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Smart Fortwo

Worst Subcompact Car - 2013 Smart Fortwo: You can buy a Smart car for a very reasonable $12,420, but you'll do without power steering, power windows, air-conditioning or a radio. Adding those common items brings the cost to $15,160, a price greater than other similarly equipped subcompacts that include a backseat.

Then there's the matter of driving it. The Smart needs 14.1 seconds to get to 60 mph and once there feels as if it'll be blown off the road by every passing tractor-trailer. Its three-cylinder engine returns a frugal EPA-estimated 36 mpg combined, but requires premium fuel. Its tiny dimensions allow it to squeeze into parking spots nothing else could attempt, but its horrible single-clutch automated manual transmission makes doing so a herky-jerky and potentially bumper-tapping experience. Once under way, that slow-shifting transmission will have you bobbing forward with every upshift as if a first-time driver is rowing the gears.

You'll note we haven't yet mentioned the clown car styling, but why bother? On paper and in practice, the Smart is an oxymoron.