Nuts & Bolts: 2011 Smart Fortwo Passion Coupe

April 1, 2011

Bottom line: Strictly a city car in the United States.

Ride, acceleration and handling: Adequate in all three.

Head-turning quotient: A genuine curiosity on wheels.

Body style/layout: The Smart Fortwo Passion Coupe is a rear-engine, rear-wheel-drive micro-car designed for use in congested urban areas.

Engine/transmission: The standard engine is a Mitsubishi-made 1-liter, 12-valve, inline three-cylinder job with variable valve lift and timing (70 horsepower, 68 foot-pounds of torque). It is mated to a five-speed transmission that can be operated automatically or manually.

Capacities: It seats two people and carries 7.8 cubic feet of cargo. Fuel capacity is 8.7 gallons. Premium gasoline is required, because the engine is designed to operate at peak combustion in order to lower tailpipe emissions.

Mileage: You get 33 miles per gallon in the city and 41 mpg on the highway.

Safety: Standard equipment includes front disc and rear drum brakes; four-wheel anti-lock brake protection; electronic brake-force distribution; high-strength steel roll cage for crash protection; eight air bags, including knee, side and head bags; and electronic stability and traction control.

Price: The base price on the 2011 Smart Fortwo Passion Coupe is $14,690. Estimated dealer’s invoice price is $13,500. Price as tested is $15,985. Estimated dealer’s price as tested is $14,200. Compare with Honda Fit, Ford Fiesta and Hyundai Accent.

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