This electric car is uniquely designed to only fit two passengers and is available for little more than £9,000 ($15,000). Previous incarnations of Smart vehicles lacked interior room, were considered safety hazards and performed poorly on the road. Will the ForTwo model fare any better?
The Smart ForTwo’s design is a great concept and has a steel structure with interchangeable plastic body panels attached. The car appears to perform admirably in crash tests and does well to squeeze its crumple zones in a vehicle that is less than 2.7 metres long. It looks extremely cute but of course there are the usual issues such as lack of storage space that plague any vehicle with this design.
The ForTwo offers slightly more interior space that its immediate predecessor and its passenger seat is offset slightly behind that of the driver’s to create some extra shoulder room. There is also enough legroom and headroom for the average sized person.
The dashboard is straight instead of the usual curved shape which adds to the feeling of spaciousness. The dashboard and doors are topped with a material that looks like wound cotton and feels very pleasant. With a split tailgate, it is possible to stack loads through the glass hatch which is important when you have a boot with just 220 litres of space. Obviously, rival models such as the Panda or 107 have an advantage with back seats.
The Smart ForTwo is ostensibly a city car and is not practical in rural areas. This is a shame because rival cars are useful in open spaces. The 999cc three-cylinder engine produces just 70bhp and while the car is extremely light at 750kg, it performs in a sluggish manner.
While the top speed is 90mph, you are unlikely to get anywhere near that because the Smart ForTwo is affected by crosswinds and it simply isn’t safe to go that fast. While the diesel version offers 96lb ft of torque instead of the 68lb ft of the base petrol version, it takes over 16 seconds to go from 0-62mph. The five-speed automated manual gearbox has too much dead air between shifts and the car bobs as you accelerate.
While this is a novel and some would say innovative model, the Smart ForTwo is impractical for anything other than cruising around urban areas at moderate speeds. Though you will certainly be noticed in this car and parking becomes a whole lot easier, there are numerous rivals that perform far better. Those who prefer ‘conventional’ vehicles will definitely not have their heads turned by the Smart ForTwo.
- Rating – 2/5
- Cost – £9,220 ($15,000)
- Miles Per Gallon Equivalent (MPG): 85 mpg]
- Official Driving Range (Miles): 90 miles
- Standard Charging Time (Hours): 7 hours using mains supply
- Practicality (Seats & Doors): 3 door hatchback, 2 door convertible
- Engine Size: 999cc three-cylinder
- Engine Power: 70bhp
- Transmission: Five-speed automated manual
- Acceleration (0-62mph): 16.2 seconds
- Top Speed (mph): 90mph
- NCAP Safety Rating: 4 stars