An ideal choice for canny commuters

The fuel efficient smart is about making a fashion statement — with its appealing combination of radical chic and cheerful functionality.


The smart’s elfin dimensions means it is incredibly easy to part anywhere.

Driving a smart fortwo has always been a pleasurable experience, though the company’s insistence in ‘branding’ it with a lower case "s" does cause some awkwardness in print references such as this.

However its name looks to you, this is a space-saving commuter car that offers just what’s needed for that daily two-way trip from home to work and back: An interior able to comfortably accept six-footers (even those blessed with a long torso); enough luggage space for groceries and other carryall needs; sufficient power to zip around in the suburbs and in town, and allow you to follow and sometimes put some distance between you and highway traffic.

The wonderful thing about the smart is that it does all this while putting a smile on everyone’s face. The little fortwo is fun to drive and, even though it has a tendency to plow a little when pushed hard into corners — due to the weight being mostly out back — it will happily let itself be thrown into a tight turn should a shot of exuberance occasionally get the better of you.

The smart’s elfin dimensions means it is incredibly easy to park anywhere and the 800-cc, 3-cylinder, 40 horsepower turbodiesel engine asks for very little fuel in the course of a week’s worth of driving. Our tiny tester covered over 700 km in a five-day span and averaged a thrifty 4.6 litres/100 km (61 mpg) in doing so. And this was while enjoying life with the "pedal to the metal!" more often than not. Our only complaint was the need to make frequent pit stops as the 22-litre (4.8 gallon) fuel tank is quite small.

A 6-speed transmission is available either fully automatic or as a clutchless sequential shifter.

Not to be overlooked is the fact that the smart is much more crashworthy than you’d expect, and there’s ample room for two to ride in complete comfort.

While it may be small, affordable and fuel efficient, the smart isn’t about buying a fuel-miserly urban runabout. This minuscule microcar is a

fashion statement, with an appealing combination of radical chic and cheerful functionality.

You can have your smart in coupe or cabriolet body styles, in pure, pulse and passion trim levels. The cabriolet version is definitely the one to be seen in on mild sunny days. Its electric top works wonderfully and the car just feels right when driving top down; as long as you’re not bothered by plenty of attention, because everyone looks and smiles when you go by.

But, compared to the smart cdi coupe’s $16,700 entry price, there’s a big price premium for the cabriolet model — $3,000 extra is what it takes to enjoy the fresh-air feel of a removable roof panel and fold-down back window.

2007 smart fortwo

  • Type: Subcompact 2-door coupe/cabriolet

  • Price: $16,700 — $22,650

  • Engine: 0.8-litre L3 turbocharged diesel

  • Horsepower: 40 @ 4200 rpm

  • Torque (lb-ft): 74 @ 1800 rpm

  • Highlights: Easy to park, very fuel efficient, eye-catching styling, crash protection.

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