The new smart forfour
The Smart forfour is an evocative little car. In that you either really like it, or pretty much don’t .. But it is a little head turner, in fact its edgy looks are the first thing to attract you to the Smart. Two tone looks with well rounded creases give it quite a sexy look. I drove the 4 door variant and liked this, as I believe the two door dimensions would not lend itself to a comfortable entry and exit of the car.
Short overhangs, a minimal length and a high steering angle are further optimal prerequisites for ensuring that the new smart models get around every corner and into every parking space. When it comes to the turning circle, the new smart forfour sets a new benchmark: at 6.95 m (from kerb to kerb) and 7.30 m (from wall to wall) it makes turning manoeuvres extremely simple.
And the new smart forfour has the hallmark smart rear engine concept which is being offered for the first time. Drive power is supplied by state-of-the-art three-cylinder engine rated at 52 kW, while power transmission is performed by a five-speed manual transmission.
A decisive feature of this friendly face is the signature smart grille, which is now slightly larger. The grille’s perforated structure results from a honeycomb pattern. The honeycomb is paler towards the outside – the designers refer to this as fading. The radiator trim is available in a variety of colours to match or contrast with the body panels.
I enjoy the rhombic front lamps are truncated slightly at the top, producing an attractive sporty look. The U-shaped daytime driving lights add a characteristic design feature. In combination with the LED & Sensor package, the headlamps incorporate a welcome function: when the car is unlocked, the light in the headlamps pulsates, as if the smart were welcoming its owner.
The dash mesh like material in the car is slightly off putting, but I enjoy the spacious storage binnacles in the doors, which unlike some bigger cars, have enough space for an array of objects. The instruments seemingly pasted onto the dash also irk a bit, but I enjoyed the proximity of all the knobs present, close the the steering wheel, which feels chunky and sporty.
Even in the entry-level version, both models offer a comprehensive scope of safety and comfort features. These include LED daytime driving lights, central locking with radio remote control, visual locking-verification signal and immobilizer, cruise control with limiter (variable speed limitation), exterior temperature indicator with frost warning, ESP® with crosswind stabilisation, active belt tensioners at the rear of the forfour and electric windows in the front.
The naturally aspirated engine generates 52 kW from a capacity of 999 cc. Thanks to maximum torque of 91 Nm at 2850 r/min it enables economical driving, particularly in urban traffic. It comes with a 5 speed transmission, and although pretty sluggish with the air-con on tap, it gets through traffic niftily due to its compact size.
For the Highveld, I found the engine a bit under powered with the air-con working.
Advanced assistance systems which were previously the reserve of higher classes of vehicle further enhance safety and comfort. These include crosswind assist (standard), forward collision warning (option) and Lane Keeping Assist (option). smart therefore offers customers safety features that go far beyond what is usual in the segment
All smart models come standard with a smart Service Plan – three-years/60 000 km.
smart forfour 52 kW manual transmission:
Base R179 900
passion R199 400
prime R210 900
proxy R212 400
To sum up, I believe that the Smart fills a gap for the young at heart, with its funky and edgy looks. And the price is not too bad either. However I wonder if practicality could play a role in decision making of this particular purchase.