From £10,4906

Smart aims to stamp some Mercedes-Benz hallmarks on the city car class

This is the reborn second-generation Smart Forfour - a Daimler-fettled sister car of the recently launched Renault Twingo.

It features the same four-seat, rear-engined, rear-drive configuration – the companies collaborated on the platform and running gear of both cars – but the differences elsewhere are marked. They need to be, given that the step up from the entry-level Twingo to the equivalent Forfour is £2125.

The Forfour's turning circle is a mere 8.65m, which is well inside the Up's 9.8m. Consequently, the Smart is a doddle to manoeuvre.

Solid justification can be found for most of the price hike by casting your eye over the kit list. Unlike the Twingo, the Forfour comes with a wealth of equipment.

Standard equipment includes luxuries such as climate control, electric windows, Bluetooth, USB connectivity, Crosswind assist, cruise control and hill start assist. There are also four trim levels – Passion, Prime, Prime Sport and Brabus Sport.

Those pining for a Passion-spec model will see their Forfour anointed with 15in alloy wheels and a fabric upholstery, while Prime adds heated front seats, a panoramic sunroof and an iPad cradle for the rear seats.

The mid-range Prime Sport models gains sports suspension, 16in alloys, chrome exhaust and stainless steel pedals, while the Brabus model sees 17in alloys and an aggressive bodykit.

Back to top

While those craving a more al fresco ride can opt for the Night Sky ForFours, which come with a retractable cloth roof.

The price walk of just £495 from the two-seat Smart Fortwo also helps the Forfour’s case. 

The Smart’s exterior is different, too, and elements of the interior have been reworked to exude a more upmarket feel. For example, the display in the instrument cluster emulates the look and functionality of that seen in pricier Mercedes-Benz models. There have also been suspension, steering and engine calibration changes.

The Forfour is not as small as you might expect. A five-door Volkswagen Up is only 3.5cm wider and 4.5cm longer, for starters. Still, it’s a compact footprint and one that doesn’t overly compromise interior room.

Yes, leg room in the back can be tight if the front seats are slid back some way, and the boot is smaller than that in the Up, but the cabin feels quite spacious otherwise. The seats and driving position are comfortable for all but the longest trips and some practical compensation is offered by rear seats that fold easily to boost the load space.

It is clear that a lot of finesse has been applied. Grab one of the rotating air vents, for example, and you’ll find that it swivels and holds its position in a slick, solid-feeling fashion. Only some wind noise from around the doors and the lack of a clutch footrest and somewhere proper to put your mobile phone detract from the pleasant ambience.

Smart Forfour 2015-2019 First drives