An arresting choice: The NYPD’s latest police car is the tiny Smart Fortwo

Forget Dodge Chargers or Ford Explorers. For its latest batch of patrol cars, the New York Police Department is thinking small.

The NYPD recently took delivery of 100 Smart Fortwos, and has another 150 on order. Compared to traditional police sedans and SUVs, the tiny Smart might seem like a downgrade for officers, but it’s actually the opposite. That’s because the Fortwos will replace trikes currently used by the NYPD in meter-enforcement service.

Switching from those primitive three-wheelers to actual cars should bring a few benefits to officers patrolling the streets of the Big Apple. The Fortwo’s interior is likely a bit more spacious and quiet, and it features something the trikes lack: air conditioning. The cars will also likely be able to keep up with city traffic better, although they aren’t exactly equipped for high-speed chases.

Read more: Smart Fortwo Electric Drive revealed

The only changes made to the Fortwo for police duty are the addition of radios, NPYD livery, and the requisite flashing lights. That means these cars make do with the same 0.9-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine as civilian models. It produces 89 horsepower and 100 pound-feet of torque. This is enough to get non-police versions of the Fortwo coupe from 0 to 60 mph in 10.5 seconds, and to a top speed of 96 mph, according to Smart.

Speed isn’t everything, though. The Fortwo’s 22.8-foot turning circle make it ideal for urban use, as do its petite dimensions, which mean it won’t take up much more space than the trikes it will replace. Plus, the NYPD still has a diverse array of other car models in its roughly 9,000-vehicle fleet to handle jobs that require more space or speed.

Among the myriad vehicles plying New York City’s streets, the NYPD Smart Fortwo patrol cars will certainly stand out. In a Smart press release, NYPD officer Ralph Jefferson said many people say that the tiny cars are cute. You don’t hear that word used very often to describe a police car.

Product Review

The 2019 Porsche Macan S is a luxurious and quick SUV, but it's no road tripper

The roster of models challenging the Porsche Macan grows annually. The German firm updated its smallest, most affordable SUV with a new engine, more tech features, and subtle design tweaks to keep it looking fresh.
Smart Home

People are stealing Ring doorbells (and it’s no knock-knock joke)

Ring Video Doorbell thefts in a Denver neighborhood raise questions about how much security the smart home devices actually provide. One homeowner and the police have a video of the theft. Here's what to do if your Ring device is stolen.
Smart Home

The Apple HomePod gets a whole lot cheaper today at Target

Apple's HomePod hasn't been the most popular smart speaker on the market but for users who are all in on Apple's heavily policed ecosystem of devices, this smart speaker is on serious sale at Target this week.
Emerging Tech

Elon Musk to unveil tunnel elevators and autonomous pods on December 18

We'll soon learn if Elon Musk's high-speed tunnel plan is a serious effort at ending traffic jams or little more than a fancy theme park ride. A big unveiling event is coming on December 18, a week later than originally planned.

Uber is about to restart self-driving car tests but on a reduced scale

Uber is reported to be on the verge of restarting its autonomous-car test program. The company halted it in March 2018 following a fatal accident involving one of its vehicles, but its cars could be back on the road within weeks.

2019 Ford Ranger saves fuel without sacrificing towing capacity

The 2019 Ford Ranger marks Ford's long-awaited return to the midsize truck segment, which has seen a resurgence lately. But will being late to the party make Ford's job more difficult?

Pininfarina Battista is a 1,900-horsepower, 250-mph electric supercar

The Pininfarina Battista will be the first production car from famed Italian design firm Pininfarina. Named after company founder Battista Pininfarina, it has a claimed 1,900 horsepower and a $2.5 million price tag.

Tesla could show the electric pickup Elon Musk is dying to build in 2019

Tesla has started designing its long-promised pickup truck. The yet-unnamed model will come with dual-motor all-wheel drive and lots of torque, plus it will be able to park itself.
Cars is helping Hyundai mine the artificial intelligence gold rush

In November 2018, Hyundai invested in a startup named We talked to the company's founder to learn more about what that means for consumers in the not-too-distant futures.
Emerging Tech

With this robotic garage, retrieving your car is like using a vending machine

Remembering where we parked our cars can be a real pain. But what if our cars came to find us, rather than the other way around? A new automated robot parking valet system aims to help.

Thinking of opting for a car with a diesel engine? Here's what you need to know

Modern diesel-powered models prove that it is possible to build a clean, efficient diesel engine without sacrificing performance. Here's what you need to know about diesel cars, and how they differ from gasoline-powered models.

Best Products of 2018

Our reception desk has so many brown boxes stacked up, it looks like a loading dock. We’re on a first-name basis with the UPS guy. We get new dishwashers more frequently than most people get new shoes. What we’re trying to say is: We…

These winter-warrior cars will never leave you out in the cold

Snow can be an absolute pain if your vehicle isn't optimized to handle that sort of terrain. If brutal snowstorms are an annual part of your life, we recommend you pick up one of these winter-ready vehicles.

2020 Toyota Supra caught hiding in a trailer without a shred of camouflage

Toyota's plan to once again lure enthusiasts into showrooms involves bringing back the Supra, one of its most emblematic nameplates. Here's what we know so far about the upcoming coupe, which Toyota is developing jointly with BMW.