"The highly recognisable Smart ForTwo Cabriolet is the smallest convertible car you can buy, and it's ideal for use in built-up areas, where space is at a premium"
The Smart ForTwo Cabriolet is an attractive, head turning car. The clever folding roof design and brilliant packaging tempts buyers looking for a cheap and efficient city car that can provide fun in the sun with the ability to venture out of the city on the open road. There are three equipment levels available, Pulse, Passion and Brabus xclusive. The recently updated version is now slightly larger but still only measures 2.69 metres in length, so it's still small enough to park at right angles to the kerb. The new 1.0-litre petrol petrol engines are smooth and frugal, producing very low emissions. The latest 70bhp micro hybrid drive model encorporates a stop/start system helping it to return 67.3mpg.
In Cabriolet guise the Fortwo is available with three 1.0-litre petrol engines, 70-, 83- or 101bhp. Unless buyers are keen to use the compact convertible on the open road regularly, the entry level version provides the best mix of nippy performance and economy. Good visibility and a tight turning circle make city driving a doddle. Twisty roads and roundabouts still highlight the nervous handling found in first generation models.
The semi-automatic gearbox is jerky in use, especially when shifting up at speed, and requires careful use of the throttle for smooth progress. The small, rear mounted engines are fine around town but once up to speed or when climbing hills are noisy and can become tiresome. Re-designed seats are much more comfortable than in previous models
Smart is owned by Mercedes, and the ForTwo uses parts from the rest of the firm's line-up. The three-cylinder engines should be reliable, but servicing costs are expensive.
With up to 220 litres of boot storage there is an improvement over the previous model, but the Fortwo Cabriolet cannot handle large suitcases or big, bulky items. It is a strict two-seater but there is a useful glovebox and two doorbins for storing light items such as mobile phones and handbags. The removable roof rails slot cleverly into a hidden area behind the rear bootlid.
Value for money
Like the hardtop, entry-level Pulse cars are inexpensive to buy, but equipment levels are lacking. You get air-conditioning, alloy wheels, Bluetooth and electric windows. Passion models add upmarket extras like satellite navigation and a panoramic glass roof, while the sporty Brabus version comes with heated leather seats and a bodykit. The Tailor Made service allows Brabus buyers to personalise their car's colour and interior finish with thousands of combinations - but it comes at a price.
The Fortwo Cabriolet Brabus is capable of 52.3mpg and 124g/km, so road tax will cost £95 per year - and that's the most expensive car in the range. The 83bhp turbo engine offers 54.3mpg and 120g/km (£30 per year) and the 70bhp hybrid drive unit is even better with 67.3mpg and 104g/km (£20 per year). All models also fall below insurance group seven.