Smart cars are all the rage, these days, especially in a world where every electronic device imaginable is smart. From cars with Wi-Fi capabilities to cars that drive themselves, modern cars have features that many of us could only dream of just a few years ago.
Most smart cars are renowned for being small in size and economical in fuel efficiency. They’re not as popular in America as you might hope; these cars have gotten a bad rap for being sissy vehicles. But there’s certainly nothing wimpy about these compact cars. Smaller smart vehicles are perfect for the minimalistic driver hoping to reduce their carbon footprint, which is especially important given the drastic climate changes our planet has faced in recent years.
Not all smart cars are created equal. There are some modded smart cars out there that give even traditional cars and trucks a run for their money. We’ve rounded up a few of our favorite smart cars – both stock and modded – to show you there are some serious (and fun) benefits when it comes to making the switch.
Standard Smart Cars
If you’re looking for a run-of-the-mill smart car that’s roomy and good on gas, this part of the list is definitely for you. Check out some of our favorite stock smart cars, equipped with essential safety features:
2016 smartfortwo. One of the latest smart cars to hit the auto scene is the smartfortwo. This smart car is a little bigger than the average model – hence the name. The smartfortwo is one of the more affordable options, at just $16,000. The smartfortwo also has plenty of room in the trunk, given its size, which is a common concern among smart car shoppers.
An added bonus is that the smartfortwo can survive a 250-mile drive in a snowstorm, which means this smart car is anything but wussy. In fact, it’s so safe that its safety tests gave the Mercedes-Benz S-Class a run for its money. The upgraded version of the smartfortwo also includes extra safety features like collision warnings, automatic braking, and drift sensing, to name a few. If you’re looking for a durable smart car that’s also fuel-efficient and roomy, the smartfortwo is the option for you.
2017 Smart Electric Drive. Offering a tight-turning radius, superb handling, and one of the smoothest riding experiences around, the Smart ED is one of the best of its kind. A key feature of the Smart ED is its braking system. The smart car includes a sensor that actually monitors nearby traffic conditions. When the car decelerates, the sensor regulates how the car stores energy, which helps to maximize battery life and performance.
Depending on the voltage and type of charging outlet used, the Smart ED can recharge in as little as three hours, although the average charging time is a little over sixteen hours. Another added bonus is that you can control your smart car with your smartphone. The Smart Control app lets you monitor tire pressure, see when your car needs its next service, and control the interior temperature. No need to idle your car for ages on those cold winter mornings.
Modded Smart Cars
For those who like to tinker with their toys, you’ll love these modded smart cars. The ones we’ve included here are some of the wackiest and most overpowered smart cars on the planet.
Smart forfun2. You probably never thought you’d see a smart car on monster truck wheels, but the world can be full of pleasant surprises. The follow-up to the original Smart forfun, designed and manufactured by Daimler-Chrysler, makes for an excellent off-roader, even with just 84 horsepower and a 5.8-liter diesel engine.
Looks can be deceiving, though – while it may appear that someone just stuck some monster truck wheels on a smart car, this outlandish hybrid required some intricate designs in order to work. Rally racing champ Stefan Attart worked on the special design for several months before the vehicle became a reality.
Unfortunately, you’re probably not going to be able to buy this monstrously adorable car anytime soon. You can check out a video of the Smart forfun2 in action here. When you see it, you may have to do a double take – the Smart forfun2 is more than twelve feet tall with tires over 50 inches in diameter!
The Smartuki. Most smart cars have a maximum horsepower of about 85 to 90. Not the Smartuki. Equipped with a stunning Suzuki GSXR1000 engine that delivers a whopping 180 horsepower, this bad boy can go from 0 to 60 in 4.2 seconds. That’s an entire 6 seconds less than your average smart car. It also has a top speed of 130 mph, which is about 40 to 50 miles more than most smart cars.
The Smartuki is the unique creation of Peter Bee, an employee at MHP Exhaust. Interested in the smart car from the start, Bee decided to tweak his own smart car to give it a little more oomph. He was able to make enough modifications so that his smart car, which maxed out at 60 horsepower, reached 100 horsepower.
But he didn’t stop there. Bee wondered what would happen if you put a motorbike engine in a smart car. He then worked with Z Cars to create the Smartuki. The one-of-a-kind car features a titanium exhaust system in addition to the fully integrated control system of the Suzuki GSXR1000.
This is another one that’s not available to the because it’s the only one that exists – for the moment. Z Cars are hoping to offer it as an option soon. We certainly can’t wait until this one hits the market. When it reaches the final stages of mass production, the Smartuki will render the stereotype of null and void.
Even though they haven’t made it big in America yet, we’re hoping smart cars will really take off this year. What stock smart cars lack in horsepower and space, they make up for in control, handling, comfort, and fuel efficiency. Newer stock models are also bigger than previous models, which will soon make the space argument irrelevant.
Modded smart cars prove that smart cars aren’t just small and fuel efficient – they’re also fun. From smart car/monster truck hybrids to smart cars with tripled horsepower, smart cars have just as much potential for modification as the mod-friendly Honda Civic. As time goes on and smart cars offer more advanced features, it is likely we will see more of them on American highways.