Saturday, 11 July 2009

Smart Fortwo 84bhp Turbo


I call it the baby two-seater. To give it its full title, it is the Smart Fortwo Coupé Passion 84bhp Turbo. I'm publishing this review having owned the car for five weeks. Has anyone worked out where the above picture was taken? I'll give you one clue: It's beside a grand side entrance to one of the most iconic buildings in Northern Ireland.

My little car came with loads of optional extras, like grey metallic paint; power steering; electric heated door-mirrors; black leather, heated seats; velour floor-mats; front fog-lights; two-tone horn; chrome pack (front grille, side mirrors and rear trim); and glove-box.

Standard features include unconventional automatic transmission called "softouch"; electric windows; air conditioning; radio/CD player; alloy wheels; and many other features.

It's a quirky little car; certainly a big change from my previous car, a BMW Z4 2.2i automatic. I grew tired of big bills for maintenance costs like coil springs, injection coils and the prospect of new tyres; car tax and 22-23 mpg due to my urban driving. I wanted a change.

The performance in my Smart 84bhp turbo is good; in fact it's really rather nippy, considering I've driven a Z4! It can easily keep up with other cars on the roads. They say the 0-62 time is 10.9 seconds and I can believe that. It can cruise effortlessly at 60mph. I haven't driven any faster so far - it's merely five weeks old. The brakes are OK; obviously not as effortless as the Z4, but competent.

Comfort is good; as good as the Z4 at least. The driving position is high and large front and side windows mean that visibility is excellent. The seats are supportive and comfortable too. There is plenty of legroom, given that it is a two-seater. We've been living with it for a month and we've had no difficulties with boot space for shopping. The suspension, however, seems firm like the Z4. The little Smart car doesn't take kindly to the humps provided by the Roads Disservice. I invariably slow right down when crossing them. The quirky transmission stutters a bit too, at that speed. I imagine that, had it been a conventional automatic, the economy wouldn't have been half as good.

Fuel economy is where the baby two-seater excels. The most I have ever had to spend to fill the tank - so far - has been £22.70. Mind you, the tank wasn't in the red; still, we probably are achieving twice as many miles to the gallon as we got in the Z4. £20 in the Smart car gets you a fair distance! So the running costs have been frugal, with annual car tax at £35 and insurance at about £165. The car tax might even be reduced when Mr Cameron becomes Prime Minister next year! I haven't had it serviced yet at Agnew's; so watch this space!

Parking is a cinch. The car's diminutive size gives you confidence to try parking in spaces you otherwise would not even consider. It feels a bit cheeky actually!

The gear-change is heavy and requires a lot more pressure than conventional automatics to push into reverse, drive or neutral. I also need to press a little "A" button every time I drive forward in order to engage the Softouch automatic. This I have found tiresome; though one does get accustomed to it.

Apart from the chunky gear-change which can be mastered, to an extent, with practice; the quite firm ride; and its consequent aversion to road humps, it is really a very enjoyable, well appointed and quick little car. A little gem.


Anonymous said...

Love the car--it is so adorable. I would feel bigger than the car, and very well might be!!
Ha ha.

Timothy Belmont said...

It's a great little car. I chose the colour and specifications quite carefully.