Smart Fortwo (2013-2020) Review

The Smart ForTwo is an economical city car with distinctive looks and a high driving position

Strengths & weaknesses

  • Low fuel costs thanks to efficient engines
  • Small turning circle makes it manoeuvrable
  • Unique design
  • Noisy, especially at speed
  • Basic engine is very slow
  • Two-seat layout is restrictive
Limited Smart Fortwo stock available.

Named for the number of seats that it has, the Smart ForTwo is short enough that you can park facing the pavement in a parallel parking bay.

But despite its diddy dimensions, the Smart has a surprisingly large boot. The 260 litre space isn’t so far off the 316 litres that you’d find in a Ford Focus. You can even increase the space by folding the front passenger seat.

The rest of the car has been squashed. The tiny engines fitted to the car are installed at the back, underneath the boot. This means that the bonnet is extremely compact.

The ForTwo looks after its two occupants well. There’s plenty of space to stretch your legs, the seats are comfortable and the driving position is higher than a standard hatchback. Bear in mind that an adjustable driver’s seat and steering wheel are not fitted as standard, which can make it difficult to find a comfortable driving position.

Things get less comfortable on the move, though, when the rasp from the noisy engine dominates the interior. It’s particularly bad at higher speeds when the engine has to rev hard to keep up with traffic.

It’s comfortable, if a little bumpy, but comes into its own in town where those small dimensions and its ability to turn more tightly than a London taxi, helps it to manoeuvre in tight spaces. Fitted with the nippy 0.9 litre engine, it’s quick to accelerate at slower speeds and efficient too.

But for all of its urban friendliness and distinctive attitude, the ForTwo is an expensive choice that limits you to only one passenger.

There is a four-seat Smart ForFour which costs more. But you could have a chic Fiat 500 for less than either car. The same goes for the spacious VW up! and Skoda Citigo. Another option is the Renault Twingo, which shares mechanical parts with the Smart - including the engine in the back - but has four seats.

Few small cars can match the Smart’s safety record, though. To emphasise the car’s strength, Smart - which is owned by Mercedes - has made its high-strength steel safety cell visible, curving from the roof and around the back of the doors in a c-shape.

This cell helped the ForTwo to a respectable four star independent safety rating from Euro NCAP. It was marked down for poor protection for pedestrians and a lack of electronic safety systems, such as automatic emergency braking. Crash tests showed extremely good protection for the car’s occupants.


Key facts

Warranty 3 years
Boot size 260 litres
Width 1663mm
Length 2695mm
Height 1555mm
Tax £0

Best Smart Fortwo for...

Best for Economy – Smart ForTwo 0.9 Turbo Prime

Of the two engines available, which are equally economical on paper, the 0.9-litre version should be more frugal as it’s more powerful and needs less revving.

Best for Families – Smart ForTwo 0.9 Turbo Prime Premium

It will be far from first choice for most families, but as a second car, the 0.9 Turbo in mid Prime specification with luxury Premium pack gives the little Smart a big-car feel.

Best for Performance – Smart ForTwo 0.9 Prime Turbo

With its lowered sports suspension, brushed steel pedals and chrome exhaust finishers this Proxy version of the ForTwo is the sporty one in the line-up.

One to Avoid – Smart ForTwo 1.0 Prime Premium Plus auto

Fitted with an automatic gearbox and 1-litre engine, the ForTwo 1.0 takes a glacial 15.1 seconds to accelerate from 0-62mph. Fuel economy in real-world use is poor too.


  • 2014 The current Smart ForTwo goes on sale
  • 2016 An electric version is launched

Understanding Smart Fortwo names

Engine 0.9 Turbo

The engine size is given in litres. In this case, it’s 0.9-litres. This engine is turbocharged to give it more power.

Trim level Passion Premium

The trim level indicates how much equipment is included as standard. The first is Passion, followed by Prime and Proxy. There are also three option packs called Comfort, Premium and Premium Plus, which add extra equipment.

Smart Fortwo Engines

1.0, 0.9 Turbo

The 1.0-litre engine is the least powerful option in the Smart ForTwo, with just 70 horsepower. That’s not a lot, and the car lacks any real zip or overtaking power. It will trundle around town, though, and return around 60mpg as long as you accept the slow progress and push the accelerator gently.

The 0.9-litre engine might be smaller but it’s turbocharged, which increases its power output to 90 horsepower. As a result, it will accelerate from 0-62mph four seconds quicker, will dart through town with more energy, and can stick to 70mph on the motorway - although it’s a noisy experience. Official fuel economy figures for both engines are the same, but the 0.9-litre engine is likely to be more economical in the real world, because its additional power means that it doesn’t need as much inefficient revving.





0 - 60

top speed





14.4 - 15.1s


0.9 turbo


67.3 - 68.9mpg




Smart Fortwo Trims

Passion, Passion Premium, Prime, Prime Premium, Prime Premium Plus, Prime Sport Premium, Proxy, Proxy Premium, Proxy Premium Plus

Working out which trim level offers the best balance of price and equipment is tough enough without the confusion of having them all starting with the letter P.

Whichever one you choose, you’re guaranteed to have electric windows, cruise control and Bluetooth for wireless phone connectivity as standard.

The Smart ForTwo Passion adds 15in alloy wheels and various interior colour combinations, largely confined to grey, black and orange.

Prime cars have more distinctive alloy wheels that are partly painted black. It also has heated leather seats and a sunroof.

Proxy is meant to be the sporty one and builds on Prime spec with larger 16in alloy wheels, a blue interior colour scheme and lowered sports suspension, which helps to make the car feel a little more agile but slightly less comfortable over bumps.

You can add more equipment with a choice of three option packs. Comfort adds a height adjustable driver’s seat and steering wheel for around £300.

The Premium pack is around £850 and includes the features of the comfort pack, plus rear parking sensors and 7in touchscreen with sat-nav.

Premium Plus is £1,350 and includes the equipment from the Premium bundle, along with mood lighting, rear camera, a centre armrest and a sensor that can automatically switch on the windscreen wipers when it rains, and the headlights when it gets dark.

Prime Sport Premium gets all te contents of the comfort package, heated seats, rear parking sensors, and Mirror Link, which allows you to sync your phone with the car's entertainment screen.

Smart Fortwo Reliability and warranty

Smart cars have a good reputation for reliability, and it’s not normally disastrous it anything does go wrong because the Mercedes-owned brand doesn’t normally come with premium repair costs. Warrantywise, an aftermarket warranty company, found that the previous version of the ForTwo was cheap to mend, helping to make Smart the manufacturer with the cheapest repair costs of all brands.

The three-year warranty is fairly standard for the industry, and comes without any mileage limitation, in the unlikely event that you use your Smart for long-distance commuting.

Used Smart Fortwo

Its strong image, cute looks, Mercedes connections and low running costs mean that the discounts available with new Smart ForTwo deals are limited.

This helps to keep used car prices high. Your best chance of a bargain is to hunt for a car in one of the more lurid colour combinations: these have limited appeal, so are likely to be cheaper.