Smart ForTwo

When it comes to buyers' pockets and the environment, the Smart ForTwo makes a lot of sense as the city car of choice.

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

Three Smart ForTwos, three very different forms of technology. All have got a lot going for them, but it's the MHD and CDI diesel that make the most sense. The EV electric car works very well, but it's still some way off, and is expensive. Conversely, the MHD offers plenty of city centre savings and no compromises. If the technology was combined with the CDI oil-burner, then Smart really would have an eco-winner on its hands.

What's the smartest way to travel? Well, when it comes to buyers' pockets and the environment, there's no doubt about it - the Smart ForTwo makes a lot of sense - especially as it is about to get even greener.

Three super-efficient models, which promise to save pennies as well as the planet, have just been unveiled...and we've driven them all.

Biggest news is the MHD - or Micro Hybrid Drive. This is no battery and electric motor-equipped hybrid, as with Toyota's Prius. Instead, it features a starter generator, which means the ForTwo can stop and restart its engine when needed.

Come to a halt and as long as you keep your foot on the brake, the engine cuts out. It restarts as soon as you lift off. The unit also disconnects if your speed drops to 5mph or below, too.

Fuel savings equate to eight per cent on the combined cycle, or 13 per cent in town. And CO2 emissions of 103g/km make it cleaner than a Prius. When this model arrives next year, it will add £300 to the price.

Further into the future is the Electric Vehicle - or EV. Packing a 41bhp electric motor, acceleration is quite strong, but motorways are a struggle with a 69mph top speed, and the range of 70 miles means it is really only suitable around town. Still, a full charge takes eight hours and costs only £1.35. We also tried the 799cc CDI turbodiesel, which achieves 85mpg, and emits a lowly 88g/km of CO2, a figure no hybrid can beat.

It is slow, though, with the 0-60mph sprint taking 19.8 seconds. While it's not confirmed for the UK, it will cost £8,000 and be left-hand-drive if it does arrive. However, low emissions mean it's exempt from the road fund licence.

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