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BY ANDY ENRIGHT
Added 13th July, 2007
You'll be stared at. Some disbelievers will even struggle to suppress a snigger, especially when overtaken on the motorway by a Smart. If you tread carefully and take a look at a few before you buy, purchasing a used Smart can be the best way possible to have the last laugh. It makes a Fiat Seicento, Ford Ka or SEAT Arosa seem so twentieth century.
The smart fortwo is a citycar that almost defies comparison. Jonathan Crouch thinks there's a lot to like about it.
Traditionally, the smart fortwo has attracted a distinct, loyal band of urban-based buyers who really wouldn't consider anything else. This third generation version though, has wider appeal, classier, cleverer and more effective than ever in its town-targeted remit thanks to Mercedes engineering and shared development with Renault. Arguably, it's the car this model should always have been.
Buyers of this fortwo model get a choice of fixed-top or cabrio bodystyles and either way, the look is very different this time round. Still, at least the tridion safety cell - something of a smart trademark - is present and correct, so people won't be confused about what they're looking at. The fortwo is offered with two engines, both three-cylinder petrol-powered units. The 899cc turbocharged engine develops 89bhp, while the 999cc normally aspirated engine a mere 70bhp.
And overall? Well, the fortwo isn't an ordinary supermini. It's something that stands alone and you wouldn't bet against its continued success exactly because of that.
The smart fortwo is different in third generation form - yet somehow still much the same. Jonathan Crouch drives the enticing entry-level 1.0-litre 71bhp variant.
It took a while but motorists gradually started to come round to Smart's way of thinking. Smart's problem was that rival manufacturers did too. The ForTwo once stood virtually alone as a city car that adhered strictly to the principles of compact size, light weight, maximum fuel economy and a trendy urban cool image. By the time the second generation came along, you couldn't move at the motorshows for dinky vehicles from rival manufacturers trying to annex a slice of Smart's territory. To date, however, the ForTwo remains arguably the purest exponent of the genre. Whether its reluctance to bend its own rules will give it an edge in the small car future remains to be seen but used buyers seeking chic urban transport for two could do a lot worse.
smart is making electric mobility more attractive and proof is found in the form of this fortwo EQ electric drive citycar. Jonathan Crouch checks it out.
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