Depending on your outlook on life, Smart’s diminutive ForTwo is either “cute and sporty” or looks like “Shaq’s high-tops with wheels.” smart cars have always been highly polarizing vehicles, in the very same—but inverted—way in which Hummer’s H2 caused both chrome-wheeled devotion and virulent hatred in the early aughts. And this drama has always been reflected in American sales: while Smart sells plenty in Europe, they have never quite caught on in America. Primarily because we have more space, and secondarily because we like our things BIG.
But there are places in America where space is at a premium, and it is in these tight pockets of urban living where the smart fortwo—both in Coupe and droptop Cabriolet form—makes a lot of sense. Because sometimes a vehicle is good despite being small, and other times it’s good precisely because it is small. Ease of parking in congested city environments, a relatively thin body that can squeeze through minute gaps in traffic, a small wheelbase that allows the car to pirouette at stop signs—if you’ve ever enjoyed a car with these attributes, then you know a pocket-sized footprint is an asset, not a detriment.
To experience the vehicles on both freeways and open boulevards, Smart invited a handful of journalists to drive their droptop ForTwo Cabriolet to Palm Springs on Coachella weekend. The reactions from the swarms of young passersby was almost universally positive, so the car does seem to resonate with the millennial set—that much is clear. Available in four trims (Pure, Passion, Prime and Proxy), we were only offered Primes for the trip but that does seem to be the sweet spot in the value/features department. After four days driving the convertible around the Desert Cities, these are the 10 Things We Learned About the Smartcar Cabrio.