The benefits of the Smart Fortwo are easily guessed by just looking at the car – it can be parked in spaces other drivers wouldn’t even consider, running costs are incredibly low and it’s fun to own and drive.
The main weakness of the Smart Fortwo is the fact that it’s obviously not that practical as it has only two seats and limited luggage room. That said there is space for a couple of large adults in the tall cabin and wide-opening doors make it easy to enter and exit. The Smart Fortwo is also clever at creating the feeling of space thanks to the straight dashboard and minimal furniture around the handbrake. The boot is anything but huge with a capacity of 220 litres – but this isn’t that bad when compared to other city cars. The twin section tailgate forms a platform making loading and unloading easy. As has already been mentioned running costs are low whichever smart fotwo you choose as it is cheap to insure and even the most powerful engine averages an impressive 43.5mpg in town and 54.3 on average. You are likely to pay on or close to the sticker price though as discounts are notoriously thin on the ground at dealerships. Being designed by Germans quality is assured and apart from some cheap looking heater controls the Smart Fortwo’s interior has a durable feel to it. It is well laid out and has large easy-to-use buttons and dials. One quibble though is with the driving position as the seat doesn’t adjust for height and the steering wheel is fixed. Low band vehicle tax and congestion charge exemption – plus low fuel consumption – add up to one of the most economic vehicles to own in the city car market.
The Smart Fortwo is one of the most distinctive cars on the road with an iconic design that makes it instantly recognisable wherever it is driven. The original softer shape is now replaced by a more macho and athletic style. Looked at from the front the first thing you notice is the more mature grille, as well as distinctive headlamps with built-in projection technology. The vertical door handles have made a 90 degree turn to the horizontal position on the latest Smart Fortwo. The rear window is less steeply angled so keeping the roof length short and putting the accent firmly on its coupe characteristics. But it is inside where the Smart Fortwo has undergone the most radical changes. The S-shaped dashboard has been replaced by a straight facia which gives an increased sense of space and thus of comfort. External mounted dials and fabric covered areas on doors and instruments still feature but overall the interior has the feel of a more conventional cabin which is an improvement on the original. Power steering is surprisingly only an option as parking without it is more hassle than it should be. The Smart Fortwo offers great green credentials as in addition to excellent carbon dioxide ratings the car uses only water-soluble, solvent-free base coats for the plastic body panels, while the tridion safety cell is powder-coated so no solvents are needed here either. The solid body panels are also recyclable.
Security and Safety
The Smart Fortwo comes with an engine immobiliser which means thieves will struggle to drive it away. There is also remote control central locking. All Smart Fortwo’s are kitted out with a stability control system which helps the driver keep the car on the road especially when conditions are less than ideal. Driver and passenger airbag come as standard and side airbags are optional extras.
The Finishing Touches
Even the entry-level Smart Fortwo gets a rev counter, electric windows, a panoramic glass roof, alloy wheels and steering wheel-mounted gearshift paddles. The more luxury-orientated cars do without the paddles in favour of a fully automatic programme for the clutchless gearbox and add air conditioning.
Smart Fortwo Car Review Summary
The latest Smart Fortwo is a city car offering lots of fun with a surprisingly well kitted out interior and upgraded safety equipment. The city slicker is clearly aimed at the youthful, cost conscious, green voter and they seem likely to be beating a path to its doors. The body is now longer and wider and the engine is linked to a much improved 5-speed semi-automatic transmission which nevertheless is still a bit jerky unless you easy your foot off the accelerator. Engine options are a 999cc three-cylinder petrol engine, with 70, 83 or 97bhp outputs or a 54bhp 800cc diesel. The 70bhp petrol model is probably the best option as it’s the cheapest but still offers ample legs and accelerates from 0-62mph in 13.3 seconds. The diesel is glacially slow. All the power units allow you to get to the supermarket and back on a few drops of fuel.