Test Drive: Smart ForFour

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This month Morveth Ward has been reviewing the new Smart ForFour. Can the little city car hack urban/rural life in Cornwall?

Though entirely different and mostly incomparable, reviewing the Smart ForFour reminds me of test-driving the Nissan Leaf – taking a car completely out of its comfort zone.

The Smart ForFour is designed and marketed as a city car, so is it pointless for life as a business person in Cornwall? At first I was concerned, the original Smart ForTwo (2 seats) is tiny, virtually smaller and more agile than for anything else on the market that will slip into the smallest of parking spaces, giving it a real niche.

The ForFour (4 seats) doesn’t benefit entirely from this same niche for the simple reason that it is larger, and is now open to competition from a much wider market.

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Being rear-engined and RWD means that the Smart has an absolutely baffling turning circle, it’s almost unfathomably good, and reverse gear is rarely required! You would think this great feature would nonetheless have its limitations (which it does of course) but the whole feel and nimbleness of the car really distinguishes it.

This nimbleness is perpetuated in rural driving too, feeling agile at all times and it will happily cruise along on the A30 too. It also has decent ground clearance, uninhibited by most rural lanes.

The nimbleness not only translates as practical, but also fun. Despite (former) Top Gear presenter Jeremey Clarkson commonly inferring that fun is almost invariably derived from power, I don’t personally agree.

This Smart is one of the most enjoyable cars I’ve tested yet. So many new cars all feel (and look) the same, this doesn’t. It’s subjectively ugly, bug-like looks and bright interior make it quirky aesthetically and the willing chassis and growl from the little 3 cylinder engine make the drive surprisingly entertaining. This Smart just pervades ‘fun’.

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It is fairly practical too with a roomy cabin and adequate boot space, which is relatively unencumbered by the engine. Oh, and it’s economical and low emitting!

Overall, recommending the Smart ForFour would of course depend on your lifestyle (more so than it would with others) but importantly I would definitely recommend to those who it would suit and it does cope with life in Cornwall rather well, so don’t assume that it’s just for the big smoke.

Key Technical Data

Price (OTR)

From £11620 or £149 pm

Performance

(71 bhp version)

Acceleration 0-62 mph (s): 15.9

Top Speed: 94 mph

 Economy

Fuel consumption (combined): 67.3 mpg

Emissions (Co2): 97 (combined) g/km

Contact

Mercedes-Benz of Truro: t 01872 520900 www.mercedesbenzoftruro.co.uk