2017 Smart fortwo cabriolet

By far the smallest convertible on sale in the United States, the smart fortwo cabrio is a truly unique two-passenger subcompact car with a surprisingly large interior for its Lilliputian dimensions. Through the smart's middling fuel economy and poor highway manners will turn off some buyers, those simply seeking a nimble and easy-to-park city runabout should look no further.

Recent Changes
The fortwo cabrio is all-new for the latest model year.

Overview
Now in its third generation, the smart fortwo cabrio carries on with a tall and narrow overall shape. It stands out thanks to a soft-looking front end that ushers in the company's new design language.

The cabrio gets a power cloth soft top that can either slide back a few inches like a sunroof, or fully retract and fold above the cargo compartment. Roof bars that can be removed and stowed away in a compartment neatly built into the tail gate give the occupants the full convertible experience.

About 0.8 inches thick, the top fully retracts in 12 seconds at the push of a button even if the cabrio is driving at freeway speeds. Alternatively, it can be opened or closed from a distance thanks to a button on the key fob. It is available in blue denim, red and black.

Life Aboard
The fortwo cabrio stretches just 106.1 inches long, which makes it approximately 50 inches shorter than a four-door MINI Cooper, but its cabin is surprisingly roomy. Though decidedly spartan in base models, the fortwo's interior features quality materials, a well laid-out dashboard and intuitive controls.

The fortwo can't be ordered with a conventional touch screen-based infotainment system, but the free Cross Connect smartphone application provides features such as navigation, trip history, fuel consumption, online radio and even city guidebooks. It also saves the car's exact parking location.

As one would expect, the fortwo excels in the city, where it can zip through traffic and fit in the smallest of parking spaces. Maneuvering it is a breeze, too, thanks in part to a curb-to-curb turning radius of 22.8 feet. However, it's much less at home on the highway, where its tall greenhouse and its short wheelbase make it a bit darty and susceptible to crosswinds.

Specifications Sheet
Mounted at the rear of the fortwo cabrio is a turbocharged 0.9-liter three-cylinder engine that makes 89 horsepower at 6,200 rpm and a generous 100 pound-feet of torque starting at 2,500 rpm. The engine is new to the smart lineup, but it's a time-tested unit that powers a handful of Renault compacts and sub-compact models on the other side of the pond.

The last-gen fortwo's silly, rough-shifting single-clutch automated manual transmission has finally been tossed out. Instead, the fortwo comes standard with a five-speed manual transmission, and buyers looking to go clutchless can order a six-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox at an extra cost.

With the five-speed manual, the fortwo can reach 60 mph from a stop in 10.1 seconds. Opting for the dual-clutch unit bumps the 0-to-60 time up to 10.5 seconds, and top speed checks in at 96 mph regardless of which transmission is chosen.

Trim Level Breakdown
Smart offers the fortwo in four trim levels called pure, passion, prime and proxy, respectively.

Pure models come standard with LED daytime running lights, 15-inch steel wheels with plastic hubcaps, automatic A/C, a multi-function steering wheel, a 3.5-inch configurable TFT screen in the instrument cluster, cruise control, power windows, a locking glovebox, a single cup holder, a flat folding passenger seat, and Bluetooth connectivity with audio streaming.

Passion models up the ante with 15-inch alloy wheels, a height-adjustable driver's seat, power heated mirrors, a center console, three cup holders and a coin holder.

Prime models gain a panoramic sunroof, fog lights, LED tail lamps, rain and light sensors, black leather upholstery, ambient lighting and heated seats.

Finally, proxy models come fully loaded with blue and white cloth upholstery, a JBL sound system, 16-inch light alloy wheels, a chromed exhaust tip, alloy pedal caps, and a lowered suspension system. Additionally, cars equipped with the optional dual-clutch transmission gain steering wheel-mounted shift paddles.

Highlights from the list of options include an arm rest, rear parking sensors, a smartphone cradle, and a proximity warning function.

Brabus Sport Package
Prime, passion, and proxy trims can be ordered with the optional Brabus Sport package. It brings staggered wheels wrapped by summer performance tires, spoilers on both ends, and an air diffuser out back. Inside, cars equipped with the Brabus Sport package benefit from a three-spoke steering wheel, aluminum pedals, and shift paddles for the optional dual-clutch transmission.

The package doesn't bring extra power, but the changes are more than skin deep. Notably, it adds a lower, stiffer suspension.

Occupant Safety
With full-size SUVs, enormous pickups and gargantuan 18-wheelers roaming the roads, smart knew that it had take special care in ensuring that the fortwo would protect its occupants in event of a collision. The car was designed from the outset with safety in mind and features a reinforced high-strength steel tridion safety cell, numerous airbags, a tire pressure monitoring system, traction and stability control systems as well as ABS with electronic brake force distribution. The fortwo also come with crosswind assist, a feature usually found on much bigger models like the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van.

Key Competitors
The smart fortwo is the smallest cabrio in the U.S., but those not set on having the most diminutive car at any cost may also want to check out the Fiat 500c. There are also slightly larger models like the MINI Cooper Convertible to consider.