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Car Review: Smart ForFour and ForTwo (launch Report)

The ultimate city car?

More and more people are migrating to cities, the stats show that upward of 60% of the world’s population will be living in cities by 2050. That may sound far away, but it is not far off from what we are already experiencing. So naturally, people will start opting for cars built for the city as opposed to the open road.

Smart is Mercedes-Benz’ urban mobility brand and although it’s been pretty big in Europe, it never really took off in South Africa. Smart want to change that now with its introduction of the thrid generation SmartForTwo and the SmartForFour.

These are teeny little cars and I have always felt claustrophobic just looking at them, especially the SmartForTwo. But I am so happy to report that once inside, there is far more space than you would expect. Bearing in mind you don’t have backseats!

What I absolutely love is the funky interior. Just look at it:

Smart interior Smart interior

Mesh covers the dashboard and door panels and as you can see from the picture above, you can opt for different colours. The phone in the cradle in the pic above is for your smartphone which you connect to the Smart audio system as navigation is not available. USB, MP3 and Bluetooth compatibility are all standard. It’s an interior that is set to appeal to a much younger market, or at least your inner child!

The ForTwo and the ForFour are both powered by a 1,0-litre 3-cylinder engine that puts out a humble 52 kW and 91 N.m of torque. I mentioned that this car is built for the city, this engine is certainly built for the city! It is not for the open road. We experienced this while driving from Cape Town city centre to Warwick Wine Estate in Stellenbosch. Overtaking is not for the faint hearted in this car and you really need to pay attention. In fact, I would go as far as to say that you should probably avoid overtaking altogether, especially on a hill. There is just not enough power. And this leads to a higher fuel consumption as claimed by the manufacturer. It claims 4,2l/100 km. We hit 7,3l/100km.  Hopefully, we will report a more positive experience in the 0,9-litre turbocharged ForFour model due to arrive in South Africa in July.

In the city is where the Smart shines and so it should. The ForTwo has a turning circle of just 6,95 metres. You can literally manoeuvre this little guy in to any parking spot with ease! Even the ForFour is nippy and easy to manoeuvre in city traffic with its turning circle of just 8,65 metres.

If you are like me, when you look at a Smart car you think, “unsafe!” Well this is another misconception I am happy to clear up. A Smart car is no less safe than any other ‘normal’ sized car. We watched a demonstration where a Smart car collided head on with a Mercedes-Benz S-Class and the Smart car’s cabin remained intact. “Like a nut, the interior is protected from harm by a rigid shell: the tridion safety cell,” as claimed by the Smart press release. These cars are also fitted with ABS with EBD, Brake Assist, traction control, stability control and five airbags. Safety features that you would otherwise find in the more premium Mercedes-Benz models are available as options such as crosswind assist, lane keeping assist and forward collision assist.

If you don’t require much or any boot space (ForTwo: 260 litres, ForFour: 185 litres to 975 litres with the rear seats folded down) and you never venture out of the city, or at least you have another car to do that in, then the Smart range is something to consider. It is funky, modern, fresh, fun to drive and with all the colours and options to choose from you really will stand out, if that’s what you want! I was pleasantly surprised by this little guy and I think others will be too! And don’t forget it’s Mercedes-Benz after-sales service you experience.

SMART PRICING:

All smart models come standard with a smart Service Plan – three-years/60 000 km.

Smart fortwo 52 kW manual transmission:

Base R174 900

passion R194 400

prime R203 400

proxy R207 400

Smart forfour 52 kW manual transmission:

Base R179 900

passion R199 400

prime R210 900

proxy R212 400

Smart forfour 66 kW automatic transmission: (from July 2016)

Base R210 400

passion R229 900

prime R241 400

proxy R242 900

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