2002 smart fortwo - city coupe Passion 600cc turbo from UK and Ireland
You'll love it or hate it, but try it - then buy it!
Heated rear window had three faulty elements on delivery; fixed speedily under warranty.
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