The Smart ForTwo has always been an idea better in theory than reality. The concept of a car as highly evolved for urban dwelling as a Land Rover Defender is for off-roading or a Ferrari is for going fast is clearly a good one. But while the last ForTwo had charm, so too did it lack polish: the steering was too heavy at parking speed, the ride was not so great, the semi-automatic gearbox was an acquired taste at best, it was noisy out of town and even the turning circle was ultimately not that great.
This new ForTwo, then, is one conceived with the benefit of hindsight. It retains its predecessor’s diminutive proportions (at 2.7 metres it’s literally half the length of a large limo) but seeks to address all those faults that did so much damage to its forebear’s credentials.
Now, there is power steering on every model, so it will always be a doddle to park. All-new suspension with a far more sophisticated design has ironed out the hitherto bumpy ride, and the old gearbox has been thrown away and replaced by a choice of two: a standard five-speed manual, or a six-speed double clutch automatic. New three-cylinder engines have dropped noise levels considerably, while the turning circle is now so tight it can turn right around within the width of a reasonably wide A-road. In this regard, it makes a London taxi look like a bendy bus. And for those who need more space, there is at last an elongated version with rear doors and seats called the ForFour.
The ForTwo is still quite expensive, especially if you want a well-equipped version, but if you need a car, yet live most of your life in town, the ForTwo is now not just the most cleverly conceived urban car there is, but at last the most deftly executed too.
- Engine: 898cc, 88bhp
- Transmission: 6-speed automatic
- Top speed: 96mph
- Top speed: 96mph 0-60mph acceleration: 10.4sec
- This model from: £11,720
- Claimed economy: 83.1mpg
- VED: Group A
- Insurance Group: 4 (1=low, 50=high)