Smart cars have been on the market since 1994, although their spread across the world was somewhat slower than other vehicles. It wasn't until the 2000s that people got used to seeing these tiny cars on the street. Their unique visual appearance looking almost like half a car made the standouts, and they were first heavily marketed in Europe because the streets there are smaller, and many drivers want what they call a city car which is just something to drive around town, navigate the narrow streets of many old European cities, and fit into smaller parking spaces while offering exceptional fuel economy.
Smart cars get their names from two companies. Swatch, the company that makes watches, and Mercedes came together to design the Smart car so the S is from Swatch, the M is from Mercedes, and then ART is a little bit of a creative add on to the whole thing.
In North America, the appeal of the Smart car has been partially it's unique look, but mostly the value that the car is supposed to offer. Not just in terms of sticker price but in terms of gas mileage as well. Because so many drivers are more conscientious these days about fuel economy and environmental impact, vehicles that run on alternative fuel sources like Teslas have become more popular but so have those that have combustion engines and are just more economical about how they use them like the Smart car.
A Smart car is supposed to have gas mileage of around 40 miles per gallon. This is due in part because a Smart car can weigh as much as 700 pounds less than your average American-made automobile.
As of the end of the 2019 model year, Smart cars are actually no longer sold in North America. The company will still offer support for owners of Smart cars in North America, but they have left the market due to low sales and the cost of homologation, according to the representatives from the company.
Smart ForTwo Gas Mileage
Any driver knows there is a big difference between what the fuel economy of a vehicle is according to paperwork, and what the fuel economy is once you're actually out on the road driving. The Smart car is no different.
The website fuelly.com has amassed data from nearly 1,400 Smart ForTwos that have driven for over 21 million miles. This allows them to average out some practical, real world fuel economy to give you a better idea of just how many miles per gallon you're going to get if you invest in a Smart car.
2018 Smart ForTwo
Based on their data, the 2018 Smart Car average is about 29.5 miles per gallon. They have a limited sample size for that one as there is much more data for older models.
2017 Smart ForTwo
The sample size for the 2017 model of Smart ForTwo was much bigger, and the average miles per gallon for a 2017 Smart ForTwo works out to 36.2 miles per gallon. They tracked drivers across 117,000 miles to get that data, so you can consider it a Fairly reliable snapshot of just what kind of fuel economy this particular Smart model.
2016 Smart ForTwo
The 2016 model has one of the best pools of data from which to get its average. They tracked Smart ForTwo is over 500 6000 miles of driving. The average fuel economy for that much driving and 51 different vehicles that were tracked is 35 miles per gallon even. That is a pretty exceptional fuel economy overall. For instance, the combined city and highway gas mileage for the 2020 Toyota Camry is 26 miles per gallon. That's a pretty remarkable difference between these two vehicles.
2015 Smart ForTwo
With over 300 27,000 miles tracks, the average gas mileage of the 2015 Smart ForTwo worked out to 35.1 miles per gallon.
2014 Smart ForTwo
The gas mileage for the 2014 Smart ForTwo averages out to an incredible 37 miles per gallon. This was determined after tracking vehicles that drove for over 515,000 miles so it's a Fairly reliable number. If you're in the market for an older Smart car, if you can find a 2014 in good condition you can expect to get some decent gas mileage out of it. It's still not the best mileage overall in Smart history, however.
2013 Smart ForTwo
Over 1.6 million miles of driving retract to come up with the statistics for the 2013 Smart ForTwo. Based on that data, the average gas mileage of this year's model is 36.6 miles per gallon.
2012 Smart ForTwo
This time around, 1.18 million miles were tracked to get the average mileage for the 2012 model year of the Smart car, and the average gas mileage for this one turned out to be 39 miles per gallon which is also pretty impressive.
2011 Smart ForTwo
The average gas mileage this year was 37.3 miles per gallon. This is based on data from 74 different Smart cars that travelled for over 1.34 million miles combined.
2010 Smart ForTwo
Arguably one of the best years ever and the Smart cars history, data for the Smart for two's fuel mileage was compiled from 91 different vehicles that travel for a total of 1.3 million miles and total. The gas mileage averaged out to 40.8 miles per gallon.
2009 Smart ForTwo
The data set for this year's model was massive. Over 300 vehicles were tracked across 5.9 million miles of driving. This is probably the single most accurate statistic you'll get for the average gas mileage of a Smart car. Based on this data, the average gas mileage is 37.2 miles per gallon.
2008 Smart ForTwo
Another massive dataset provided the information for this year's statistics. Just short of six million miles were driven by 299 different Smart cars to get the average gas mileage. That worked out to 38.1 miles per gallon.
