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2019 smart EQ fortwo Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader June 2019

Take what will be your last gander at the 2019 smart EQ fortwo in showrooms. It won't be sold in this country after the 2019 model year. Last year smart discontinued the gasoline models, leaving the all-electric version as the last smart model standing. Now it, too, will be history.

Sadly, we doubt it will be missed. Well, it may be missed by some. Even the Yugo and the Pontiac Aztek have some die-hard fans out there. But with its ridiculously short range of no more than 58 miles on a full charge, this little electric car was pretty much relegated to short hops around town. Attempting to merge into freeway traffic was more breathtaking than a roller-coaster ride. Nope, we won't miss it.

Having said all of that, if parking is an issue for you, its size is comparable to a roller skate on steroids. It's the ideal downtown runabout.

What's New for 2019?

The nameplate is changed from smart fortwo to smart EQ fortwo. See the 2019 smart EQ fortwo models for sale near you

What We Like

  • Park-anywhere size
  • Funky interior design
  • Quirky styling
  • Still available as coupe or convertible

What We Don't

  • Very limited range
  • Surprisingly expensive
  • Ride can be harsh
  • Limited regenerative braking
  • Feels vulnerable in a world of SUVs and trucks
  • Lowercase spelling of brand and grades is annoying

How Much?

$24,650-$28,850

Fuel Economy

The 2019 smart EQ fortwo, as the name suggests, is an electric car. It uses a single electric motor that produces 80 horsepower and 118 lb-ft of torque. According to range estimates from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), its maximum range on a full charge is no more than 58 miles (57 cabrio). That is paltry compared to every other electric car, and barely outdoes the all-electric range of some plug-in hybrids. Its 108 MPGe rating is also unremarkable.

Standard Features & Options

The 2-seat EQ fortwo is available only with electric drive. The solid-roof coupe is available in pure, passion and prime trims, while the part-convertible cabrio model is only available in passion. Prices include the $750 factory destination fee. It still qualifies for up to $7,500 in federal tax credits.

The base pure ($23,800) trim comes standard with 15-in steel wheels, a rearview camera, cruise control, power locks and windows, automatic climate control, a flat-folding passenger seat, cloth upholstery, Bluetooth, a USB port, a CD player, an auxiliary audio jack and a 2-speaker sound system. Simulated leather upholstery is an option.

The passion ($26,140 coupe; $28,850 cabrio) adds alloy wheels, a height-adjustable driver's seat, heated power mirrors, upgraded interior trim and a cargo cover. These items are available on the pure as stand-alone options. The cabrio passion has a power-retractable soft-top roof. This trim level also opens the door to additional color options.

The prime ($27,490 ) adds a panoramic sunroof, automatic headlights and wipers, fog lamps, leather upholstery and heated front seats. These items are available as stand-alone options on the passion. Options for the prime include a JBL sound system and a Sport package (16-in wheels, a lowered suspension, a chrome exhaust tip and shift paddles for the obligatory auto-manual transmission).

Safety

That bit of contrasting trim that wraps around the smart fortwo isn't just there for decoration. It's actually something called the "Tridion safety cell," which provides the fortwo with immense strength and crashworthiness despite its tiny size. Beyond that, the fortwo comes with antilock brakes (front disc, rear drum), traction and stability control, side airbags that cover the body and head and knee airbags. A forward-collision warning system and rear park assist are stand-alone options on the upper two grades.

The government gave the fortwo a 4-star overall and front crash ratings along with a 5-star side crash rating. The nonprofit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave it the best possible rating of Good in the moderate-overlap front and side crash tests.

Behind the Wheel

With its tiny exterior dimensions and ridiculously small turning circle, you can park the smart fortwo in places no other new car could manage. You even sit up a bit higher than normal, which makes negotiating tough spots even better. The steering's also pretty light, and the electric-only powertrain exorcizes the demon that was the terrible old single-clutch transmission and growly gas engine. Being powered by electricity certainly gives the smart a little extra bit of oomph around town, although it doesn't have much power and runs out of steam quickly as speeds rise.

Overall, the smart is an adventure to drive at best, and a bit scary at worst. In a country filled with SUVs, trucks and big rigs, you can feel pretty vulnerable despite that safety cell. Handling is also tippy, the ride is harsh and there's plenty of interior noise.

We do like the interior design. It's funky, colorful and should put a smile on your face. The materials used are high-quality for an electric car of its price, and adding cloth trim to the dash is always a nice way to spruce things up. In terms of space, even taller drivers should be able to get comfortable, and there's enough room for five to seven shopping bags in the 9.2-cu ft. cargo area.

Other Cars to Consider

2019 Fiat 500e -- It's been a while since it's undergone a redesign, but the 500e offers city-friendly proportions, more interior space than the smart and a quirky retro character. It can also go considerably further on a charge. Its main drawback is that it's only available in California and Oregon.

2019 Hyundai Ioniq Electric -- Yes, the Ioniq has a higher base price, but it's not that much higher and you get way more car for the money. It's also surprisingly spacious and fun to drive. One of the better electric choices.

2019 Nissan Leaf -- The Leaf was completely redesigned for 2018, and again, although pricier than the smart, it's a far superior car -- electric or otherwise.

Used Chevrolet Spark -- Want an inexpensive electric car? Consider a used or certified pre-owned (CPO) Chevrolet Spark. It's considerably more spacious than the smart and goes 30 extra miles on a charge. Oh, and since we're talking used Sparks, expect pricing to be about $10,000 less than a smart fortwo electric.

Autotrader's Advice

First, we'd think long and hard about whether your parking situation is really that limited. Otherwise, it's just really hard to make a case for the EQ fortwo, given its drawbacks and competitors. Find a smart EQ for sale

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2019 smart EQ fortwo Review - Autotrader