When it goes on sale in the U.S. this fall, the 2017 Smart Fortwo Cabrio may be the cheapest convertible you can buy. The little two seater will start at $19,650 with the standard five-speed manual transmission, or $20,640 with the optional six-speed dual-clutch automatic. both prices include destination.
Those prices apply to the base Passion model, but buyers can also trade up to the Prime and Proxy trim levels. Regardless of what whimsically named trim level you choose, the Fortwo Cabrio comes with a 0.9-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine, just like the current Fortwo coupe. The tiny engine sends 89 horsepower and 100 pound-feet of torque to the rear wheels.
The Fortwo Cabrio debuted at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show last year. It’s based on the same platform as the 2016 Fortwo coupe. Rather than introduce both body styles at the same time, Smart decided to launch the coupe as a 2016 model and give the convertible Cabrio a year off. The Cabrio will arrive in U.S. showrooms about a year after it was first shown in Frankfurt, and just as the weather starts to become less than optimal for driving with the top down.
Equipped with a new “Tritop” roof, the Fortwo Cabrio lets drivers motor with the top fully open, fully closed, or partially open, like a big sunroof. The roof takes 12 seconds to open, something that can be done on the move. It can even be operated remotely using the key fob. However, drivers still must manually remove and stow a pair of side bars to fully open the roof.
In addition to the new convertible top and updated platform, the Fortwo Cabrio gains some new driver-assistance systems. Standard Crosswind Assist helps to correct for gusts, something that will probably be appreciated in the tall, narrow Smart. Hill-Start Assist is standard as well, and forward collision warning is optional.
The next Smart Fortwo variant will be a redesigned version of the Electric Drive model. Set to debut at the 2016 Paris Motor Show, it will switch over to the new Smart platform. Like the current model, it will probably be offered as a coupe or convertible.