2007 Smart ForTwo
The data set was much smaller for this year, only 14 Vehicles were tracked over 144,000 miles. Based on that data the average gas mileage is 36.1 miles per gallon.
2006 Smart ForTwo
Compared to every other model year, no other Smart model has achieved a better average gas mileage than the 2006 Smart ForTwo. This data from 70 different vehicles that drove for over 700,000 miles in total. The average gas mileage based on this data is 50.7 miles per gallon. That's bordering on the gas mileage you would get from an electric vehicle. The only downside to consider here is that if you were interested in getting a used 2006 Smart ForTwo at this point, because it's so old you're likely to have reduced gas mileage anyway because of the age of the vehicle. Not to mention there are likely to be some other problems that you would have to face as well.
Other Smart Models
The Smart ForTwo is probably the most popular Smart car model available, they have produced other vehicles as well. The Smart ForFour and the Smart Roadster were two other models that had some popularity as well. These models had similar fuel economy but not quite as good as the Smart ForTwo overall.
How a Smart Car’s Gas Mileage Works
A Smart car has a fuel tank capacity of 8.7 gallons. That includes a 1.3-gallon reserve. You can use that to figure out just how effective these cars would be to get you around. While they claim a fuel economy of about 40 miles per gallon, that would mean you could travel for around 350 miles before we need to stop for gas. Of course, as we've seen, not every model year had exactly 40 miles per gallon fuel economy to boast. But you can easily do the math and figure out just how far you are going to get based on the average mileage of real-world drivers.
With that in mind, you can see that the best model year, the 2006 Smart ForTwo, would get you 441.09 miles before you need to stop and fill up for gas again. That means you could drive from Chicago to Tennessee in a 2006 Smart car on a single tank of gas, assuming there was nothing else wrong with it.
In terms of the lowest gas mileage from the vehicles that we looked at; we're talking about the 2018 model that had 29.5 miles per gallon on average as its fuel economy. Looking at that, with an 8.7-gallon tank, and you can get 256.65 miles on a single tank of gas. That's about the distance from Chicago to Ohio.
Smart Car Fuel Choice
It's worth remembering when you're trying to figure out the potential gas mileage and fuel economy for a Smart car that the manufacturer does have a specific recommendation for the fuel that you put into a Smart car. They don't recommend regular fuel in a Smart car which is to say 87 octane. The manufacturer has recommended a minimum of 91 octane which would be premium fuel for most of us.
That's definitely something to consider if you're looking at getting a Smart car because that is likely how they calculated their own gas mileage, and it will also definitely alter any potential savings that you're going to make at the pump if you're having to pay extra for gas. The data provided for the gas mileage of all those model years didn't actually specify what kind of fuel the drivers were filling up with, or if it makes any difference at all to the overall performance of a Smart car.
Smart Car Performance
In terms of what you get for the gas mileage that a Smart car gives you, the speed of a Smart car is regulated and they've kept it at 90 miles per hour In some models and 84 miles per hour in others. It's not a street racer by any means, and it takes about 15 seconds to go from 0 to 60 miles per hour. All things being equal, that's better than a number of other vehicles that are considered economy cars or compact vehicles as well.
Space is the biggest concern for most Smart car drivers. You're not hauling a lot of here if you buy one of these. Obviously the Smart ForTwo has a little less space overall than the Smart ForFour, which does have a back seat and capacity for some extra passengers. In terms of the Smart ForTwo, but it's just you and a passenger and some limited trunk room so that you can go pick up groceries or bring your gear to the gym when you work out for that sort of thing. Obviously, the car wasn't intended to do heavy moving, and no one would really consider using it for that either. That's also part of the reason the fuel economy is as good as it is. You're never going to be severely weighted down when driving around in a Smart car.
The curb weight of a Smart ForTwo is about 1,940 lb. Compare that to the curb weight of the Honda Fit, a subcompact car that weighs in at about 2,568 lbs. The Mini Cooper, which many people would consider very comfortable to the Smart ForTwo in both size and appearance, even has a curb weight of 2,767 lbs. That's nearly half a ton of difference between the two vehicles, which definitely has a large effect on fuel economy and why the Smart ForTwo is able to boast such impressive numbers across the product lineup.
The Bottom Line
Even though Smart ForTwo is not being produced for North American drivers anymore, there are still about 15 years worth of old Smart for Tuesday that you could be able to pick up if you're interested and buying a used model. The gas mileage of these cars really is impressive and would make them a tempting choice if you're looking for a small but effective vehicle.