New diesel uses updated version of old engine
Acceleration is very, very leisurely
Easy to use dash
Don't expect to see this in the UK
The Smart Fortwo is a unique proposition. Its emotional appeal is unquestionable and it is one of the most novel and innovative cars available.
What is it?
The ‘world’s most economical production car,’ or at least that's the title Smart touts with pride when talking about its new diesel-powered ForTwo CDI.
In the process Smart is sticking its finger up at the hybrid crowd who have, rightly or wrongly, been held up as the saviour of motoring recently.
Sadly, it’s also a title which is lost on Smart here in the UK. For despite its diesel-sipping attributes, the super-frugal city car is not planned to be sold on these shores, at least not in the immediate future.
That’s a pity, because with combined cycle fuel consumption of 85.6mpg and a CO2 rating of just 88g/km, the new two-seater would appear to hold obvious appeal for those faced with the grind of a daily city commute.
What's it like?
It’s no pocket rocket, granted. But as a way of easing the stress and financial burden that comes with traffic-clogged roads at either end of each working day, it seems to have a lot going for it.
Whereas the second-generation petrol ForTwo receives a brand-new 1.0-litre engine from Mitsubishi, the diesel variant retains its predecessor’s 800cc three-cylinder unit. Detailed upgrades, including the adoption of the latest common-rail injection system operating at 1600bar as opposed to a previous 1350bar, extend power by 4bhp to 45bhp at 3800rpm, with torque up 10lb ft, to 81lb ft at 2000rpm.
Despite the gains, the performance is blunted to a certain extent by the new Smart’s weight, which has risen by 40kg in coupé guise to 780kg. As a result, the 0-62mph time remains at a leisurely 19.8sec, while top speed is limited to 84mph.
Although down on outright acceleration, the new Smart is relatively torquey, but it’s a car that is clearly happiest in the city environment. Venture onto the motorway and it immediately feels overwhelmed. The new ForTwo’s much-improved dynamics haven’t been affected by the use of a diesel engine, though; the steering, handling and ride represent huge steps over the first model.
Should I buy one?
If you live in Europe and want a frugal, easy-to-park city runabout, yes. But sadly Brits can't buy it.