smart fortwo - city coupe Review from France

2002 smart fortwo - city coupe Pure 0.8 turbo diesel

Year of manufacture2002
First year of ownership2002
Most recent year of ownership2002
Engine and transmission 0.8 turbo diesel Automatic
Performance marks 7 / 10
Reliability marks 9 / 10
Comfort marks 5 / 10
Dealer Service marks 10 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 9 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.0 / 10
Distance when acquired0 kilometres
Most recent distance17600 kilometres
Previous carHonda Civic

Summary:

The most fuel-efficient car for the price

Faults:

The air intake for the turbo had failure, resulting in wrong information sent to the engine computer. Lead to loss of power. The part was changed under warranty.

General Comments:

My wife already had a Smart when I bought this one. I chose the Diesel engine because I wanted my daily driver to be as fuel-efficient as possible. I'm not disappointed with that, as I get about 4L/100 km (about 60 MPG). It's really a delight to park anywhere. I never have to look for a parking space. I also like the handling, though the front tires are a bit too narrow, which results in heavy under-steer. The engine only delivers 41 HP, but it's surprisingly enough as you rely on the torque (100 Nm) rather than on power.

As for the drawbacks, the gearbox is a bit slow, the suspension a bit hard and it doesn't handle side winds very well (better drive with both hands on the wheel when passing a truck...)

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 20th October, 2002

10th Jun 2003, 16:52

This is an update.

My car has now 38,600 km. I just changed the front tires last week. I haven't had any problem otherwise and I still love it very much though I'd sometimes like a more powerful car for longer trips (over 200 km).

20th Jun 2003, 11:07

New update: light switch replaced at 38,900 km because it simply didn't switch the dashboard and tail lights on anymore. Work and part were under warranty.

14th Dec 2003, 14:35

New update: at the 50 000 km service (for which I paid 310 €!) they noticed the gearbox had a leak and the turbo hose had to be replaced... Fortunately it is still under warranty, but I don't think I am going to keep the car after it with such problems at such a low mileage. I'm getting disappointed though I still get 4L/100 and have fun driving it.

22nd Feb 2004, 21:00

100Nm? That'll explain why that little half-a-car left my Polo for dust then... Thought I was pushing on hard, too!

(I have more HP, but only 76Nm, in a heavier car.. maybe only +50% rather than twice as heavy, but enough that it just went... zoooooooooooooooom! and was gone!)

Cheeky looking little things, always make me smile, for proper city living they should be a little narrower though.. I swear they're actually wider than my VW which must make some parking spots difficult no matter the length. Maybe a 2/3 capacity of the current engine too, it'd drop the motorway speed to maybe 75mph/120kmh, but given how hard they accelerate it wouldn't hurt their around-town ability - and maybe make their economy match the number of passengers/amount of luggage that can be carried!

20th Sep 2004, 11:20

New and last update:

I now have sold my smart. When I did the odometer read 71,000 km and I hadn't had any more problems since the previous update. I just had to replace the back tires at 65,000 km.

I only sold it because I needed a bigger car, but I already miss some of its features like the "softouch" gearbox. I didn't want to spend much on my car so I bought a used Ford Fiesta, but when I shop for a new car I'll be looking for that kind of gearbox.

Average review marks: 8.0 / 10, based on 1 review