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2009 Smart Fortwo Review

The 2009 Smart Fortwo’s tiny footprint and outstanding fuel economy make it a tempting choice for city driving, but its sluggish acceleration is impractical for the highway.

Pros & Cons

  • Spacious seating for two
  • Great for city driving
  • Excellent gas mileage
  • Underpowered engine
  • Few standard interior features
  • Little cargo space
  • Low safety ratings




Critics' Rating: 6.9
Performance: 6.4
Interior: 8.2
Total Cost of Ownership: 9.7
Safety: 8.8
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2009 Smart Fortwo Overview

Available as a coupe and convertible, the 2009 Smart Fortwo is one of the smallest cars on the road, but reviewers said it’s a champ at zipping through tight city spaces. Though it’s tiny, reviewers agreed the Fortwo’s two-seat cabin is surprisingly comfortable. There isn’t much cargo space, but several test drivers said they could fit more in the cargo area than they thought was possible.

While it is very maneuverable in the city, reviewers said the Fortwo has its share of drawbacks. Its 1.0-liter three-cylinder engine has one of the lowest horsepower ratings in the class, and test drivers said the Fortwo struggles when getting up to high speeds. Several also mentioned that the diminutive Fortwo tends to get tossed around by cross-breezes on the highway, making it feel unstable.

With the Fortwo, most features, such as air conditioning and a stereo, aren’t available on the base model. Option packages and higher trims add power windows and door locks, air conditioning, a stereo with an auxiliary port and heated leather seats. It does, however, have more standard safety features than many 2009 small cars, including traction control and electronic stability control. The Fortwo’s safety score is low.

Its small size and lackluster highway performance mean the 2009 Smart Fortwo isn’t for everyone. But for those in the market for a maneuverable city car, the Fortwo may be just what you’re looking for.

See the full 2009 Smart Fortwo specs »

Other Cars to Consider

The 2009 Honda Civic Hybrid has fuel economy ratings that are comparable to the Fortwo’s, but it’s a lot more practical. The Civic Hybrid has five seats, though the rear ones are tight, and its trunk has more cargo space than the Fortwo’s. The Civic Hybrid also has more standard features than the Fortwo.

The 2009 Mini Cooper is also one of the smallest cars on the market, but most reviewers preferred it over the Fortwo. The Cooper Hardtop and Convertible are considered some of the most fun-to-drive small cars available, particularly the Cooper S and John Cooper Works models. The Cooper’s front seats are comfortable for most, and while its back seat is small, at least it has one, which is something the Fortwo can’t say. The Cooper also doesn’t have much cargo space, but the base model has a lot of standard interior and safety features. 

Compare the Fortwo to the Civic Hybrid and Cooper »

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