Smart ForFour vs Renault Twingo and SEAT Mii
Smart fancies its ForFour as king of the urban jungle, but the SEAT Mii and Renault Twingo stand in its way
As with the 2005 original, the four-seater shares its styling with its two-seater stablemate, while under the skin, the rear-engine, rear-wheel-drive platform is carried over, too.
In fact, the ForFour’s running gear is shared with the cheaper Renault Twingo. So, for its first test, we’ve lined the Smart up against its French cousin to see how it compares.
However, both of them will need to excel if they’re going to beat one of our favourite city cars, the SEAT Mii. The Spanish model, along with the Skoda Citigo and VW up!, redefined the class at launch nearly four years ago, while the special edition Mii by Mango has an upmarket, fashion-inspired edge, yet still manages to undercut the ForFour on price.
So, can the ForFour shine against its rivals, or will it be outsmarted by the competition?
Follow the links above to read individual reviews, and scroll down to see which city slicker comes out on top in this test...
The Smart and Renault share the same platform and look similar, but the brands quote different dimensions for their cars. The ForFour is shorter, wider and taller, albeit by millimetres, and the differences translate into a smaller boot. It boasts a 185-litre capacity, while the Twingo offers 188 litres. Both cars have two-stage seatbacks, so you can position them at an upright angle to create a little more boot space.
Smart has already started the ball rolling with ForFour specials by offering the Edition 1 at launch. This high-spec model adds new wheels, extra kit and unique body colours. The Mii by Mango is a special edition in name, although SEAT hasn’t put a limit on the car’s production numbers.
Both the Smart and Renault are available with a 1.0-litre turbo three-cylinder engine. Producing 89bhp and 135Nm of torque, the unit lowers the ForFour’s claimed 0-62mph time from 15.9 seconds to 11.9 seconds, while the lighter Renault completes the benchmark sprint in 10.8 seconds.
1st place: SEAT Mii
The brilliant Mii takes another road test victory. While it’s not as boldly engineered as its rivals here, it’s a more complete all-round package. Not only is it nippy and agile around town, but it tackles longer journeys with the sort of composure you’d expect from a much larger car. It’s also well equipped, cheap to run, spacious and impressively refined.
2nd place: Smart ForFour
It’s a close call between the ForFour and Twingo for second place, but the Smart just gets the nod. There’s little to choose between the pair when it comes to driving and practicality, but the Smart should make a slightly smaller impact on your wallet. Its higher list price is offset by much stronger residuals, plus it delivered stronger economy. It’s also better equipped and classier inside.
3rd place: Renault Twingo
There’s no denying that the Twingo has plenty of showroom appeal. It’s cheap to buy and boasts a roomy interior with a decent haul of standard kit. However, like the ForFour, it’s undermined by leisurely performance, plus it can’t match the Mii for comfort and composure. The Twingo is still a characterful city car, but it lacks the depth of ability of the class leaders.
|SEAT Mii by Mango||Smart ForFour Prime 71hp||Renault Twingo Dynamique Sce 70|
|On the road price/total as tested||£11,345/£12,510||£12,315/£14,295||£10,995/£12,085|
|Residual value (after 3yrs/36,000)||£5,548/48.9%||£5,948/48.3%||£4,277/38.9%|
|Annual tax liability std/higher rate||£316/£632||£294/£589||£263/£525|
|Annual fuel cost (12k/20k miles)||£1,331/£2,218||£1,260/£2,099||£1,444/£2,407|
|Ins. group/quote/road tax band/cost||4/£396/B/£20||2/£384/A/£0||3/£277/A/£0|
|Cost of 1st/2nd/3rd service||£19.99pm||£15pm (3yrs)||£299 (3yrs)|
|Engine||3cyl in-line/999cc||3cyl in-line/999cc||3cyl in-line/999cc|
|Peak power/revs||74/6,200 bhp/rpm||70/6,000 bhp/rpm||69/6,000 bhp/rpm|
|Peak torque/revs||95/3,000 Nm/rpm||91/2,850 Nm/rpm||91/2,850 Nm/rpm|
|Transmission||5-spd man/fwd||5-spd man/rwd||5-spd man/rwd|
|Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel||35 litres/£60||35 litres/repair kit||35 litres/repair kit|
|Boot capacity (seats up/down)||251/951 litres||185/975 litres||188-219/980 litres|
|Turning circle/drag coefficient||9.8 metres/0.33Cd||8.7 metres/N/A||8.6 metres/N/A|
|Basic warranty (miles)/recovery||3yrs (60,000)/2yrs||3yrs (unlimited)/1yr||4yrs (100,000)/4yrs|
|Service intervals/UK dealers||12,500 (1yr)/148||12,500 (1yr)/48||12,000 (1yr)/153|
|Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos.||24th/32nd||N/A||15th/12th|
|Euro NCAP: Adult/child/ped./stars||89/80/46/5||78/77/65/4 (2014)||78/81/68/4 (2014)|
|0-60/30-70mph||14.1/15.2 secs||15.0/16.5 secs||16.1/17.4 secs|
|30-50mph in 3rd/4th||7.1/11.9 secs||8.8/12.2 secs||9.4/12.5 secs|
|50-70mph in 5th||19.0 secs||21.4 secs||21.3 secs|
|Top speed/rpm at 70mph||106mph/3,000rpm||94mph/3,200rpm||94mph/N/A|
|Auto Express econ (mpg/mpl)/range||44.4/9.8/342 miles||46.9/10.3/361 miles||40.9/9.0/315 miles|
|Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket||147/108g/km/14%||139/97g/km/12%||160/95g/km/12%|
|Auto gearbox/stability/cruise control||No/yes/£550||No/yes/yes||No/yes/yes|
|Climate control/leather/heated seats||No/part/no||Yes/yes/yes||£500/no/£250|
|Metallic paint/sunroof/keyless go||Yes/£790/no||£295/£850/no||£495/£850/no|