It’s a common misconception that Smart’s brand name was conceived for its brainy connotations; it’s an acronym. The first two letters stand for the companies who set the marque up – Swiss watch maker Swatch and Mercedes-Benz – and the last three for the beautiful works of automotive artifice that would result from their union.
So what? Well, that means Smarts don’t have to be sparklingly ingenious by definition. They’re neither big nor necessarily clever – and no Smart offering has summed that up better than the one you’re looking at: the Roadster Light.
In the main, this is the same car as the £13,513 standard Roadster – and weighs in at the same 790kg. It offers an identitcal rear-mounted Suprex-turbocharged 80 bhp triple, McPherson front struts and DeDion driven rear axle, and six-speed semi-auto gearbox. It offers the same tridion safety cell, as well as full ESP, brake assist and twin airbags.
With a little option list trickery though, Smart has managed to bring its list price down to below £12k – which is where we’ve always thought this car belongs – and it’s offering a year’s free insurance for over 21s.
As a result, this new range-anchorer comes with a pretty basic spec. Inside, you’re greeted by a more monotone dash and non-sports seats lifted straight out of the Fortwo. The steering wheel is the two-spoker – plastic, but also slightly smaller, thinner, and easier to get on with – and behind it, Smart has done away with the gearchange paddles. There’s no electric rag-top; the Light comes with a removable hard-top.