by Roger Biermann
It's fair to say that nobody will miss the Smart EQ Fortwo, with Daimler commencing discontinuation of the electrified model as of the 2019 model year, and, with the gasoline-powered model having left the U.S. market in 2016, we can finally say good riddance to the diminutive road fly. If you're one that will miss the EQ Fortwo, don't, because now you'll find out just how much better every single other EV out there is, including the Chevrolet Bolt EV. Unfortunately, there aren't any EVs in the same segment as the EQ Fortwo that offer convertible variants - however, they do offer benefits in every other facet, such as an electric range beyond the length of your driveway. Just like the coupe variant, the EQ Fortwo cabriolet is powered by a measly 60kW electric motor endowing the rear wheels with outputs of 80 horsepower and 118 lb-ft of torque via a single-speed direct-shift transmission. We could say we'd miss the EQ Fortwo Cabrio, but we'd be lying.
The only difference with the EQ Fortwo for the 2019 model year, is that it now comes standard with a level one charger. It's otherwise kept identical in performance, appearance, and features, which is understandable as that the model won't be seeing the 2020 model year.
The EQ is a very stout looking little vehicle; it carries a stubby front end featuring halogen headlights and LED daytime running lights, with LED fog lights only featured on the Prime model. The doors make up the length of the car's entire wheelbase, with a frame dubbed the Tridion Safety Cell making up the side skirtings and curving up the rear of the vehicle to form the B-pillars. The Cabrio features a cloth soft-top that retracts all the way to the rear, where you'll find LED taillights and rear foglights. The roof beams can also be removed for a Targa-like experience. All models ride on 15-inch Y-spoke light-alloy wheels with 16-inch eight-Y-spoke light-alloy wheels optionally available.
The EQ Fortwo Cabrio shares most of its dimensions with that of the coupe variant, differing only in height and in curb weight. With its overall body length coming in at 106.1 inches, the wheelbase is the smallest of any car on sale in the US at just 73.7 inches. It stands 61.2 inches tall, making it 0.3 inches shorter than the coupe, while it measures the same 61.2 inches wide. Its curb weight of 2,383 lbs makes it just 20 lbs heavier than the coupe.
With only 80 horsepower and 118 lb-ft of torque driving the rear wheels of the EQ Fortwo from its 60 kW electric motor, its slothful 0-60 mph time of 11.4 seconds should come as no surprise. There is a tangible level of instant torque supplied off-the-line, getting up to the 40 mph mark with some verve, but even with the go-pedal flat getting up to highway speeds is as gradual as a Walmart mobility scooter. Not that one would want to be on the highway with the EQ Fortwo - but just in case you end up there by taking a wrong turn, be sure to plan your overtakes in advance and be prepared for the inevitable road rage that ensues.
The EQ Fortwo's short wheelbase is detrimental to its ride comfort, eliciting a significantly bouncy feel over any road surface that's less than perfect inside the little car. Everyday undulations and the common city street imperfections will be felt alarmingly through the cabin, jostling passengers and rattling any fixture that isn't welded on. There are some positives, though, and the slight little vehicle is genuinely a joy to maneuver in the tight city streets. Its super-compact size makes for nimble motions, and its turning circle is so tight it could do a U-turn on a single lane road; plus, there isn't a single parking spot inaccessible for this mini car. Its short length and tall height make it feel excessively tippy, however, especially when changing lanes on the highway and taking corners, so it's strongly advised you steer clear of any spirited cornering maneuvers. The EQ Fortwo is confined to the city limits as an optimized city runabout and fails dismally at anything outside of this environment.
The EQ Fortwo Cabrio is even less economical on electric fuel than the coupe variant, which in itself is significantly uncompetitive. The Cabrio is estimated to achieve 112/91/102 MPGe city/highway/combined, while the Coupe gets 124/94/108 MPGe. Smart claims that the EQ Fortwo's 17.6kWh battery will offer an all-electric range of only around 58 miles, which is far below the segment average. The Chevrolet Bolt EV offers about four times that figure, with an all-electric range of 238 miles. On a standard household 120-volt power outlet, the EQ Fortwo's battery can be fully charged from empty in anything up to 21 hours - an inordinate amount of time if you're relying on charge-only driving - while a 240-volt power outlet shortens that time to under three hours.
The EQ Fortwo, as the name indicates, seats a total of two passengers. The interior is actually surprisingly spacious for how small the car is, and the initial visual impression is also rather appealing. The seating is, however, quite uncomfortable, with the seat cushions feeling overly firm and adjustability limited to only six-way manual adjustment with no steering wheel adjustment available at all. The seats are also set high, making the position feel very tall and exacerbating the top-heavy feeling when cornering. The retractable soft-top roof opens up the cabin for an airy feel, and the removable roof beams give it a Targa-like appeal.
There is 8.9 cubic feet of space offered in the EQ Fortwo's cargo bay, which is more than the 500e's seven cubes, but still only enough room for a couple of duffel bags. However, with the soft-top retracted, the trunk is rendered inaccessible, which may cause some inconvenience if you wanted to carry any groceries and a passenger at the same time. The passenger seat does fold down flat though, which can offer some versatility - not that anything big will fit in the Smart car in the first place. As for in-cabin storage, there are two tiny cupholders, a small console cubby, a minuscule glove box, and compact door side pockets on each door.
