Smart ForFour ( 2014 - present)

Cute looks and decent ride might be enough for some, but the Smart ForFour falls short of the mark for most

Strengths & Weaknesses

Strengths 

Parking made simple
Easy to drive
Clever seats

Weaknesses 

Small boot
Slow off the mark
Lacking in technology
Best New Discount

Smart Forfour Hatchback 0.9 turbo passion 5dr auto

Total RRP £13,495

Your quote £11,332

You Save £2,163

Smart ForFour prices from £5,895   Finance from £98 per month

The Smart ForFour is aimed at city-dwellers who want something funky and fashionable to be seen in while they're stuck in traffic.

It doesn’t take Alan Turing to figure out Smart’s naming structure - the ForFour is the larger brother of the ForTwo. Although, confusingly, it is actually a five door, as it’s a hatchback, with a boot.

And -bare with us here- the boot is the most interesting part of this car. The engine is kept in here for a start, in order to free up space inside. It's worked too - the car is shorter than the previous generation model, but actually has more space inside.

It goes toe-to-toe with the Renault Twingo, which it is nearly mechanically identical to and shares around 70 per cent of the same parts, as well as the Volkswagen up! and Hyundai i10.

Generally, it's hard to recommend the ForFour over any of these cars. The up! is an altogether more tempting proposition thanks to a string of grown up engines, the Hyundai comes with a seven-year warranty, and the Twingo is cheaper and not all-together that different.

Let's end the doom and gloom, as the Smart does have some redeeming qualities. Its turning circle is 8.65 metres. To put that into context, the up!'s is 9.8 metres. It's genuinely noticeable too if you ever need to do a three point turn, and parallel parking is a breeze. Especially if you opt for the rear parking camera.

The is boot, although interesting, is tiny, and is a fair bit smaller than the up!'s too, losing out by 66 litres (185 v 251). Admittedly, there is an engine in the boot of the Smart, but don't worry, it's secured below the storage and you can't see it. While the boot size itself is nothing to write home about, it is enough for a few bags or a medium sized suitcase.

There is at least a clever use of space in the rear seating area. The rear-seat bench can be lowered near to the floor to squeeze tall things into the rear, plus with the rear seats folded, there’s 975 litres of boot space to play with. The rear doors open nearly 90 degrees and the front passenger seat also folds flat.

Up front, the interior is well thought out, but it really is feeling its age. You have to stump up for Prime Premium spec to get any sort of entertainment screen, although Smart does offer a phone holder. A good move considering sat-nav systems are being usurped by phones. If we're nitpicking, the heating control button looks and feels cheap, and in the passenger footwell there's an unsightly piece of grey plastic hiding wires. Not what you'd expect from a semi-premium brand.

The stick-out RPM gauge is just the right side of Fast and Furious and it's fun to see the car revving. You'll get plenty of practice with it too - as the car really needs lashings of revs and a lot of right foot action to get going. The 1.0-litre engine is best avoided as it's slower and no more economical than the 0.9-litre turbo engine.

This turbo engine is quick enough for the Smart, and can just about keep up with motorway traffic. However, you need to wait for the turbo to wake up. You'd be surprised by how slow it is to react around town at low speeds, just where you'd expect the Smart to be at its best.

Although, it should be noted that around town the steering is sharp, and incorporates a clever system which means at low speeds the steering becomes lighter. The suspension soaks up all of the bumps and potholes a city can throw at it. For low speed comfort and refinement, it's the best-in-class.

If you've got your heart set on one, and you want to stand out from the crowd in the city, it might be a good buy. But if you let your head sneak into the process, it'll be an easy win for another car.

                

Last Updated 

Friday, October 19, 2018 - 17:15

Key facts 

Warranty: 
Three years/unlimited mileage
Boot Size: 
185 litres/975 litres
Width: : 
1,665mm
Length: : 
3,495mm
Height: 
1,544mm
Tax (min to max): : 
£125 in the first year, £140 thereafter

Best Smart Forfour Hatchback for... 

Smart ForFour 0.9-litre
Out of the two internal combustion engines on offer, the smaller turbocharged engine is the most economical. The official figure is 54.3mpg, but even in real-world testing it should get around 48mpg.
Smart ForFour Prime
Although not exactly perfect family wheels, the Prime is the one to go for if you’ve only got a couple of small kids. Prime spec blends good kit with value for money, and has Smart’s clever rear seating and ISOFIX seat mountings.
Smart ForFour 0.9-litre manual
The turbocharged engine is the most economical, and the fastest. The electric version might be quicker off the mark, but the 0.9-petrol is 4.7seconds quicker in the 0-62mph dash.

Smart Forfour Hatchback History 

  • July 2014: Smart ForFour unveiled

  • September 2014: Smart Brabus unveiled, with power being upped from 90hp to 109hp.  

  • May 2015: Most basic Smart ForFour, the Pure model, arrives sans alloy wheels and pretty much anything else.

