Smart ForTwo 2006 review

Special edition of Smart city car looks impressive, but costs a bit too much

Overall Auto Express Rating

3.0 out of 5

Styling updates are a matter of taste – but whatever your view, red paint, a bodykit and big alloys certainly make the Edition Red stand out. It has plenty of pace, too. But what’s going on with the price? It’s too much for such a small car when there are plenty of rivals available boasting more space and style.

The ForTwo is set to Smart-en up! An all-new version of the city car goes on sale next year, boasting a bigger, better-quality interior and a wider range of engines, including a diesel for the first time.

But that doesn’t mean the current car is bowing out quietly. The Brabus-tuned ForTwo has always appealed to those who want to zip around town, and the punchy model is getting a host of visual enhancements.

The result is this, the Edition Red, which is available in Coupé or Cabrio form. As the name suggests, there’s only one colour available – Intense Red – and with a bodykit, twin chrome exhaust pipes, Brabus badges and big 16-inch alloys, it’s not for the shy or retiring.

Inside, the Edition Red is even more vivid. The leather seats, mats and door pockets get bright red detailing, as does the steering wheel, while the gearlever and handbrake are clad in chrome and the pedals are made of aluminium.

It all adds up to an eye-assaulting experience. But does the Edition Red have the go to match its show? Well, with a healthy 74bhp from its tweaked 698cc engine and very little weight to haul around, it’s certainly sprightly in town. It cruises well on motorways, too.

Yet, as ever with the ForTwo, the SoftTouch sequential gearbox gets in the way. Auto mode is very jerky and it’s hard to make smooth changes even with manual control, plus the lack of a clutch pedal makes manoeuvring tricky. Factor in numb, low-geared steering and a harsh ride – blame the big alloys – and the Edition Red, ironically, isn’t much fun in town. However, it does fit into virtually any parking space, and has a very tight turning circle.

But if you’re after a diminutive city car which does all of that, go for the base model, which costs only £6,775. As with all ForTwos, it’s not perfect, yet it is cool and great value for money. At £13,865, the Edition Red simply isn’t.

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