We’re a nation that has long equated bigger with better, and nowhere is that more true than in the auto industry, where a car’s worth is normally measured by the pound and inch.
Not so, much of the rest of the world. In markets like Europe and Japan, small is beautiful. But as our own roads grow more crowded, with fuel prices rising and tough new emissions standards going into effect, even American motorists are beginning to appreciate downsized models like the Mini. But how small is too small? Smart, it seems, may have pushed the envelope a bit too far.
Measuring barely eight feet, nose-to-tail, the fortwo microcar is, without question, the smallest mass-market product on U.S. highways. It defines a new generation of so-called “urban commuter cars.”
As the name suggests, the fortwo does, indeed, provide seating for two, with a modest bit of storage space in back. There’s a hardtop version, as well as a sort-of convertible, which features a trick foldback canvas top that provides a more open driving experience than a conventional sunroof.