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MPG Smart Car – Is It Any Good?

by Jordan Harris
MPG Smart Car

If you are on the market for a cheap and eco-friendly vehicle, you have probably stumbled upon Smart cars. And you are probably asking yourself the question about MPG Smart Car. What is the MPG on a Smart vehicle?

Well, that depends on a few factors. And we are going to discuss them in this article.

Smart cars are extremely popular vehicles. Especially for people who live in crowded cities and have a problem finding a parking spot. The size of the Smart car allows the owner to park it almost everywhere. They are extremely practical and easy to maneuver.

Getting a car like this will also mean that you take the eco factor into consideration as well. Cars with small engines like the Smart pollute less. If you are in search of a vehicle that releases less harmful gases, the Smart car is perfect for you.

In this article, we are going to discuss the Smart Car. We are going to learn more about its background and the models that are on sale. We also going to discuss the MPG of a Smart Car.

Because everyone, before they buy a car, wants to know how much fuel does it spend. We also going to take a look at the safety record and the common problems this car has. And finally, we are going to discuss whether you should consider, shortlist, or you should go ahead and buy the Smart car.

So, if you are interested, follow us till the end, because there is much to cover.

Smart Car

MPG Smart Car

Smart cars have been with us for more than 27 years. And during this period, the company has created a long lineage of eco-friendly cars.

Smart was formed by Daimler AG in 1994. Daimler AG also owns Mercedes Benz, and we all know Mercedes Benz and its well-engineered cars. The name Smart derives from the cooperation between Swatch and Mercedes Benz called Swatch Mercedes ART.

When shortened, it became Smart. The name was an instant hit and attracted many young buyers who were in search of a small city commuter.

Since its inception, the Smart car was made to be one of the most eco-friendly cars on the road. It was designed to be a perfect fit for the western European capitals, which were crowded and a parking place was hard to find. The small size of the Smart car allows it to be parked in some really tight spaces that most cars would not fit.

Smart Car Fortwo 1st Generation

The Smart Car Fortwo debuted in 1998. It implemented two turbocharged 3-cylinder engines. One of the engines was gasoline and another option was a diesel engine. Both engines shared the same six-speed automated manual.

The curb weight of the car was around 730 kg or 1,610 lb. Making it one of the lightest cars around.

The wheelbase was only 71.3 inches making it one of the shortest cars also. The full length was around 98.4 inches.

These numbers made the high MPG Smart car very practical and very fuel-efficient. Meaning the Smart Fortwo could easily achieve 40 MPG and more.

Smart Car Fortwo 2nd Generation

The second generation debuted in 2007 and its production run lasted until 2014. The new Smart kept the proportions of the old car. Although was slightly bigger. This increase in size was needed in order to accommodate the new safety standards. If not, the car couldn’t be road legal in Europe and also in the US.

The second generation came with three new engines. One diesel engine with 0.8L of displacement and two 1L gasoline engines. All the models came equipped with the same 5-speed automated manual transmission.

This model was also one of the first Smart cars that implemented electric drive. This model was offered in a fully electric version and was equipped with a 14-kilowatt battery, this was boosted up to 17.6 kilowatts later. The range was estimated at around 84 miles. Decent numbers for that time.

As we mentioned the curb weight was increased from 730 kg and the new models ranged from 750 kg up to 795kg, or 1,652-1,753 lb. for the coupe and 820 kg or 1,809 lb. for the Cabrio.

The wheelbase was slightly bigger at 73.5 in and a length of 106,1 in.

Although bigger in size, the new MPG Smart Car was a bit higher going up to 54,7 MPG. Even the Prius has envied these numbers.

Smart Car Fortwo 3rd Generation

The third-generation Fortwo debuted in 2016. This model was well designed and differentiated a lot from its predecessors. Mostly because it was developed in cooperation with Renault and implemented much of their know-how on making cars. It has shared around 70% of the parts with its French cousin, the Renault Twingo.

This model is equipped with two turbocharged three-cylinder gasoline engines with 0.9 and 1.0L of displacement. There is also an option for an electric Smart with a 66kW electric motor.

There are two transmissions to choose from for the gasoline variants and that is a 5-speed manual and a 6-speed DCT transmission. The electric car does not have a manual and comes with a single-speed direct drive. The dimensions and curb weight have stayed the same as in the previous model.