Understanding Smart Forfour Hatchback car names 

  • Forfour Hatchback
  • Engine
    0.9-litre turbo
  • Trim
    Passion
  • Gearbox
    Five-speed manual
  • Engine
    There are two internal combustion engines to choose from, a 1.0-litre or a 0.9-litre petrol. The 0.9-litre engine has a turbo to make it faster and more economical than the 1.0-litre.
  • Trim
    Smart offers six trim levels, Pure, Passion, Prime, Prime Premium, Prime Premium Sport and Brabus Xclusive.
  • Gearbox
    The Smart comes with a five-speed manual or a six speed automatic.

Smart Forfour Hatchback Engines 

1.0-litre 0.9-litre, electric motor

The ForFour is available with two engines, both of which are petrol. It also has an electric version called the Smart ForFour EQ too.

The 0.9-litre is the one to go for. From new, it commands a £595 premium, although the extra power it provides ensures that this is actually a bit of a bargain. It makes a helpful 89bhp and makes the car sprightly. Certainly fast enough for nipping in and out of traffic, and there’s enough poke for motorway mileage too. The only problem is that you have to wait for the turbo to kick in to get the full power. This means there’s a slight, but annoying, delay from low revs, which is especially aggravating around tow.

In the wrong lane at a set of lights and need to cut in front of the car next to you? You won't be doing such manoeuvres in the Smart.

The 1.0-litre doesn’t have a turbo and is less powerful than the 0.9-litre engine, making a measly 70 hp. It’s fine for around town, but needs to be constantly revved to get the most out of. Not one for the motorway.

Smart’s electrically powered ForFour, the FourFour EQ, uses an electric motor that makes 81hp. Like other electric cars, the power is delivered instantly, so it feels quick off the mark, and it suits the nature of what the car’s intended for. Be warned though, it’s only quick to around 40mph. Its 0-62mph time is still a relatively slow 12.7 seconds. It’ll only cover around 65 miles between charges in real world conditions, and when it needs charging, it’s not compatible with fast charging outlets.

Fuel

economy

Power

Acceleration (0-62mph)

Top speed

0.9-litre

petrol

54.3mpg

89hp

11.2s

140mph

1.0-litre

petrol

52.3mpg

70hp

15.9s

155mph

EQ

electric

65 mile range

81hp

12.7s

80mph

Smart Forfour Hatchback Trims 

Pure, Passion, Prime, Prime Premium, Prime Premium Sport, and Brabus Xclusive

Smart’s image revolves around it being fun and customisable, so it’s not surprising that there are six trim levels available.

The base spec Pure model is pretty basic - it even does away with alloy wheels and painted mirrors. It has cloth seats, power steering, and not a great deal else.

Springing out for a Passion model increases the amount of kit. It gets alloy wheels, a multifunction leather steering wheel, cruise control, and ISOFIX child seat mounting points in the rear. This also gets Smart’s Readyspace rear seating - which comprises of two individual rear seats that can be put flat, or the bases can be dropped to the floor if you want something tall in the rear.

Prime cars get different alloys, leather seats all around, heated front seats, a panoramic roof, and lane-keeping assist.

Prime Premium, as found on the electric model, gets an entertainment system with sat-nav, heated steering wheel, and heated seats.

Next up on this seemingly endless list is Prime Sport Premium. This will get you larger alloy wheels, sports suspension that is 10mm lower than standard, a chrome exhaust tailpipe, and alloy pedals.

Top-of-the-line Brabus Xclusive models add LED rear lights, heated front seats, nappa leather upholstery, a bodykit, chrome tailpipe, and the largest wheels on offer from Smart.

But wait. There’s more - in the shape of accessory packs. The Comfort package brings a height-adjustable driver’s seat and steering wheel, and heated electrically adjustable door mirrors.

The Premium accessory pack includes the niceties of the Comfort package, and adds rear parking sensors and a touchscreen display with sat-nav and Bluetooth.

Premium Plus combines the Comfort and Premium packages, but also brings front fog lamps, automatic wipers, and a rear-view camera.

Smart Forfour Hatchback Reliability and warranty 

Smart didn’t feature in Auto Express’ Driver Power customer survey for 2018, however, the brand did pick up last place in the 2013 survey.

Warrantywise, an independent warranty company, says that in general Smarts are cheap to repair when they do go wrong or if they’re involved in a crash.

The three-year warranty is standard affair among car manufacturers, however, it does have an unlimited mileage warranty attached to it. Not that many people do galactic mileages in their ForFours.

Used Smart Forfour Hatchback 

Smart’s upmarket image and its Mercedes connections (parent company) help keep resale values relatively high.

There are currently 156 Smart ForFours available on BuyaCar, with prices ranging from £5,895 to £18,000 for nearly-new models.

High levels of demand ensures that it retains its value well, which means monthly finance is usually relatively inexpensive. Monthly finance payments start from £98 per month.

Also bare in mind that the ForFour is really customisable, and cars in lurid/outrageous colours tend to fall in value faster than more sensible choices. So do keep an eye out for two tone cars which you like, but others won’t.

 

     
Smart ForFour: used car prices1 year old2 years old3 years old

Best for economy Smart ForFour 0.9-litre 

£8,030N/A£6,390

Best for families Smart ForFour Passion

£6,490£6,490£8,030

Best for performance Smart ForFour 0.9-litre manual

£7,500N/A£6,390