunds found the price of a used 2018 Smart Fortwo to be high relative to its quality, comfort, and range issues. It estimates a used 2018 Smart Fortwo costs $11,999 to $13,995. While buying the base trim does keep the cost as low as possible, there isn’t a big difference in price between the base trim and the top Prime trim. There are also various feature packages and standalone options, common for vehicles with Mercedes-Benz as their parent company.
According to Edmunds, the base Pure trim includes 15-inch wheels with plastic covers, LED daytime running lights, cruise control, a rearview camera, cloth upholstery, automatic climate control, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a USB port, and a two-speaker sound system with an auxiliary input. Also, iPhone and select Android users can control their phone, audio, streaming radio, vehicle info, and navigation through the Cross Connect app.
The middle Passion trim provides “alloy wheels, heated and power-adjustable mirrors, contrasting interior upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a height-adjustable driver seat, an additional storage compartment in the center console, and a retractable cargo cover,” Edmunds reported. The top Prime trim adds “foglights, cornering lights, a panoramic glass roof, automatic headlights and wipers, leather upholstery, heated seats, and interior ambient lighting.”
Other small EVs
If the tiny Smart Fortwo doesn’t sound worth it, consider other small electric vehicles. According to Car and Driver, if you live in Oregon or California, the 2019 Fiat 500e is available (its last model year). Its 24.0-kWh lithium-ion battery pack and one electric motor produce 111 hp and 147 lb-ft of torque. It gets a range of 84 miles. Used prices range from about $16,000 to about $19,000.
The Fiat 500e is a bit smaller than the 2020 Mini Cooper, although the Mini costs less and provides a longer range. The Cooper Electric’s 32.6-kWh battery pack and motor produce 181 hp and 199 lb-ft of torque. It has a range of 110 miles. The starting price for a new car is just over $30,000.
The Nissan Leaf is another smaller electric car to consider. The 2018 model year is priced between $14,549 and $19,488, according to Edmunds. The 2016 Leaf averages between $7,275 and $9,750, according to Consumer Reports.
Though the Smart Fortwo EV is a fun car, its limited comfort and size for the price make its competitors more desirable.