2002 smart fortwo - city coupe Reviews

2002 smart fortwo - city coupe Passion 600cc turbo from UK and Ireland

Year of manufacture2002
First year of ownership2002
Most recent year of ownership2004
Engine and transmission 600cc turbo Automatic
Performance marks 5 / 10
Reliability marks 9 / 10
Comfort marks 7 / 10
Dealer Service marks 8 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 8 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.4 / 10
Distance when acquired10 miles
Most recent distance6200 miles
Previous carRenault Scenic

Summary:

You'll love it or hate it, but try it - then buy it!

Faults:

Heated rear window had three faulty elements on delivery; fixed speedily under warranty.

General Comments:

It's hard to comment objectively on a Smart - you either love them or hate them. They have a pretty dire automatic/semi-automatic gearbox with long gaps between changes in fully automatic mode, and not a lot of performance, even in manual mode. The ride on our Smart is very hard (the latest ones are apparently better) and you soon learn to avoid potholes. Oh, and they only have two seats.

But... If you're hooked, you're hooked, and the Smart owners club (www.thesmartclub.co.uk) must be one of the busiest anywhere in the world. You drive a Smart with a smile on your face, and always find a parking slot (it's only 2.5m long).

The build quality is exemplary; it is after all a mini-Mercedes, and they regard it as a quality car, not just a runabout. It's the only car I've ever owned that has absolutely no squeaks or rattles on the worst surfaces. And it's high-tech - turbo engine, 6 gears, auto box, air conditioning...

The interior is wonderfully spacious, and the seats (which are immensely solid, as they're an integral part of the "Tridion" safety cell system) are firm, but very comfortable, even on long runs. The roof is entirely glass, which makes it feel even airier (though there have been cases of the roof spontaneously shattering).

The luggage space is much larger than you'd imagine; we've managed to get an entire Christmas shopping expedition into it.

Rate a Smart by conventional car standards and it may not look so good; approach it as you might (say) a Morgan, and you're applying completely different standards. We wouldn't be without a Smart now!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 2nd March, 2004

2002 smart fortwo - city coupe Passion 599cc Mercedes-Benz 3 cylinder Suprex turbo from UK and Ireland

Year of manufacture2002
First year of ownership2002
Most recent year of ownership2003
Engine and transmission 599cc Mercedes-Benz 3 cylinder Suprex turbo Semi-Automatic
Performance marks 9 / 10
Reliability marks 10 / 10
Comfort marks 10 / 10
Dealer Service marks 8 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 9 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
9.2 / 10
Distance when acquired6 miles
Most recent distance19000 miles
Previous carFord Fiesta

Summary:

Totally unique and fun to drive

Faults:

Front headlamps needed a foam seal around them behind the front panel to prevent whistling noise at motorway speeds.

Rear tailgate lock needed more grease applied to stop rattling.

General Comments:

For a city car, it does the job very well. Very spacious, high quality interior and comfortable to sit in on a longer journey. Excellent MPG figure if you drive lightly, but this will drop a bit if you desire more power out of the turbo. Easy peasy to park and plastic body panels are cheap and easy to replace.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 25th December, 2003

2002 smart fortwo - city coupe Pure 0.8 turbo diesel from France

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: 8.1 / 10, based on 4 reviews