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- Lots of character
- Cheap to run
- Great for city driving
- Avoid motorways
- Little room for luggage
Inside, there’s enough room for a couple of six-footers. The driver might have a few problems getting comfy though, for the steering wheel is fixed and there’s no height adjustment for the seat. The boot’s 220-litre capacity is comparable with other city cars, and the dash is well laid out and easy to use. It feels solid and durable, with the exception of some flimsy heater controls.
Chief among the Smart’s flaws are its awful five-speed semi-automatic gearbox. It’s slow and jerky in automatic mode and driving it smoothly in manual mode requires far too much concentration for what should be an easy-to-drive city car.
Furthermore, an imprecise throttle response makes smooth getaways tricky. Also worth noting is the numb, inert steering, appallingly firm ride (A trait magnified in the Brabus edition…) and the wearing noise at higher speeds.
Smart’s tiny 800cc diesel is one of the most efficient engines on the road today, and widely considered to be one of the best in the range. It claims 83mpg on the combined cycle, and only 86g/km of CO2. It produces a whopping 54bhp and 96lb ft of torque, spurring the Smart on to a top speed of 84mph.
If it’s a petrol you’re after, Smart’s mhd range of 1.0-litre engines are available with either 71, or 84bhp. Most reviews are for the 71bhp variant, which the critics say revs freely and has a ‘sporty’ exhaust note. Most powerful is the Brabus edition, with has over 100bhp.
Value for money
It’s expensive compared to rivals, some of which have more seats too.
Whichever engine you go for, the Smart should be admirably cheap to run. It’s cheap to insure, and the diesel should manage over 80mpg. Entry level ‘Pulse’ cars come well specced, with air-con, alloys and electric windows. Move up to a ‘Passion’, and you’ll get a panoramic roof and sat-nav.
Entry level models may get alloy wheels and air conditioning as standard, but they do without a locking glovebox. Furthermore, side airbags are only an option on all Smarts. Reassuringly though, driver and passenger airbags as well as a stability control system are standard.
The ForTwo’s lazy gearbox and harsh ride put a dampener on what’s otherwise a decent little city-car.
- Price range:
- £9,575 - £20,395
- 54 - 85
- Date released:
- 2007 (this 2nd generation Smart)
- Replacement due:
- Likely within a year or two.
- Model history:
- The smart fortwo got a facelift in early 2012, which will go on sale from April. Full details here: smart fortwo 2012 facelift- What's Different?
- Engine to go for:
- The 1.0 Petrol with 84bhp gets the most positive reviews
- Engine to avoid:
- Most reviews of the CDI (diesel) engine say it's too noisy
- Other variants:
- There's also the fortwo cabriolet
- Engine naming:
- The CDI engine is a diesel, the mhd is a petrol
Smart fortwo User Reviews
I used to own this car until I handed it down to my son when he passed his driving test. It's so much fun to zip about in, and was perfect for my needs, a spot of city driving, the commute and doing the weekly shop.
Obviously I don't need to point out the wonders of parking this tiny thing, but don't be deceived by it's seemingly small exterior, it doesn't feel cramped once you're inside it. My 6ft1 husband never complained once!
One of the perks is that it's tax free which is always helpful but it's also very cheap to run with excellent fuel economy. It's a very practical and reliable car.
My son does say that on longer journey's (up and down from London to Leeds Uni and back) it's not quite so comfortable but he thinks it's a lot of fun to drive. Sadly, he can't fit many of his belongings in it but clearly we were already aware that this would be the case!
- By Charlotte, who used to own this car