2019 Chevrolet Bolt vs. 2019 Smart ForTwo Electric Drive

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

In the past twenty years hundreds of infants and young children have died after being left in vehicles, usually by accident. When turning the vehicle off, drivers of the Bolt are reminded to check the back seat if they opened the rear door before starting out. The ForTwo Electric Drive doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.

The Bolt offers optional Low Speed Forward Automatic Braking, which use forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The ForTwo Electric Drive offers an available collision warning system without the automated brake feature that would prevent or reduce the collision if the driver fails to react.

The Bolt’s optional lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane and gently nudges the vehicle back towards its lane. The ForTwo Electric Drive doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

The Bolt Premier has a standard Surround Vision to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The ForTwo Electric Drive only offers a rear monitor and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the front or sides.

The Bolt’s optional blind spot warning system uses digital cameras monitored by computer to alert the driver to moving objects in the vehicle’s blind spots where the side view mirrors don’t reveal them. The ForTwo Electric Drive doesn’t offer a system to reveal objects in the driver’s blind spots.

To help make backing safer, the Bolt’s optional cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The ForTwo Electric Drive doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

The Bolt has standard OnStar®, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to get turn-by-turn driving directions, remotely unlock your doors if you lock your keys in, help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The ForTwo Electric Drive doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the Bolt and the ForTwo Electric Drive have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights and rearview cameras.

The Chevrolet Bolt weighs 1180 to 1200 pounds more than the Smart ForTwo Electric Drive. The NHTSA advises that heavier cars are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts. Crosswinds also affect lighter cars more.

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, and with its optional front crash prevention system, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Bolt the rating of “Top Pick” for 2017, a rating granted to only 154 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The ForTwo Electric Drive has not been fully tested, yet, but doesn’t qualify for 2017 “Top Pick.”

Warranty

Chevrolet’s powertrain warranty covers the Bolt 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Smart covers the ForTwo Electric Drive. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 5 years or 60,000 miles. Coverage on the ForTwo Electric Drive ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

The Bolt’s corrosion warranty is 2 years and 50,000 miles longer than the ForTwo Electric Drive’s (6/100,000 vs. 4/50,000).

Chevrolet pays for the first scheduled maintenance on the Bolt. Chevrolet will pay for the first oil change, lubrication and any other required maintenance in the first year. Smart doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the ForTwo Electric Drive.

There are almost 115 times as many Chevrolet dealers as there are Smart dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Bolt’s warranty.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Bolt third among small cars in their 2018 Initial Quality Study. The ForTwo Electric Drive isn’t in the top three in its category.

Engine

The Bolt’s electric motor produces 120 more horsepower (200 vs. 80) and 148 lbs.-ft. more torque (266 vs. 118) than the ForTwo Electric Drive’s electric motor.

As tested in Motor Trend the Chevrolet Bolt is faster than the Smart ForTwo Electric Drive:

 

Bolt

ForTwo

Zero to 60 MPH

6.3 sec

9 sec

Quarter Mile

14.9 sec

17 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

93.1 MPH

77.9 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Bolt gets better fuel mileage than the ForTwo Electric Drive (128 city/110 hwy vs. 124 city/94 hwy MPGe).

The Bolt’s maximum EPA estimated driving range is 238 miles on a full charge, over 4 times as far as the ForTwo Electric Drive’s 58-mile range.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Bolt’s brake rotors are larger than those on the ForTwo Electric Drive:

 

Bolt

ForTwo

Front Rotors

10.9 inches

10.2 inches

Rear Rotors

10.4 inches

9” drums

The Chevrolet Bolt has standard four-wheel disc brakes for better stopping power and improved directional control in poor weather. Only rear drums come on the ForTwo Electric Drive. Drums can heat up and make stops longer, especially with antilock brakes that work much harder than conventional brakes.

In an emergency stopping situation, many drivers don’t press the brakes with enough force to stop the vehicle in the shortest distance. The Bolt has a standard brake assist system to detect emergency braking situations (by how hard and how quickly the brake pedal is pressed) and then automatically apply maximum braking immediately in order to help prevent a collision. The ForTwo Electric Drive doesn’t offer a brake assist feature.

