The Smart Fortwo is a unique little car with a unique little name. Our caps lock key isn’t broken - that’s how the company brands itself and the model (who would do such a thing?). It’s a car so dinky it barely justifies capital letters. A cute little two-seater, it’s a fun, easy drive that costs so little to run you might want to buy a couple.
Let’s get straight to the point and address the elephant in the room. Well, the mouse in the room. The Smart Fortwo really is tiny. smart cars have been on the market for a couple of decades now, so we’re now finally used to seeing their short wheelbases and stout, nearly spherical little chassis.
The original smart was odd-looking. Its replacement - the Fortwo - looks a bit more like a car. Just a very small little car. The newer, all-electric versions from 2018 are a tinge prettier, with lower grilles than their predecessors.
While they may still look a little like roller skates to motorists that prefer larger rides, Smart Fortwos are at least rather handsome roller skates.
The newer, all-electric versions from 2018 are a tinge prettier, with lower grilles than their predecessors.
What’s it like to drive?
If there has ever been a car specifically created for the built-up environments and start-stop journeys of the city, it’s the Smart Fortwo. This teeny tiny offering really is the epitome of ‘the little runaround’.
The engine is at the back, meaning there’s loads of room for the front wheels. The turning circle is tiny and parking is almost laughably easy. That rear engine also means plenty of room, allowing for a pleasing driving position.
Day-to-day performance is fine. Head out on the highway and you’ll struggle to getcha motor runnin’. Acceleration, handling, steering and grip are all a bit lacklustre. Manage to get up any speed and much like an evening in front of the telly after a takeaway jalfrezi, the wind noise might spoil your fun.
This teeny tiny offering really is the epitome of ‘the little runaround’.
There’s a certain idiosyncrasy to the smart fortwo’s interior. Everything is quirky and funky, with bold and contrasting colours throughout. These unique design features and layout do make it stand apart from its competitors. As you’d expect from such a small car, everything you need to get your hands on is easily in reach. Once you’re touching it, you feel quality plastics, so it’s a vast improvement on earlier smart models.
As with older smart cars, the rev counter is dash-mounted, giving it a fairly unwarranted place of some prominence on the dashboard. It sits there like a clock on a mantelpiece demanding your attention with very little justification. That’s a fairly minor grumble though, we must admit.
There’s plenty of room inside for such a small car. Of course, only room enough for two people, but still. There’s more room in the back than there is in most roadsters, for instance.
If that lack of a back seat is a real problem but you love everything else you’re hearing about the Fortwo, just add two to the name. The Smart Forfour might just be the car for you. As you might imagine, it’s just like the Fortwo… only for four!
Just like the car itself, the Fortwo’s infotainment system is small, bright, heaps of fun and simple to navigate. A little gem.
Good things come in small packages, they say. In the motoring world, packages don’t come any smaller than the chassis of the smart fortwo. No right-minded motorist expects acres of space inside one of them.
That said, these fun-size things make impressive use of what space they do have. Their large wide-opening doors help in the front, giving that little bit of extra room. It makes a difference.
You might not be exactly shocked to discover that the glovebox of the smart fortwo is quite small. Making up for it, however, is a cute little pop-out storage area beneath the central console. Other than that, interior storage is fairly limited for fairly obvious reasons.
Running costs and reliability
Fortwos are not exactly gas guzzlers. In fact, newer ones don’t even sip petrol at all - they’re all electric. At their most economical you can drive 68.9 miles for every gallon in petrol versions. Electric Fortwos cost around 4p a mile using standard home electricity prices.
As for safety, these mini motors rank highly in their class In fact, the Fortwo has only seen one very small recall, one which affected only a couple of dozen cars worldwide. Users report no consistent issues.
What we love
Microcars are real Marmite affairs. No, we’re not saying they’re best lightly spread on hot buttered toast. They really love ‘em or hate ‘emaffairs. If you need a tiny car to drive around a built-up environment, a car that’s easy to park and extremely economical, the Fortwo should be right up your cul-de-sac. If you don’t, it won’t be. It’s as simple as that.
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If you’re in the market for a microcar for zipping about a town or city, just you or you and someone else, you could do a lot worse than investing in a used smart fortwo. If you anticipate needing to hit the motorways, you may be best casting your net a little further out and letting this lovable little tiddler swim past.
This review was