Smart Car Pros and Cons

A Rundown on Pros and Cons of Smart Cars...
What Are the Smart Car Benefits?
Are There Downsides to the Smart Car?

Wondering about smart car pros and cons? This article exposes the main pros and cons of smart cars, including smart car benefits and downsides of the smart car.



Pros of a smart car

When people are thinking about making an expensive buying decision, especially with something as new and unusual as the smart car, they often try to understand the pros and cons of the various options they are considering. So today, we will look at the pros and cons of a smart car.

There is no doubt that the smart car has its passionate supporters. Before it arrived in the United States in 2007, it had already enjoyed wild success in Europe over several years. But with its small size, there are also a number of concerns. And tons of people are searching everyday for information on smart car pros and cons, so hence... this article!

Pros of a Smart Car - Reasons to Buy a Smart Car

There are many smart car benefits; don't let its small size fool you!

A smart fortwo car is environmentally-friendly. Not only is the smart car fuel-efficient, averaging around 40 mpg, but it has several other environmentally-friendly features as well. The smart fortwo car uses innovative energy-efficient and recyclable materials in its construction. In fact, 95% of the vehicle is recyclable and the dash material is made from recycled synthetics. So any discussion of smart car pros and cons has to include the facts about how green the smart car really is.

This car is dead easy to park and drive. The smart car has a very small footprint. At less than 9 feet long, it's nearly 3 feet shorter than the diminutive Mini Cooper. Of course, a big reason for that is that it's only a 2-seater. But the short size means the smart car is super easy to park, especially in tight spots or short spots where other cars wouldn't fit. It's also got a great turning radius that makes it very maneuverable.

Smart cars are cute and modern

The smart car is cute and modern looking. No one can argue that the smart car is not unique in its design and appearance. See one, and you will never forget it, whether you like it or not! Many people's first impression is that it is just so darn cute.

When Mercedes Benz brought the smart fortwo car to the United States, they updated its image to be more cutting edge, with more chrome, a bit longer hood section and updated headlights and dashboard area. You can also change out the plastic body panels to give it a whole new color, or purchase a car wrap with some kind of unique print or design on it.

Smart cars are all about safety... really. Most people's first reaction when they see a smart car is something along the lines of, "How could such a small car be safe on the road?" However, what makes the smart car so unique is Mercedes Benz attention to safety. From the innovative tridion safety cell, a sort of safety cage, to its 4 airbags, the smart car is built for safety. Crash tests have consistently proved Mercedes' safety claims. Anecdotal evidence, as published on the safeandsmart.com website, also supports those claims.

They are surprisingly roomy inside. Another surprising benefit of the smart car is its interior roominess. There is plenty of leg room for both driver and passenger. Head room is great too, with men as tall as 6'6” fitting in the driver's seat comfortably. The cargo area is also quite roomy for a small car. We fit a 50-pound black lab and 2 other dogs in our hatch when we go hiking. And we've toted home as many as 8 grocery bags and a case of soda when we go food shopping.

Smart car fortwos make the perfect commuter car. The smart car was originally designed as a “city car” for crowded European cities, and that is its greatest value in the United States, as well. It makes a great commuter car, with its roominess, solid gas mileage and zippy performance on the roads, not to mention ease of parking.

They have that little touch of luxury... like heated seats! I think the heated seats are my wife, Kathi's, favorite feature in our smartie. She loves coming out of exercise class in flimsy lycra on a cold day and being able to warm up within a minute or two. OK... I like it too! And then there's the moon roof that lets the sun shine in on you as you drive, the leather seats... the power windows and locks. Love 'em!

So, that's the first portion of our examination of smart car pros and cons. Now, on to the next section of smart car pros and cons!

Cons of a Smart Car - Yes, There ARE a Few Down Sides

Smart cars are smaller than most other cars

If we're going to provide an honest look at smart car pros and cons, then we do have to include the negatives that exist. Of course, no car is perfect for everyone, and the smart car is no exception. It does have a few features that could be improved upon, as well as some aspects that just make it the wrong choice for certain people.

Smart cars are much smaller than all other cars on the highway. Despite its considerable safety features, there is no question that the smart car is much smaller than just about every other vehicle on the highway. So, there is a good chance that if you are involved in an accident with a big SUV or truck, you might come out the loser. However, there are accounts of smart cars faring better than other larger vehicles in an accident. One advantage of its small footprint is that it might be able to avoid collisions that a larger vehicle could not.

Strangely, there is no cruise control. As mentioned above, the smart car was designed as a commuter, in-town type of car. Perhaps that's why, despite a number of other high end features, it lacks a cruise control option. If you do plan to travel in it or your commute involves highway driving, chances are you are going to miss having cruise control. You can purchase an after-market cruise control, called Area 451, from a number of online suppliers. So that's a definite option.

Some say the transmission is sluggish. One of the most recurring themes to any discussion of smart car pros and cons is the smart transmission. Smart cars have what is termed an "automated manual transmission." What that means is that you have an option between going completely automatic or using a modified manual transmission. Most people find that keeping it in automatic means slightly sluggish gear shifting. That is easily remedied, however, by switching to the automated manual mode. This is a clutch-less manual transmission, meaning you are in charge of using the stick shift or paddle shifters on the steering wheel to switch gears, but you don't have to coordinate with a clutch. The manual mode is super easy to use, even if you've never driven a stick shift before, and provides for a much zippier gear-shifting experience.

The smart isn't a family car. Smart cars only have 2 seats – the driver's seat and one passenger seat. So they have limited passenger transportability. And while the cargo hatch area is surprisingly roomy, it is still less than 8 cubic feet. So you won't be hauling any lumber or large pieces of furniture in it.

The smart car's gas mileage could be higher. For such a small car, you might expect the gas mileage to be much higher. However, the smart car was rated the most fuel-efficient gas-powered car in the United States by the EPA in 2010. And even at 40 MPG, it is considerably more fuel-efficient than most light trucks and SUVs on the road today.

It requires premium fuel. The smart car requires premium fuel, which can be pricey, because of its small engine size. Smaller engines tend to perform better with a higher grade of fuel. You might consider its gas mileage to be the trade-off for the pricier gas.

In weighing smart car pros and cons, I find the pros of a smart car win. For what it's designed to be – a commuter vehicle for 1 or 2 people – the smart car is a great value with many added benefits. Could it be better? Sure, as with most products, there is definitely room for improvement. But, if you want a forward-thinking, unique and fuel-efficient small car, then I would definitely encourage you to consider the smart fortwo car.

Hopefully you now have a better idea now of all of the smart car pros and cons!

Your "Smart Car Guy",
Jim Mccue signature graphic
Make a Difference graphic



Share |

Search this site:


Hi smart enthusiasts!

Jim McCue picture

Welcome to the site! I'm Jim, and I'm here to guide you through a journey of smart car discovery. So, look around & drill down as much as you want to for all the smart fortwo details you're looking for. Read and interact! And feel free to contact me!


Get the latest electric smart car news!


Advertising Disclosure

Help Us Grow

Submit your own personal smart car review

What kinds of experiences have you had in the smart car? Do share...

Tell us about your smart car rally!

Keep Up to Date

Follow us on our Facebook Fan Page Follow our updates on Twitter
Subscribe to our YouTube channel for all the latest tutorial videos Subscribe to our RSS feed in your feed reader

Support Our Sponsors

I support this site using affiliate marketing. I earn a small commission when you purchase items here, which helps to keep the site afloat. Thank you for your support.

Indulge your passion for smart cars or whatever with SBI!