What car should I buy: The MINI Hardtop 2 Door or the Smart USA EQ Fortwo Pure Coupe?

November 19th, 2019 by

There’s no denying either car when you see them coming down the street. Both are recognizable from a distance: the Smart EQ Fortwo with its subcompact fit in your back pocket size, and the MINI Hardtop 2 Door with its classic Italian Job past and English styling. In a sense, it’s like comparing apples to oranges, and yet, they are often talked about in the same circles. It’s our intent to cut through some of the competition fog and present a side by side comparison of the two cars, which new vehicle may be right for you, and what your next right step will be.

What can you tell me about their costs?

These two cars are nothing like one another, yet they are priced similarly, have about the same range costs, and size wise, the backseat is the only real difference. Before we tackle anything else, let’s talk about costs. 

The MINI Hardtop has a price range of $24k – $30k, with the premium Sport “S” model can push it north of $35k. The Smart Fortwo has a range of $24k – $27k, with their added Sports package pushing it close to $30k. There is also a tax credit for buying and driving an electric vehicle, so actual costs may be slightly lower for the Smart car. But in essence, the basic purchase costs are relatively the same. 

Advantage: Smart

How do they compare in size? 

The biggest difference is that the Fortwo is only a two seater (hence the name). This is where the MINI stands out a little: it’s a four seater with plenty of room for storage. No, you aren’t going to be hauling all the luggage for a sports team in the trunk, but you are going to enjoy getting to your destination, and bringing others along for the ride. 

Maybe that’s the key difference: Smart car is a pure commuter car for short trips with one and a buddy, while the MINI is whatever you want to make of it. It gets 31 mpg average, so it’s no slouch in the mileage game, and when you join up with three of your friends for the daily commute, it makes the journey all the better. 

Advantage: MINI

How do they perform on the open road? 

This is where there is significant separation. While the costs are similar and the sizing comparison makes sense in respect to each company, the performance of the two cars could not be any more different. 

While the Smart edges the MINI out in costs by a small percentage and gives you great range for a small charge, the MINI leaves the Smart in its rearview before it even gets off the line. While the Fortwo can go 0-60 in 11.4 seconds, the Hardtop can get there in nearly half the time, all while having the highest safety rating the IIHS offers (compared to “well enough” for the Fortwo). This means that not only do you have more power when you need it, you are having more fun while driving safe. 

Perhaps that’s the bottom line: At the end of the day, what car would you rather drive? A timeless icon that is the MINI Hardtop, or the Smart Fortwo, a car that is often and quite literally, overlooked in traffic? 

Advantage: MINI 

Yes — that may sound like we are taking a jab at the competition, but really, we aren’t. Because while we are huge fans of the brand, we think there are better options available, and we want the best for you and your family. 

“This comparison wasn’t even fair. You compared a two seater electric car and a four seater gas vehicle.”

Yeah, you’re right. 

But in a few months when we launch the MINI Electric, will you still be saying the same thing?