A couple of weeks ago we were given a new smart forfour to try out for a week. As I mentioned here, two of my favourites things are cheese and trying new things, and although there was no cheese involved in this review, it did definitely tick one of the boxes.
The idea behind the smart forfour is pretty simple – it’s designed to combine all the innovation of the standard smart car, but it’s a four seater. You’re with me so far aren’t you?
By way of an introduction, here’s a little video of the smart forfour being driven around a deserted, lightening-filled warehouse. (This is not obligatory in your own smart forfour).
My first thought when the smart forfour arrived at our house was ‘how sweet! A car that looks like a mint imperial!’ It is very cute and definitely feels like the sort of car you could give a name to.
As you’d expect, the smart forfour is really easy to drive. It feels light and responsive and the turning circle is very impressive – you pretty much just spin on the spot. This makes the smart forfour ideal for city driving and super simple to pop into tight parking spaces. Keeping the tyres in good condition helps – check out www.national.co.uk if you’re in the market.
The smart forfour has plenty of cool features too, with climate control, parking sensors, cruise control, and a nifty mount for your phone, so you can use navigation functions and link up your music. (The downside to this is that it made the radio preset buttons hard to reach, which you can see from the picture in the bottom left.)
One of my favourite features of the smart forfour was the huge sun roof. I don’t think I’ve ever owned a car with a decent sun roof, and it was lovely, especially given the sunny weather we were having, to be able to open to roof right up.
At the weekend, the smart forfour put in a request to visit the seaside, so we drove it down to visit some friends in Bournemouth. (Our friends, not the car’s. I don’t know if it knows anyone in Bournemouth, but it didn’t say so.) The fuel economy was really good, and we were pleasantly surprised by how much we did manage to squeeze in the boot.
When we were asked to review the smart forfour, one of my main concerns was power. It’s a small engine, and I wasn’t convinced that with a full load it would have the oomph for a long journey. I can honestly say that this wasn’t a problem at all on our trip to the seaside. We had three of us in the car, plus luggage, and it didn’t feel like it struggled at all. Acceleration was good, and even on the hills, where I thought it might have trouble, it did fine. I got the distinct impression, (although I was sticking to 70mph at all times of course), that it would cruise very comfortably at 80mph, without any trouble at all.
Here’s the smart forfour, enjoying the sea views:
One of the things I would question, would be the smart forfour’s ability to comfortably carry four adults. It would be fine if they were all my size, but my fiancé is 6’1″ and had to have his seat right back to have enough leg room. This meant that it would have been pretty much impossible to have another person, let alone another person his size, sat behind him. We did have a lot of fun however with him and the sun roof – by bracing his legs against the foot well, he could sit up just a little bit off the seat and have his head stick about four inches out of the roof. Passers by found this very amusing, as did we.
The other negative, which might be specific to this particular model, was the reflection of the dashboard on the windscreen. The bright orange tint was pretty distracting, and was there all the time to some extent, regardless of how sunny it was. It would definitely be worth keeping this in mind when choosing your interior.
All in all we were very pleasantly surprised by the smart forfour. It handled well, had plenty of oomph, and was very easy to drive, especially around town. If I was looking for a new car, and wasn’t exceptionally tall, it would definitely make my short list.
Have you ever owned or driven a smart car? How did you find it?
Disclosure – we were given the smart forfour to test drive for a week. All opinions are my own.