2002 smart fortwo - city coupe Pure 0.8 turbo diesel
The most fuel-efficient car for the price
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.
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
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).
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.
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.
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!
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.