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Small benefits
Small benefits
It will come as a pleasant surprise to most people that the Smart ForTwo is a real car. Despite outward appearances, sitting in the driver's seat is nothing at all like being trapped in a front-loading washing machine. It's not too different from sitting in any other small car.

There's ample legroom for both occupants. The dashboard can be trimmed in an attractive cloth and the tachometer and a clock stick out of it like a pair of funny crab eyes. In front of you, there's a big, easy-to-read speedometer. All the controls are within easy reach - they'd have to be outside the car not to be - and simple to use.

It's only when you turn your head around and it looks like you could almost lick the back window that anything seems strange. There's enough width behind the seats for a shopping trip's worth of grocery bags, but that's about it.

One could complain about the Smart ForTwo's lack of utility, but being so small creates a utility all its own. This car can fit just about anywhere, so in the scrum of urban driving, it's a natural.

Squeezing around double-parked delivery trucks on narrow side streets is child's play. Finding open parking is as easy as looking for a fire hydrant. There's almost always a few feet of wasted space fore or aft of the 15-foot No Parking zone. Just drive right in.

NEXT: Light touch

Last updated February 25 2008: 3:54 PM ET

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