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Getting to know the Smart Fortwo Cabrio

The Smart Fortwo Cabrio is the cabriolet version of the two-seater city car Fortwo. The Fortwo has been in production since 1998 but the Cabrio was introduced in 2000. The second-generation model followed in 2007 and is still currently being manufactured, while third-generation Fortwos are slated to begin production in either 2013 or early 2014.

Pros

A Smart Fortwo Cabrio is equipped with a good mix of essentials. The entry-level Pulse model, for instance, comes with alloy wheels, air conditioning, electric windows, Bluetooth connectivity, and gear shift paddles on the steering wheel. Bump it up to a Passion model and satellite navigation and a panoramic glass roof are added to the mix. Get a Brabus though and you're going home with a body kit, heated leather seats, and sports suspension.

All Fortwo Cabrio models feature stability control which helps in slippery road conditions by reducing the possibility of rollover accidents. Passenger and driver airbags are also standard which add a layer of safety. For extra security, an engine immobiliser is in place to deter thieves.

You don't stop dealing with costs after buying a car and the Fortwo Cabrio proves to be a good choice since it keeps running costs down. It is cheap to insure but it has an incredible capability to hold its value. In fact, even after three years, resale values are normally still at almost half the price of the original. Add fuel economy that ranges from 54.3mpg to 85.6mpg, depending on how you're driving and the road conditions you're in, and you're looking at real cost-efficiency. Petrol models are also within the 10% car tax range while a diesel unit sits at the 13% band.

Though it is a two-seater, the Fortwo Cabrio is surprisingly roomy, boasting of enough room for even two six-footers. The doors open wide too so it's no trouble to get in and out. As for the boot, a 220-litre capacity doesn't sound massive but it is large compared to what other

Cons

While power steering is only available as an option, the Smart Fortwo Cabrio is still easy enough to control even in a standard setup. The ride itself is more of the problem. Because it is a tall but short car, the Fortwo Cabrio requires a stiff suspension to keep it from teetering and tottering at bends. Its suspension is lacking, unfortunately, that's why everything it passes on the road is felt by its passengers.

Having engine options is always nice but the Fortwo Cabrio doesn't really offer that much with whatever it has on the table. Many may go for the 70bhp petrol unit but mostly this is because that's the cheapest engine option available. The lone diesel unit is really slow and is easily outdone by its petrol brothers.

And if you didn't know you had a three-pot engine, the Fortwo Cabrio would surely let you know. Since it's a three-cylinder unit typically it is given some slack. However, sitting behind the seats and emitting a distinct thrum every time you speed up, it makes it difficult for passengers to ignore. It's not the worst sound you'll hear but it will get on your nerves eventually, most especially on long trips.

What do you think?

(Average rating: 4 , Total rates: 1 )

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