Smart Cabrio

The Smart Fortwo has been around since the late 1990s, and although you could argue that the very small car has achieved an iconic status (sort of), it’s not exactly a widely praised or beloved machine. The core problem has always been that to have a diminutive city vehicle, easy to park just about anywhere, many compromises over what people expect in a modern car have to be made.

The Smart (which is manufactured by Daimler, the parent company of Mercedes, and was originally co-branded with Swatch) is a lot like the teeny tiny cars of the immediate postwar period, but with a bunch of creature comforts added. That said, the Smart still evokes an era of anemic engines, crude suspensions, and a casual if not dismissive attitude about how long it takes, speed-wise, to get from point A to point B.

In return, you get the smallest car on the road, with two seats and a rinkydink amount of cargo space. Driving one is zippy fun, but also a constant reminder that you’re being born down on by semis, full-size sedans, and SUVs. Even large motorcycles are threatening.

The experience of sitting behind the wheel of a Smart has often been described as “novel.” And to be sure, if you do live in a big, congested city where parallel parking is a contact sport, or if you need a simple runabout for a suburbs, the Smart could be a good choice.

To be sure, the Smart induces a definite “Hey, cool!’ reaction no matter how you think about it. The question is, Does that impression last?

We got to test this out recently when were borrowed a well-equipped Smart Fortwo Cabrio, the convertible version of the car. It tipped the price scales at $23,650, but the base vehicle costs less than $19,000.

Here’s what we thought: 

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When you get right down to it, the Smart Fortwo is made for city living. If you step down in the transportation hierarchy, you’re looking at a motorcycle. With the Smart, you’ve got two seats and the option to park just about anywhere you can squeeze in.

Those are normal-size NYC garbage bags, heaped in a normal-size NYC pile …

… just to give you a sense of how easy it is for the Smart to hide in plain sight!

See the rest of the story at Business Insider