The Cabrio lineup does without the base Pure model found in the Coupe lineup, which isn't a bad thing because it's rather bare-bones. Thus the lineup starts with the mid-spec Passion, which comes standard with features such as a height-adjustable driver's seat, air conditioning with automatic climate control, power and heated side-view mirrors, retractable soft-top roof, a dashboard-mounted power meter and battery-charge indicator, a 3.5-inch color display in the instrument cluster, and a flat-folding passenger seat. On the top-spec Prime is just a little more luxury, with heated seats and ambient interior lighting included as standard. Driver assists and safety in both models are covered by an integrated rearview camera, cruise control, hill start assist, and crosswind assist.
The EQ Fortwo disappoints in the way of infotainment; as a modern city-centric vehicle, it lacks the essentials that a city-slicker looks for, with no functionality in Apple CarPlay or Android Auto offered as standard. The latter is available along with a seven-inch touchscreen display and eight-speaker audio system via the optional Smart Media-System with JBL Sound Package, but at a price that doesn't feel worth the value. The standard consignment otherwise includes a 3.5-inch color display tethered to Smart's stock audio system and features Smartphone voice recognition, Bluetooth audio streaming, and hands-free calling. There's a single SD-card slot, an auxiliary port for audio streaming, and a USB port for device charging between the seats.
There have been no recalls commissioned for any model year of the current generation EQ Fortwo Cabrio. Smart's standard vehicle coverage is beaten by many of its competitors; while most manufacturers offer ten-year/100,000-mile warranties for the electric components on their EV's, Smart's is capped at eight years/62,000 miles and comes with an unremarkable limited warranty of four years/50,000 miles.
No EQ model of the Fortwo has been evaluated by any US safety authority, with the NHTSA and IIHS only having tested the 2017 model years of the gas-powered coupe. Fortunately, every EQ Fortwo comes with eight standard airbags, and integrated rearview camera, electronic stability control with hill start assist, ABS braking, crosswind assist, and cruise control. A proximity warning system and rear park assist are optional.
The Smart EQ Fortwo Cabrio isn't a vehicle we at CarBuzz would recommend. It's a cute car and one that's highly maneuverable and easy to park due to its small size, but beyond that and its fun, city-centric, easy-commute character, it's rather dull and useless. First of all, nobody wants to be in a pea-sized vehicle on the truck infested roads of America, especially one with a vague safety rating at that. It also doesn't offer a truly great ride quality with its tiny size, feeling bouncy over any imperfect surface, and it offers only a measly 58 miles of range - which is useless outside of the city. It's severely limited in practicality too, offering seats for only two passengers and a cargo bay comparable to a dresser drawer. Finally, the EQ Fortwo tech consignment is probably one of the most disappointing ones out there, comprising a tiny display screen and barely any functionality. Honestly, there's more value to be found in a box of cereal with a surprise toy hidden inside. There are simply far better options available out there, such as the Chevrolet Bolt EV, offering greater EV capabilities and packaged with a whole lot more bang for your buck.
The Cabrio variations of the EQ Fortwo cost quite a lot more than the Coupe versions. With the Passion carrying an MSRP of $28,100 and the Prime and MSRP of $29,100, they're both just under $3,000 more than their coupe counterparts. That's excluding tax, registration, and licensing, as well as Smart's destination charge of $750. There is also around $3,030 worth of optional add-ons and packages available for the top-spec Prime.
If you truly have to buy an EQ Fortwo Cabrio, we would suggest the top-spec Prime. This model comes with a few more luxuries as well as upgraded exterior and interior lighting at only $1,000 more. Along with this model, we recommend including the Climate Package for the heated steering wheel and improved door and floor insulation. Also, add in the Sport Package for some favorable cosmetic enhancements including a leather-wrapped sport steering wheel, brushed stainless steel pedal, and 16-inch eight-Y-spoke light-alloy wheels. The package we recommend over them all, however, is the Smart Media-System with JBL Sound, which upgrades the infotainment system to a seven-inch touchscreen and eight-speaker JBL audio setup, while also adding Android Auto functionality. That's about all one can get out of the Smart EQ Fortwo, however, and all-in, you're looking at a lot of money for not-so-much car.
Along with the EQ Fortwo, the Fiat 500e is not an EV we'd recommend - both offering all the same drawbacks and disappointments as one another. Nevertheless, a comparison is in order; The 500e is equipped with a more powerful 83kW electric motor generating 111 hp and 147 lb-ft, making the 500e about two seconds faster than the EQ Fortwo in acceleration from 0-60 mph. The 500e is not sold in a Cabrio form, however, it does have seating for up to four passengers, even if the rear two are legless. Its cargo bay is smaller than the EQ Fortwo's by about two cubic feet, but its rear seats can fold down to offer more storage space than the Smart could dream of. The 500e also offers an all-electric drive range of 84 miles on a single charge, which is 26 miles more than the EQ Fortwo. While the 500e is around $9,500 more than the EQ Fortwo, it's certainly the better buy if you are forced to choose one.
There isn't even a comparison to be had when it comes to the EQ Fortwo against the Chevy Bolt EV, the latter being a prime example of everything a small EV should be. With 200 hp and 266 lb-ft at the front wheels, the Bolt EV accelerates rapidly, breaking the 60 mph mark in under seven seconds. It's more economy-minded as well, returning EPA figures of 128 city MPGe and 110 highway MPGe over the EQ Fortwo's 124/94 MPGe. Furthermore, the Bolt EV offers a range more than four times that of the EQ Fortwo, managing 238 miles on a single charge. It comes standard with a larger infotainment screen, unlike the EQ Fortwo, including both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay functionality. The Bolt EV costs around $10,000 more than the EQ Fortwo, but even so, there's a whole lot more value and capability for the money. It's worth the extra cash.