Auto Express's reliability ratings are based on our Driver Power survey of over 30,000 car owners. Ratings are the average for all owners of this car who responded. Individual owners’ ratings and comments appear below.
57-reg Petrol, Owner for 1 to 3 years

The second generation smart fortwo clearly shows that Mercedes listened and responded to many of the shortcomings of the first generation model. Improved handling, interior build and materials quality combined with totally redesigned petrol engines (or improved diesel engines) and gearbox transforms the car, making it even more fun to drive, even if the more sedate (but equally more upmarket) dashboard and switchgear takes away some of the car's funky, oddball credentials and reminds you that this model has had more direct Mercedes input than its predecessor.

The new petrol engines are not quite as fuel efficient as those that they replace, however the expectation - hence trade off - is that they will be more reliable in the long term by not requiring a rebuild mid-life as has been the case with many first generation model engines. Moreover they offer substantially increased levels of torque and refinement.

Build quality and reliability still needs to improve however, as does the performance and attitude of many Mercedes dealerships. Servicing is still horribly costly at main dealers and smart drivers are treated as a poor relation of Mercedes owners by many staff. The car is too expensive given the wealth of competition in the small car market these days and Mercedes really needs to up the ante on the innovation stakes for the third generation unless it wants this most iconic of modern cars to be consigned to the history books of "the noughties".

I would happily buy another though I would not buy the same engine (71bhp petrol), instead I would either go for the new 54 bhp diesel engine (for economy) or the 84bhp petrol engine (for fun/performance on motorway!). I might also wait to see what the upcoming 4 seater smart is like, this being a long overdue model.

Reliability: 3/5 Build Quality: 3/5
57-reg Petrol, Owner for 1 to 3 years

I really like the stlye of the car and its great for nipping around, size isn't a problem as I two other cars. I've had 5 smart cars and this one has been very unreliable indeed and I've found the Mercedes dealers are even worse than the car. It has been returned to me twice from repairs with loose screws on the seat mounts and many of the other screws and fittings are missing. Even the plastic screw clips on the battery box were lost. I have found printed pages of workshop manuals in my car! When they had the car for a week and requested that if they could use it to come and go from the garage for a week to test for the fault, when I eventually collected the car it had a flat rear tyre. Yes it had a big nail in it. When I told them and they said I would have to buy a new tyre. I told them that the car was fine when they were given it to repair and that that had collected the puncture during use. The said no way, pay up you need a new tyre. They pumped up the tyre and I then took the car to a tyre dealer who effected a satisfactory repair! Running Smart alongside its bigger grander models is a big mistake as you are charged the rates as if you own an 'S' Class. I think the guys who work on Smarts generally just are not up to the job. Talk to anyone who knows and hardly anybody would recommend a Merc dealer except for a cup of coffee.

Reliability: 2/5 Build Quality: 4/5
03-reg Petrol, Owner for 3 to 5 years

Love to hate it... Love the style, and detailing, very well thought out design, crams a lot into a nice neat little package, just frustrating that it's not quite perfect, has minor faults with locking and general assembly which niggle even the most patient of people. In addition the franciase dealer service is often abismal, I personally put this down to a lack of interest in the brand as they make substainally more money from Mercedes and see Smart as an add-on and therefore treat it as second best - Shame as the brand principles are sound. Overall a super car and proberly would buy again but currently drawn toward the Honda.

Reliability: 2/5 Build Quality: 3/5
2011-reg Diesel, Owner for 1 to 3 years

It has proven to be very reliable in all conditions, only minor "freeze" fault noted with sat nav. Excellent - zero rt, ł40 fill up last for 7 working days, cheap all round parts.

Reliability: 5/5 Build Quality: 3/5
2008-reg Petrol, Owner for 1 to 3 years

Gearbox is terrible. randomly wont go into reverse. Actually goes through a lot of fuel considering its a 999cc engine and weighs nothing.

Reliability: 2/5 Build Quality: 3/5
2010-reg Diesel, Owner for 1 to 3 years

From new, this car has had 8 recalls and has failed me 5 times. totally pathetic. Mercedes dealers love to charge...like a wounded bull!

Reliability: 2/5 Build Quality: 1/5
2009-reg Petrol, Owner for 3 to 5 years

Easy to start - warnings before problems occur. Minimal problems - 1 service/mot per year keeps it up and running satisfactorily.

Reliability: 5/5 Build Quality: 5/5
2010-reg Diesel, Owner for less than a year

Engine faulty broken down 3times in less than 2months. 70 miles per gal no tax cheap insurance does what it was brought four.

Reliability: 1/5 Build Quality: 4/5
2005-reg Petrol, Owner for 1 to 3 years

Generally reliable, only real problem to date was broken front spring (common fault). Road tax ł100, some parts expensive.

Reliability: 4/5 Build Quality: 4/5
2010-reg Petrol, Owner for 1 to 3 years

No problems experienced at all in the time I have owned this vehicle. No tax and fuel only needs refilling once a month.

Reliability: 5/5 Build Quality: 5/5
2008-reg Petrol, Owner for 1 to 3 years

Never been a problem. They appear good.

Reliability: 5/5 Build Quality: 4/5
2012-reg Petrol, Owner for less than a year

Few electric faults on delivery. Good.

Reliability: 4/5 Build Quality: 3/5
2007-reg Petrol, Owner for 3 to 5 years

Realy reliable all ways starts

Reliability: 5/5 Build Quality: 5/5