City cars should be small on the outside, roomy on the inside and, above all else, cheap. Smart's models have excellent packaging and compact dimensions, so the firm's recent financial struggles must be down to its pricing policy. Now it's taken action, and launched a new version of its ForFour with the focus on value for money.
The Coolstyle sits near the bottom of the five-door's range, and is intended to slim down the standard equipment list without diminishing the ForFour's appeal. It comes with attractive alloys and air-conditioning as standard, but other luxuries such as electric door mirrors are ignored. A less-is-more approach has also been taken under the bonnet. The Coolstyle has the ForFour's familiar 1.1-litre three-cylinder engine, but the output falls from 75bhp to 64bhp. As a result, the sprint from 0-62mph takes an epic 15.3 seconds - 1.9 seconds behind the higher-powered version. Around town, the performance sacrifice is less noticeable, with the characterful motor eager to rev through its five-speed manual gearbox. Only on the open road does the car begin to feel sluggish.
Inside, the basic trim doesn't look out of place. The five-seater is spacious and practical, and a plain and honest finish to the fabrics and plastics adds to its appeal as a practical urban runaround. At £8,595, the Coolstyle finally gives the ForFour a price which is likely to match the budget of potential buyers.