MPG Smart Car

Smart Car For Sale In USA

Although the original Smart car debuted in 1998, the first official imports of the Smart car came in the first quarter of 2008. They were imported before 2008, but these imports were not officially carried by Mercedes Benz.

The Smart car in the US came at a really affordable price of only $12,000. Mercedes Benz has claimed that this was one of the most efficient cars in the US market, achieving 33 MPG in the city and 41 MPG on the highway. Really respectable numbers at the time.

Smart had a really successful run in the US until they exited this market, because of the high cost to homologate their cars.

But, fortunately, Smart cars are still available as a secondhand option. You can get a Smart car for a really affordable price and still enjoy its high MPG ratings and save some money in the process. In the next chapter, we are going to cover these models and help you make up your mind on which one to get.

Smart Car MPG

When buying a car, the MPG ratings play a big role. You probably don’t want a car that has low MPG ratings. The most efficient car you have the more money that you save.

The other aspect why we are considering an MPG Smart Car is the ecological aspect. The year is 2021 and we want to save the planet from pollution and also improve our overall health. Smog is one of the biggest problems out there. Especially in big cities.

Many of the vehicles driven in the US are leaving a big carbon footprint and they pollute the environment by a big margin. The Smart Fortwo weighs 700 lbs. This is a lot less than an average American car and this means that it requires less energy to get rolling on the road. Less energy is needed, which equals less fuel spent.

Smart Cars Work Smart

Another aspect of why Smart cars are good when it comes to fuel mileage is because they use their energy in a smart way. This means that they do not waste excessive energy.

They hold traction very well and with good grippy tires you can get the most out of them. Also, when you want to increase the fuel mileage make sure that the pressure in your tires is always at a good level. Because the tires are not inflated at the required norm. The car will spend a lot more fuel than needed. So, keep this in mind.

We discussed the ecological aspect. Now let’s focus on the numbers that these cars are making, in order for you to get the best deal out there.

The production run in the US lasted from 2008 until recently in 2019. There are many Smart cars on the road but which one is the best option for you? We are going to discuss the last two generations of the Smart Fortwo and find out which one is the best.

2007 Smart Fortwo

The 2006 model can be regarded as the best MPG Smart Car of all. The second generation of Smart vehicles was the best when it comes to fuel economy. Research involving the Smart Fortwo was conducted, in order to discover the real fuel economy of this vehicle.

This data was collected by 70 different Smart cars that drove more than 700,000 miles in total. At the end of this experiment, it was concluded that the Smart Fortwo of 2006 is making a staggering 50.7 MPG.

Making it very fuel-efficient like one of the electric models that came out more recently. And that’s why this model is so desirable among the buyers, even though it’s more than 15 years old. If you want to get the best MPG Smart Car this is the way to go.

MPG Smart Car

2014 Smart Fortwo

The third generation was a project between Daimler and Renault. It involved sharing components between the two manufacturers, improving the Smart Fortwo technology by a big margin.

This collaboration has also made the new Smart car safer and overall a better commuter than its previous model. Although newer, this model has lower fuel economy and is rated at around 35-40 MPG.

Far behind its older brother. Although much newer, this model is about 10 MPG shorter than its predecessor. And this is mostly because of the increased curb weight and the overall size of the vehicle. In order to be compatible with all the safety requirements in the markets where its sold.

This is unfortunate, but I think safety is the number one priority. Because you need a safe car that will keep you on the road. Especially in the US where you are surrounded by big trucks and big cars. Even if a regular American car scratches the Smart, the passengers that are inside the Smart will feel like they have been hit with a hammer.

We will cover more about the overall safety of the Smart Fortwo in one of the next chapters.

Smart Electric Car

The Smart EQ is one of the most eco-friendly cars that you can get in the US, even though it’s not produced anymore. The sales numbers of these electric variants are very low and they are extremely hard to find, with more than 2,540 cars sold in the US by 2014.

Smart EQ models have a 55-kW electric motor that is made of around 74 hp. This Smart had plenty of torque from the electric motor. The torque was rated at 96 lb-ft. Making it really punchy and quick.

It incorporates a 17.6 kWh lithium-ion battery and this battery gave it a range of 90 miles or 135 kilometers. This is 122 MPG equivalent. Making it as fuel-efficient as almost three Smart cars combined together, and also making it one of the best MPG Smart Cars ever.

Electric cars are offering big advantages compared to gasoline cars. This car with its high MPG ratings was pretty much one of the best options out there. But it was unfortunate that it only came in limited quantities and is almost impossible to find in the US.

