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2010 Smart ForTwo
#26

in 2010 Affordable Small Cars

Avg. Price Paid: $6,015 - $10,793
Original MSRP: $11,990 - $20,990
MPG: 33 City / 41 Hwy
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2010 Smart ForTwo Performance

This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

Reviewers have mixed feelings about the 2010 Smart Fortwo's performance. On the one hand, it has great gas mileage and maneuverability. Still, the Fortwo suffers from poor acceleration, poor braking performance and a premium gasoline requirement, which means its great fuel economy may not translate into significant fuel savings.

  • "Never serene. Road noise is relatively well-muffled, but wind rush is pronounced at highway speeds. The engine is always audible and rises to a loud groan under acceleration. Top-down conversation is possible in the convertible at highway speeds." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Power output is OK when pulling away from traffic lights, but the rear-mounted engine quickly loses steam as the revs rise, and its fuel economy isn't that much better than what you'd get from many other larger and more practical vehicles." -- Edmunds
  • "It rides well, it holds the road, it maneuvers as if it's controlled by a video-game joystick, and its performance is quite respectable." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "Yes, it really does go up to 90 mph. It takes a bit of nerve and two hands on the wheel, though the reaction on other drivers' faces as you pass them is worth every penny." -- Bloomberg News

Acceleration and Power

The Fortwo comes standard with a 1.0-liter three-cylinder engine that makes 71 horsepower. The engine is mated to a five-speed automated manual transmission. Reviewers are less than impressed with the Fortwo’s acceleration from a stop, calling it sluggish. Even worse, the transmission has a slow shifting response that earns some negative reviews.

There aren’t many cars in the Smart’s price range that offer decent acceleration, but the Toyota Yaris offers a zippier ride than the Smart while boasting fuel economy of 29/35 mpg city/highway. 

  • "MB says the car ‘... now sprints from 0 - 100 km/h in just 16.8 seconds.’ And all I can say is that's a pretty liberal interpretation of the words 'sprint' and 'just'." -- Automoblog.net
  • "Smart pegs the ForTwo's 0-60 mph acceleration at 12.8 seconds; Consumer Guide testing suggests ForTwo is slightly quicker than that figure. Still, acceleration is sluggish from a stop and is plagued by annoying bogging and surging at every shift whether transmission is in manual or automatic mode." -- Consumer Guide
  • "With 70 horsepower provided by the 1.0-liter 3-cylinder engine mated to a 5-speed paddle-shift automatic, the 2-seater Fortwo scoots around briskly." -- Road and Track
  • "This sort of rough shifting is unacceptable in any car at any price, making it a deal breaker for some. Drivers can work around this by shifting manually and lifting off the throttle momentarily (as you would with a traditional stick shift)." -- Edmunds
  • "The transmission...is so lousy it verges on being a deal breaker. ... While other manufacturers talk about shifts that take 10ths of seconds, this one feels like tens of seconds." -- Bloomberg News

Fuel Economy

The EPA rates the 2010 Smart Fortwo as having a fuel economy of 33/41 mpg city/highway. It has one of the highest fuel economies in the class. However, you might not save as much on gas as you might expect since the Fortwo requires premium fuel.

Handling and Braking

The Smart Fortwo works best as an urban runabout, excelling with its close-quarters maneuverability and responsive steering. Nonetheless, reviewers are disappointed by the Smart’s braking performance, saying that braking distances should be a lot shorter for such a small car.

  • "Agile around town; tiny dimensions help provide outstanding close-quarters maneuverability. Light, accurate steering contributes to an almost sporty demeanor, though some testers complain of tippy sensations in corners." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The rack-and-pinion steering is precise and gives the vehicle a bit of sporty flair, although the Fortwo is slow." -- Car and Driver
  • "Surprisingly, the suspension manages to reduce everyday bumps and potholes to acceptable levels. Though it's a bit harrowing among trucks on a flowing highway, high-speed stability is adequate." -- Edmunds
  • "Standard antilock brakes employ discs up front and drums in back. The execution is disappointing: I found the pedal rock-hard, imprecise and never all that powerful. After two days' driving, I still couldn't stop the car smoothly." -- Cars.com
  • "For a car so small and light, why do you have to stand on the brake pedal to stop?" -- Chicago Tribune

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