Review

Smart ForTwo hatchback

Price  £11,125 - £14,705

Smart ForTwo hatchback

reviewed by Carbuyer

Pros
  • Low running costs
  • Tight turning circle
  • Extremely manoeuvrable
Cons
  • Unrefined at higher speeds
  • Entry-level engine is slow
  • Poor crash-test rating

At a glance

The greenest
71 hp proxy 3dr £11,820
The cheapest
71 hp passion 3dr £11,125
The fastest
90 hp proxy premium plus 3dr £13,710
Top of the range
90 hp proxy premium plus auto 3dr £14,705

"The new Smart ForTwo continues with the tradition of small, nippy city cars that the original started – but it’s still flawed."

The first Smart ForTwo was designed as the ultimate city car. Its diminutive size meant that parking and nipping around tight city streets was a doddle (it was so small you could park it perpendicular to the kerb in lots of parking bays and not obstruct traffic), and its low weight and small engines made it cheap to run.

It was a clever concept but the car was by no means flawless. The gearbox was jerky and sluggish, making it slow to change gear, and the ForTwo's size also meant the ride was poor and the car felt vulnerable at higher speeds, particularly if it was windy.

The latest ForTwo is a big improvement; a twin-clutch six-speed gearbox is much slicker and more enjoyable to use, and the car feels much more stable than before. The ForTwo still has its engine in the back but is now based on the larger Smart ForFour, which itself has much in common mechanically with the Renault Twingo, another tiny city car with its engine in the back.

Two petrol options are available if you’re buying a Smart ForTwo and both of them are three-cylinder engines. The 1.0-litre engine is the cheaper of the two but the 0.9-litre is more powerful thanks to a turbocharger. It's worth paying the extra for the latter as both engines are good in terms of running costs but the extra power of the 0.9-litre makes the ForTwo much easier to live with. The car feels sluggish with the 1.0-litre engine.

The latest ForTwo is instantly recognisable as a Smart. Its dinky, upright stance and exposed Tridion safety cell (painted in a different colour to the rest of the body) have been carried over from the previous model and there is scope to make the car your own via a range of personalisation options for both the outside of the car and its interior.

One of the biggest drawbacks of the Smart ForTwo is its high price tag but you do at least get plenty of standard kit, including climate control, stop-start engine technology to improve economy, electric windows, and LED daytime running lights.

Other more conventional city cars, such as the Fiat Panda, Volkswagen up!, Skoda Citigo and Hyundai i10, are more practical and cheaper than the Smart ForTwo, but whether or not you’re happy to pay the extra is likely to depend on how much you value the car's quirky layout and styling.

MPG, running costs & CO2

4.3 / 5

Small petrol engines and some clever design features mean the Smart ForTwo is cheap to run

Engines, drive & performance

3.3 / 5

Much better to drive than the old car, but the Smart ForTwo still isn’t ideally suited to long motorway drives

Interior & comfort

3.2 / 5

The new Smart ForTwo feels nicer inside than the old model and has lots of standard equipment

Practicality & boot space

3.7 / 5

The Smart ForTwo is a small two-seater, but it makes good use of the space it has

Reliability & safety

4 / 5

Tough new testing means the Smart ForTwo four-star safety rating is comparable to older five-star cars

What the others say

3.3 / 5
based on 2 reviews
3 / 5
"In the cabin, a new dash and centre console design are far more upmarket than before but there are still some cheap looking plastics lurking around."
3.5 / 5
"One look at the engines' performance figures might suggest this is a boring car to drive, but there's an ace up the little Smart's sleeve: it has a frankly incredible turning circle and brilliant steering."
What owners say 
1
1 /5 based on 1 reviews
0%
 of people would recommend this car to a friend

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Last updated 
11 Apr 2016
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