What is it?
This is the new ‘stop-and-start’ Smart, the ForTwo mhd (for micro-hybrid). It uses a 71bhp version of the Mitsubishi-derived 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine, but ditches a normal starter motor and alternator in favour of a single, belt-driven starter-generator that performs both functions. Like other stop-start cars, the Smart’s engine stops when it isn’t needed and restarts as soon as the driver touches the gear selector.
What’s it like?
On the road, its performance is identical to the regular Smart’s, but the mhd is extremely quiet at traffic lights and manages eight per cent more distance between fuel fills.
Smart says the mhd’s average fuel consumption improves from 60.1mpg to 65.7mpg, and its CO2 emissions are cut from 112g/km to 103g/km, just under the figure claimed for Toyota’s hybrid, the Prius.
The mhd will be offered from 2008 as a separate model, at a modest premium of £200-£300.
Should I buy one?
If the mhd really is only a few hundred pounds more than the standard ForTwo then yes; it’s a no-brainer.