What is it?
A mid-life refresh usually brings with it chassis tweaks and engine revisions. But the biggest change in the Smart Fortwo’s mid-life ‘facelift’ is a longer options list. So things such as LED daytime running lights, sat-nav and endless new colour and trim combinations are offered. The most notable engine tweaks are found in the most powerful three-cylinder, 1.0-litre unit in the Brabus Xclusive.
Power is up from 97bhp to 101bhp, while emissions fall from 124g/km to 119g/km. But with a base list price of around £16,500 for the cabriolet we tested, those alloys, rear exhaust tips and stiffer springs don’t come cheap.
What's it like?
What Smart really needed to do is sort the clumsy, performance-sapping gearbox, numb steering and firm, jittery ride. It’s still far too firm to ever be comfortable, especially in town. And the Brabus is worse, making the standard car’s ride feel like that of a Rolls.
The engine, however, is pleasing, pulling away nicely and offering enough power and torque to allow the Fortwo to keep up with traffic. But its semi-automatic gearbox stifles progress.
Despite its obvious flaws, the Smart remains undeniably charming. The cabin feels spacious and new materials raise cabin ambience. Its exterior looks fresh and modern 10 years on, too. The economy is also excellent and running costs are low.
Should I buy one?
Smart has missed a trick in not revising the car to match the Toyota iQ’s dynamic levels, instead going after the Mini/Fiat 500 crowd with its styled-up options list. The iQ is still the microcar to beat, while the entry-level Fortwo diesel is the best Smart.
Smart Fortwo Brabus Xclusive
Price: £16,500 (est); Top speed: 96mph; 0-62mph: 8.9sec; Economy: 54.3mpg; CO2: 119g/km; Kerbweight: 810kg; Engine: 3cyls, petrol, 999cc; Power: 101bhp at 6000rpm; Torque: 108lb ft at 2500-2600rpm; Gearbox: 5-spd semi-automatic