Recommended Fuel

The Smart Fortwo has a tank capacity of 8.7 gallons, and this includes 1.3 gallons of the reserve. So, if your Smart has a fuel economy of 40 MPG. This means that with one full gas tank you could travel for around 350 miles.

With the 2006 model Fortwo that has 50 MPG, you can travel for about 441 miles before you need to fill up again. And that is quite a lot. I personally doubt that any other car can deliver this performance.

The recommended fuel for your Smart Fortwo would be the regular gas that is rated at 89 octane. With this fuel, you would get the most out of it. Although manufacturers are recommending premium fuels, in this case, there is no reason for it.

Premium fuels cost a lot more than regular fuel. Also running premium fuel in engines that are not meant for high performance and do not have big compression is pointless. You will only waste more money on fuel but the performance would pretty much stay the same.

Just to note that the octane ratings represent the resistance of the fuel against compression. So, if the fuel has more octanes, it means that it’s more resistant to compression. So, the engine that has higher compression ratios will use this to make more power. If you are not running a high compression engine, this difference would not be noticeable.

The only thing that will be noticeable is the hole in your pocket from paying for premium fuel.

Smart Car Performance

The Smart Fortwo 0 to 60 is rated at 15 seconds and it can reach a maximum speed of 90 miles per hour. This is pretty much enough for this car if you are running it through the city or you are using it as a daily commuter.

To be honest the Smart Fortwo is not a highway cruiser. If you run the car at high RPM for a long time, the fuel mileage would get worse. Although it may sound funny it’s actually true. Running your car on the highway at high RPM will ruin your fuel mileage. So, how come?

This is because of the Smart’s transmissions. Most Smart cars have a 5-speed transmission. When you reach for example 70 miles per hour. The RPM gets higher and the car needs another gear. But there is no other gear to go up, so the RPM climb. And as they climb, and so the fuel efficiency goes in a downwards spiral.

Some of the Smart cars have 6-speed DCT transmission and they are pretty much great for cruising.

The second thing that may be a problem is aerodynamics. By looking at its shape, you cannot make an assumption that the Smart Fortwo is designed to be aerodynamic. This car cuts the air differently and if you run it at high speed.

This will impact the overall stability of the car and if you are pushing it too hard you may end up on the side of the road. So, pushing this car to the limits is not the best idea. It’s not meant for speed. Especially with those skinny tires that are equipped with.

Smart Car Safety Rating

The original Smart model has implemented a Tridion cell. This shell was extremely durable and was able to withstand hard impacts. But not all models featured safety equipment like airbags.

Making this model extremely unsafe for passengers. In a direct collision, there was nothing to take the hit, except for the driver’s seatbelt. This caused many injuries that were permanent in some situations. A direct hit at a great speed could even cause the death of the front passengers.

The second generation of the Fortwo implemented many new safety features and improved the safety ratings of the vehicle by a big margin. These modifications included, a stronger shell that could withstand impacts, front airbags for both passengers, and side airbags also were included on some models.

There were also some safety features like anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control (ESP), and brake force distribution.

The US model offered more safety compared to the European variant. This included, up to 8 dual-stage airbags that completely surrounded the driver and the passenger. So, in case of a direct hit, all the passengers stay safe. The front crumple zone was also maximized and delivered better performance when impacted.

The NTHSA rated the Smart Fortwo at 4 stars for the frontal driver, 3 stars for the passenger driver, and three stars in case of a rollover. Making this car somewhat safer than its predecessor.

Smart Fortwo Alternatives

Although the Smart Fortwo may be your first choice. There are also some alternatives that you may consider getting. These alternatives do not offer as great fuel mileage as the Smart car. But deliver some small dimensions that you are probably going after.

FIAT 500

The Fiat 500 is one of Europe’s most popular hatches that is sold in the USA. It is produced by Fiat and is similar in size to the Smart Fortwo. This model features retro-modern styling and takes its roots from the original Fiat 500 that was built in the 60s.

The 500 delivers quite good performance and good gas mileage as well, with 22 MPG in the city and 30 MPG on the highway. These numbers make it a really good option to consider.

If you want something small but sportier, you can go with the Abarth model of the 500. This is one of the most fun cars to drive around.

Mini Cooper

The Mini Cooper is another good option. Not the original Mini, but the newer models that are built by BMW. They offer good punchy engines that are reliable and also fun to drive. The base Mini Cooper gets 28 MPG in the city and 37 MPG on the highway. Making it a very affordable commuter car.

