Smart ForTwo hatchback

Price  £11,125 - £14,110

Smart ForTwo hatchback

reviewed by Carbuyer

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

At a glance

The greenest
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The cheapest
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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 original Smart ForTwo was conceived as a two-seater car that could tackle city streets like nothing else. Famously, it was so short that you could park it nose-on to the kerb without obstructing traffic, while tiny engines kept running costs to a minimum.

As clever as it was, the original model had its fair share of faults. The automated manual gearbox was supposed to make it easy to drive in town, but in reality it was jerky and slow to shift gear. The Smart's tiny proportions also made for a bumpy ride and it felt unstable on the motorway on blustery days.

The latest ForTwo has improved matters: its twin-clutch six-speed gearbox is much smoother than before and the car generally feels more stable. The hallmarks of the original have remained, though: the engine is mounted at the back and it's still miniscule in every respect. The ForTwo is now based on the larger ForFour, which itself shares components with the Renault Twingo – another tiny city car with a rear-mounted engine.

There's a choice of two three-cylinder petrol engines – a 1.0-litre and a turbocharged 0.9-litre with more power. They’re both very cheap to run, but the extra poke from the turbo version makes the ForTwo much easier to live with, as the 1.0-litre is very sluggish.

Visually, there's no doubt the latest ForTwo is a Smart. It sits upright, while the exposed safety cell, known as Tridion, has been carried over from the previous model and is painted a different colour to the rest of the body. There are a lot of personalisation options and bright colours, both for the exterior and the cabin.

Standard equipment includes climate control, LED daytime running lights, an engine stop-start system to help save fuel, central locking and electric front windows.

Like its predecessor, the current car is hampered by a high price tag. It costs considerably more than conventional city-car rivals such as the Fiat Panda, Volkswagen up! and Hyundai i10.

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."
Last updated 
20 Oct 2015
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