Friday, 26 June 2015

Smart forfour lets families share the fun

Smart cars just got smarter, I suppose you could say. And although we all know you can't squeeze a quart into a pint pot, you can now comfortably fit a family quartet into Mercedes newest incarnation of the Smart car thanks to two new rear seats and - four doors!

Most cars that pretend to be family-friendly (while being a slightly larger version of a sporty little two-seater) neglect that most basic requirement. Kids can't climb into back seats (or rather they will, but they'll treat it more like a fun obstacle course than a serious attempt to get seated). So if you want to be taken seriously by the family, it has to be four doors. And the new Smart forfour is.

It's also a breeze to drive, turns (almost) on a sixpence and can be parked in the tightest spaces. It's not only economical but helps you help the environment (as well as your wallet) by scoring your 'eco' rating as a driver. I was delighted to get mine up above 70% during a week putting the car through its paces.

It's comfortable too. I'm 6'3" and found driving both short and long journeys easy on the back and most other anatomical areas, the single exception being my left foot. Because, when you've changed gear (and the five-speed gearbox is as smooth and as sporty as a serve by Roger Federer) there's nowhere to put it. Your foot, that is. It has nowhere to go and - furthermore - can get stuck behind the pedals. Or at least, my size elevens did.

A small point, perhaps. It's a small car, after all. But not a small car for small people or small numbers of people anymore. Just find me a place for my foot and I'll be perfectly happy.

Available in three models – passion, prime and proxy – plus a choice of 71hp or 90hp turbocharged petrol engines, the smart forfour is priced from £11,265 OTR. Fuel consumption (combined) up to 67.3 mpg, with CO2 emissions (combined) from 97 g/km.

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