I don’t really get excited for smaller than average cars. I don’t do too well in confined spaces, especially not when you attach four wheels to them. However, I must admit that in this case, looks and size can be deceiving.
Smart is back in ZA and they offer two variants, tested here, the bigger four-door model in passion flavour, which in Smart terms is somewhere in between everything. Let’s just say it’s not the top of the range and also not the bare bones model.
Our test model, fitted with optional Cadmium red paint and 16inch 5 twin-spoke alloys looked the part. From the outside, the Forfour has this trendy and upmarket theme going for it. I just can’t help but think that if you had to compare it with some of its cheaper opposition like the Mirage and the Brio, it’s the supermodel of the group, though if a zombie apocalypse broke out, she would definitely be one of the 1st to get eaten.
The 999cc 3-cylinder 52kw engine is mated to a 5-speed gearbox… powering the wait for it… rear wheels. That’s because this little car is rear-engined. Overall consumption is claimed at around 4,2l 100km and I would probably say that 5’s are more realistic when keeping speeds below 90kph. Unfortunately, the short gearing means it will rev its nuts off, everywhere and run to an electronically limited 157kph. The fuel tank is also only 28liters with an upgraded 35l available on order at no extra charge. Expect around high 6l’s for a day to day drive.
It’s not all about straight line performance, which had me a little frustrated in the beginning. After about 150km, I found myself actually enjoying the car more around town than some of the other test vehicles. Although this is the bigger brother to the Fortwo, it parks almost anywhere and given its test fuel consumption, seems really cheap to run.
While the interior is probably not made for my 1,9m frame, I was actually comfortable with a fully adjustable steering and seat. Space in the rear will obviously be a problem behind the driver, but having a rather curvaceous dashboard in front of the passenger, frees up a lot of leg room for both the front and rear passenger. I really liked the 85degree opening angle of the rear doors, which made for easy loading of a baby seat and to my surprise, there was actually enough room. Don’t expect too much from the boot as it’s a rather miniscule 185l with the rear seats up. Thought there are optional space options available with flat folding rear seats, but obviously this comes at a price.
What I liked :
I really enjoyed the funky attitude and character this car has. From the LED Daylight running lamps matched with the panoramic room and the twins spoke wheels, the car just looked awesome in every parking lot. The go-cart like handling made taking tight turns fun, it just needed 10 more kw.
What I didn’t like :
While our model had an optional JBL sound system (and it sounded pretty good) The biggest annoyance for me was to reach out to the stereo to change the track. Volume and mode settings were all available on the steering, except of course that dreaded next track button. Open road driving can become tedious and boring with the lack of power to overtake at freeway speeds.
The Smart ForFour starts at R179 900
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