It is also very safe and is rated with 4.5 stars for the overall safety of the driver and the occupants. If you find a good deal, this car is the right one for you.

MPG Smart Car: In Conclusion…

We may conclude this article. We have discussed which is the best MPG Smart Car and we learned a lot about its features and the numbers. The best MPG Smart Car you can get out is from the second-generation Smart Fortwo. This car will deliver more than 50 MPG.

We also discussed the safety aspect of this car and its overall safety record, because after all, you want to drive a safe car. And finally, we looked at some of the alternatives.

So, the final question is, if you should consider the Smart, should you shortlist it or should you go and buy it? My answer to this question is to shortlist the Smart. I think that you should also consider the safety aspect before making a decision. Because it’s better to be safe than sorry.

FAQs On MPG Smart Car

If you’re still curious to learn more about MPG Smart Car, our FAQs here might help…

How Much Is A Smart Car

One of the key selling points for the Smart car was its low price point. It thus allowed those folks who might not have otherwise been able to afford to buy a brand new car (and who don’t mind its tiny size for urban driving) to get one. When Smart first unveiled its cars for the US market, the entry-level model was just $12,000. Most recently, the price of a Smart car has risen somewhat. When the refreshed Fortwo launched, it was priced at around $15,000. Then, the electric Smart EQ cars came out, and they had their sticker price set to around $24,000 or higher, depending on the trim. Nowadays though, these prices have fallen a bit. Thus, you can buy a pretty decent (and relatively new) Smart Fortwo for anywhere between $13,000 to $16,000 on the used market.

How Much Does A Smart Car Weigh

Given how small they were, it’s no surprise that a Smart car doesn’t weigh a lot. When the first Smart Fortwo debuted in 1998, it had a curb weight of just 1,610lbs (around 730kg). Back then, it was one of the lightest cars around on the market. But over time, the Smart cars got bigger and heavier. In the 2nd generation of Fortwos, they weighed about 1,652lbs to 1,753lbs (around 750kg to 795kg), depending on the trim, options, and equipment fitted. The cabriolet versions were even heavier, owing to the need to equip them with a folding roof mechanism. The latter weighed in around 1,809lbs (or 820kg). Still, it’s a pretty lightweight car, which is why Smart cars are able to boast quite high MPG figures compared to other tiny cars like the Fiat 500 or Mini Cooper.

Who Makes Smart Car

Smart had its roots in the 1970s and 80s. Although it initially had backing from Volkswagen, the first Smart cars were sold while the brand was under Daimler ownership. The latter also happens to be the parent company of Mercedes-Benz. Daimler completed the acquisition of Smart, and the latter became a wholly-owned subsidiary in 1998. Another important figure in the history of Smart cars was the Swatch Group. The watchmaking brand first partnered with Volkswagen to build their small city car. But Volkswagen later planned its own compact, fuel-efficient city cars, and canned the partnership. Hence, Swatch later went to Daimler after being rejected by other automakers such as BMW, Fiat, GM, and Renault. Today, Smart’s line-up is no longer available in the US.

Are Smart Cars Electric

Smart cars were originally fitted with either gasoline or diesel engines. However, Smart then began offering electric-drive variants starting in 2009, following a brief and limited field test of 100 cars in 2007. These electric-only Smart cars were branded as the Smart EQ and were available in either the smaller Fortwo or larger Forfour form. It then evolved even further by 2022, as Smart now became a partnership between Mercedes and Geely. The new and upcoming Smart 1 is a battery-electric crossover SUV (it’s also technically the biggest Smart car yet), with no ICE-based powertrain options. Unfortunately, while the Smart 1 will be sold in select markets worldwide, there’s no news that it would come to the US market after Smart left in 2019.

Are Smart Cars Safe

Seeing how tiny Smart cars are, many would assume that it’s unsafe to be driving around in one. To be fair, if a Smart car were to collide or be hit against something large – such as getting rear-ended by a huge pickup truck or SUV – it won’t offer as much protection as bigger cars. However, despite their size, Smart cars are actually quite safe. They’re built around a bespoke safety cell – essentially, it’s a cage that surrounds the occupants and shields them from impact. The compact nature of Smart cars also meant that this safety cell is incredibly rigid. Nonetheless, many pundits, including experts from the IIHS, cautioned that larger and heavier cars will inherently provide better protection for their occupants than the tiny Smart cars.

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