When people see me get out in the 2018 Smart Fortwo Electric Drive Cabrio, they usually ask me how I fit in it. The answer is a cheerful “easily and comfortably.” Yes, it is small, but it is electric.
The size is not to be underestimated as this car is about being first away from the stoplight, to everyone else’s surprise, and capturing the last parking spot in front of the café while looking stylish, depending on one’s perspective.
The mid-mounted, 80-hp electric motor produces a substantial 118 lb-ft of torque and shoots the cute box to 60 mph in 11.7 seconds, says Smart. That sounds slow, but the Smart is especially quick off the line. Top speed is governed at 81 mph; it could go faster, but at higher speeds you would severely cut into the battery’s range.
The manufacturer states that the range is 112 mpg-e city and/or 91 mpg-e highway on a full charge. This means you can only travel 56 miles one way, max. Of course, you can recharge it before you head back.
A 2018 Smart Fortwo Electric Drive takes three hours to fully power up from zero battery, and that’s using the thickest cable the car accommodates – a 240-volt/32-amp connection. Plug it into a three-prong household outlet like a vacuum cleaner and it’ll take more than 16 hours to recharge to 100 percent.
Small electric cars belong in the city. If there is a natural habitat for most of today’s electric cars, it is to work and back. Their comparatively short driving range doesn’t matter as much and their high efficiency at lower speeds plays out as an advantage. The latest addition is the Cabrio version. Translation; it can be purchased as a convertible.
No car parks more easily than a Smart and not just because of its diminutive 106.1-inch length. The turning circle is wonderfully manageable at 22.8 feet. The only car that beat that was the Scion iQ. The iQ has since been taken off the market, as has the Scion marquee, but Smart buyers still benefit from the competitiveness that went into the engineering the new Fortwo which bettered the iQ.
The 2018 Smart Fortwo Electric Drive Cabrio executes all of this perfectly. The new model looks beefier than the previous model and there are a myriad of individualization options: The range of colors is vast, and the Tridion safety cell – a part of the unibody that’s made visible through the sheet metal – can be painted to match the rest of the car or in a contrasting color. At $28,750 before any possible incentives, the Cabrio isn’t cheap. The model I tested totaled out to $33,180.
This puts it neck and neck with the Nissan Leaf. Here’s the thing about the price: The electric Smart can be a steal, if you’re willing to sacrifice. The base model – the Fortwo Electric Coupe in “Pure” trim – starts at $23,900. The federal tax credit knocks $7,500 off that, and state breaks can save even more. Live in Colorado, and that base price drops to $11,400. I enjoyed driving the 2018 Smart Fortwo Electric Drive Cabrio, but it’s certainly not somebody’s primary ride, that’s for sure. The Smart’s diminutive proportions are enough of a challenge to overcome; even a supercar would be more utilitarian on a long road trip.