The Bolt stops shorter than the ForTwo Electric Drive:

 

Bolt

ForTwo

 

60 to 0 MPH

128 feet

131 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Bolt has larger tires than the ForTwo Electric Drive (215/50R17 vs. 165/65R15). The Bolt’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the ForTwo Electric Drive (215/50R17 vs. 185/50R16).

The Bolt’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 50 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the ForTwo Electric Drive’s standard 65 series front and 60 series rear tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Bolt has standard 17-inch wheels. Smaller 15-inch wheels are standard on the ForTwo Electric Drive. The ForTwo Electric Drive’s largest wheels are only 16-inches.

The Chevrolet Bolt’s wheels have 5 lugs for longer wheel bearing life, less chance of rotor warping and greater strength. The Smart ForTwo Electric Drive only has 4 wheel lugs per wheel.

The Bolt has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The ForTwo Electric Drive doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Having a flat tire is dangerous, inconvenient and expensive. The self-sealing tires standard on the Bolt can automatically seal most punctures up to 3/16 of an inch, effectively preventing most flat tires. The ForTwo Electric Drive doesn’t offer self-sealing tires.

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Bolt’s wheelbase is 28.7 inches longer than on the ForTwo Electric Drive (102.4 inches vs. 73.7 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Bolt is 1.3 inches wider in the front and 2.8 inches wider in the rear than on the ForTwo Electric Drive.

The Bolt LT handles at .78 G’s, while the ForTwo Electric Drive Passion Coupe pulls only .71 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

Passenger Space

The Bolt has standard seating for 5 passengers; the ForTwo Electric Drive can only carry 2.

The Bolt has 49 cubic feet more passenger volume than the ForTwo Electric Drive (94.4 vs. 45.4).

Cargo Capacity

The Bolt has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the ForTwo Electric Drive Coupe (16.9 vs. 9.2 cubic feet).

The Bolt’s liftgate lifts up in one piece, completely out of the way of loading and unloading, while sheltering the cargo loading area. The ForTwo Electric Drive’s tailgate’s top part raises up, but the bottom part lowers, getting in the way of loading and making an uneven surface for sliding cargo.

Ergonomics

To help each driver find a more comfortable driving position, the Bolt has a telescoping steering wheel. Much better than just a tilt steering wheel or adjustable seat, this allows a short driver to sit further from the steering wheel while maintaining contact with the pedals. The ForTwo Electric Drive doesn’t offer a telescoping steering wheel.

The Bolt’s standard power windows have a locking feature to keep children in the rear seat from operating them. Smart does not offer a locking feature on the ForTwo Electric Drive’s standard power windows.

The Bolt’s front and rear power windows all lower with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The ForTwo Electric Drive’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open them fully.

Keyless Access standard on the Bolt allows you to unlock the doors, trunk and start the engine all without removing a key from pocket or purse. This eliminates searching for keys before loading groceries, getting in the vehicle in bad weather or making a hurried start to your trip. The Smart ForTwo Electric Drive doesn’t offer an advanced key system.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Bolt has a standard rear wiper. The ForTwo Electric Drive Cabrio doesn’t offer a rear wiper.

The Bolt has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. The ForTwo Electric Drive only offers an automatic headlight on/off feature as an extra cost option.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the Bolt detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The ForTwo Electric Drive doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the Bolt has standard extendable sun visors. The ForTwo Electric Drive doesn’t offer extendable visors.

The Bolt’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Smart charges extra for heated mirrors on the ForTwo Electric Drive.

The Bolt’s optional rear view mirror has an automatic dimming feature. This mirror can be set to automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on it, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The ForTwo Electric Drive doesn’t offer the luxury of an automatic dimming rear view mirror.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® chose the Chevrolet Bolt as its “Top Pick,” the highest scoring vehicle in its category, based on reliability, safety and performance.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Bolt first among small cars in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The ForTwo Electric Drive isn’t in the top three.

The Bolt was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” in 2017. The ForTwo Electric Drive has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.

The Bolt was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” in 2017. The ForTwo Electric Drive has never been an “All Star.”

A group of representative automotive journalists from North America selected the Bolt as the 2017 North American Car of the Year. The ForTwo Electric Drive has never been chosen.

The Chevrolet Bolt outsold the Smart ForTwo by over 14 to one during 2018.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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