smart forfour Passion New Car Review
The smart brand is famous for its tiny fortwo city car, so small you can fit two of them end-to-end in a normal parking space.
This design feat has made the baby smart very popular with city dwellers, but even they sometimes crave for more cabin space, so smart has now produced a new forfour version, roomy enough to take on rivals such as the Renault Twingo and VW Up!
And smart designers have done an outstanding job – the forfour has recently won the City Car class award in the 2016 UK Car Of The Year competition. The judges said the smart forfour was “small but surprisingly practical, affordable to own, and a great drive.”
The forfour, priced from £11,620, can seat four typically-sized adults and of course has four doors, though rear access is tight due to narrow apertures.
It has a clever versatile interior – you can flip over the bases and remove the rear centre console to create more storage without having to fold down the rear seat backrests.
With all seats in use, load space is just 185 litres, but with the seats folded flat, you get an acceptable 975 litres.
The cabin has funky styling, aimed to appeal to young (or young at heart) buyers, and the dials and controls are well-placed for easy use. There are three trim levels but the entry-level Passion featured here is well kitted, including climate and cruise control, alloys wheels and Bluetooth and will meet the needs of most buyers.
In addition to steering-wheel-mounted controls, there is a standard dashboard-mounted cradle to hold a smartphone, and a free app you can download for Apple and Android devices. You can then operate the audio and phone functions, stream music and use a sat-nav all from your phone.( Higher-spec models have integrated sat-sav with a 7-inch screen.)
Forfour comes with a choice of two three-cylinder 0.9 litre petrol engines, one offering 70 hp, the other turbocharged and providing 90hp. The latter is more zesty and more fun and gives a 0-60 mph time of 11.2 seconds and a top speed of 102 mph.
Though made primarily for city use, this version, costing £12,215, has enough power to allow it to cruise happily on motorways without the buzz-box effect that some city cars produce at higher speeds. Fuel economy is respectable at 65.7 mph combined.
Out and about, the forfour has nimble driving dynamics, its light steering and small turning circle making it ideal to drive and park in the urban jungle. Its ride quality is fine on smooth surfaces but can be fidgety and sometime bouncy if the tarmac is rutted or undulating.
Forward vision on the forfour is excellent thanks to a large windscreen and narrow pillars. Rear view is more limited but you can upgrade to include parking sensors and a rear camera if you wish.
FOR: More distinctive and exclusive than rivals, cooler image and stronger re-sale values.
AGAINST: Costs quite a lot more than its main competitors!