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First Drive: 2011 Smart Fortwo Passion


"An elevator can only go up and down, but a Wonkavator goes sideways and slantways and longways and backways and frontways and squareways and any other ways that you can think of." Our Smart Fortwo Passion is just like a Wonkavator, without the up and down part. Because of its smaller-than-small-car size, it seems as though it can go any which way you want, even in the most crowded parking lot. That really is the hook for the Smart.

You might think the Smart is super efficient, but super is a bit of an overstatement. It is hard to complain about a vehicle that can manage 33 mpg in the city and 41 mpg on the highway -- diesel-like numbers. Those numbers are a little harder to swallow considering the SMART FORTWO is the smallest, least powerful, and lightest mass-market vehicle for sale in the U.S. today.

 Small and light does have its advantages. The little Wonkavator feels like a cross between a go-kart and a barstool. Steering is direct and precise, partially due to a lack of power assistance. The level of communication is downright enlightening, nearly on the level of a GT3 or a Lotus. That may be where the Smart offers the biggest bargain. There isn't another car that touches the steering on this car for under $35,000. The connectedness doesn't stop there. Seat-of-the-pants feel tells you constantly what the car is doing, and it happens at such modest speeds that the car is like a clinic in reading mechanical feedback. Driving one of these for a couple of days will remind you what's missing in the average car. Between that, the easily interchangeable body panels, low power, and the Tridion safety cell, this should be on the short list of great cars for young drivers. Parents might also appreciate the fact that it is nearly impossible to commit any sort of unapproved dating activities without extreme flexibility. (Just sayin.')

(Source)


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