2008 Smart Car fortwo Cabriolet


This week you’re going to be amazed by a new car to the US but one that has been sold in 36 countries for the last 10 years. The Smart Car or Smart fortwo is sure to be a repeat of the 1960s love affair with the VW Beetle/ Bug that should sweep the country like a fire storm.

Whether you consider buying one of the three models – the Pure, the Passion or the Cabriolet you’ll be fascinated and I believe shocked that something this small can seem so big. While attending the very first introduction in the US of this smart addition to the cars we can drive today I went from major skeptic to a born again believer about this wonderfully designed two seater cars. Really, you have to check it out. On line you can go to www.smartusa.com and learn more about this little marvel.

Look for the $99 reservation option and the car will begin delivery in January.

Trust me; this will be the surprise of the century for efficient and responsible cars in the coming years until the fuel cell car is ready for our consumption. GM will head up that push for the newest. Then when they have developed it the Japanese and Germans can copy it. Thanks to American ingenuity our car makers will launch us into the future of transportation. In the meantime these more conventional modes of transportation will have to do and be all the rage.

These are the hottest thing in Europe in particular and the Romans have gobbled up over 50,000 of them to date, partly because you can park two of them in a standard parking space in the US.

General Info:

Parts – n/a

Assembly – France

Class:  – Economy

Car Models: – Pure, Passion & Cabriolet

Handling & Performance:

All the things I thought were sure to be all wrong with this little car I was convinced by the German engineers how they have adjusted to and solved the problems like ‘roll over’ concerns. The height of the car stayed the same but they widened the track from early versions to provide more stability.

Friend Merkel is still concerned with high speed on the freeway travel. But after I tested this car at speeds of 70 mph I was satisfied I’d feel comfortable driving the freeways in most metropolitan cities. Why, because you seldom have the chance to go that fast.

The European version is diesel powered and gets over 70 mpg. The US version required a gas engine and promises 35-45 mpg. They suspect the next power plant will be a hybrid since we are unlikely to see clean diesel any time soon in the US. For the rest of the world they’ll enjoy even more low cost transportation.


Simple while complex. The engine is a modular design and with four bolts the entire module drops down for service. All fluids are maintained from a front access panel where you’d expect to see the hood.

The design was the product of Mercedes Benz in Irvine California about a decade ago, so Smart marketing people plug the fact this car is finally coming home.

There was a Smart for four but it didn’t make money and was discontinued along with a sport car adaptation.

Fit and Finish:

Well done.


The Pure is priced at $11,590, the Passion starts at $13,590 and the Cabriolet begins at $16,590. The Smart fortwo will be sold 2/3 through attached but not an integral part of Mercedes Benz dealerships. 1/3 will be stand alone dealerships connected with Penske.

Conveniences and comfort:

The Cabriolet convertible top is unique in that you can put it down and up at any speed.

Consumer Recommendation:

You can go on line at www.smartusa.com and for $99 you can reserve yours. When you are able to test drive it, the tall folks will be amazed at how it accommodates most of us.  You may want to consider as I have to buy one for those short trips around town to the market, shopping or the hardware store, etc.

Some may want to buy one for the kids – Christmas, anniversaries at a cost less than a motorcycle.


Well there is no competition really but the closest car would be the Mini Cooper

$18-25,000, which is a 1.6 liter 4 cylinder engine that promises 30-40 miles per gallon.

Good News:

Low cost to buy and operate. Ample cargo area for two to travel, shop etc.

Bad News:

Seating for two only, travel under 70 mph.

Standard Equipment:

1 liter 3-cylinder engine, 5 speed auto trans with manual shift (no clutch) operation, 15” steel wheels, fold flat passenger seat, radio ready (radio is standard on other models), dual air bags front and side, electronic stability program, ABS brake system with Elect. Brake force distribution, child tether system, remote keyless entry, front and rear washer wiper with defroster, electric tailgate release and more.

Note: some optional items are offered that won’t add a lot for the conveniences you may want even on the base model.

Gas Stats:

$3.10/ Gal avg. November 2, ‘07


for more information.

40 City and 45 Highway MPG


MSRP $11,590 – 13,590 and 19,590.

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