Smart Fortwo

The Essentials

  • Price from £9,200
  • What Car? says: 2 star rating
  • Fuel economy: up to 85.6mpg
  • What is it? Dinky just-for-two city car that can park in tiny spaces.

Great

  • It's so compact, you can park it almost anywhere
  • Very cheap to run
  • Nippy and fun to drive around town

Gripes

  • The spec on basic cars is really stingy
  • Stiff suspension means you feel every ripple in the road
  • Not every driver will be able to get comfortable
  • Drive

    Just nippy enough to make town driving acceptable but too noisy and firm for our tastes

  • Inside

    If you're very tall or petite, you might struggle to get comfy

  • Safety

    You get stability control but just two airbags as standard

  • Reliability

    Skip the basic model and it feels pretty upmarket

  • Space

    Plenty of space, so long as there's only two of you

  • Standard and extras

    All come with Bluetooth, air-con and electric windows; top-spec Brabus cars have sporty bodykit and suspension

  • What's it like to drive?

    You can park the Smart Fortwo in places most drivers wouldn't even consider, making it a sensible choice for space-poor urbanites. It's zippy around town and best kept there where the lower-powered petrol engine is sufficient. Power steering costs extra but will help with those crafty parking manoeuvres. Because it's so tall, the Fortwo needs stiff suspension to stop it toppling over in corners - make sure you dodge deep potholes. Forget about relaxing: the engine is too noisy and the semi-automatic gearbox too jerky.

  • What's it like inside?

    Very limited adjustment makes getting comfortable at the wheel more of a challenge than it might be. The funky interior has simple, oversized controls. It's strictly for two, but even if you and your passenger are six foot or taller, you'll have no trouble fitting in. The 220 litre boot is smaller than that of a VW Up but bigger than a Toyota Aygo's. Entry-level models have air-con, alloys, Bluetooth and steering-wheel paddles to change gear.

  • How reliable is it?

    Safety-wise, you get stability control and two airbags, but have to pay extra for side airbags.
    Owners love their Fortwos but rated it below average for reliability in the 2012 JD Power customer satisfaction survey.

  • Should I buy one?

    The Smart Fortwo is beautifully cheap to run and huge fun to personalise. If you never venture out of a 30mph zone and struggle to find parking spaces it might be the answer, but it's not great to drive and not exactly practical.