Car Review

Two-seat city car gets stop-start as standard.

Overall Auto Express Rating

3.0 out of 5

* Price: £8,700* Engine: 1.0-litre 3cyl, 71bhp* Transmission: Five-speed semi-auto, rear-wheel drive* 0-62mph: 13.3 seconds* Top speed: 90mph* Economy: 65.7mpg* Standard equipment: Stability control, air-conditioning, twin airbags, panoramic roof, CD player, central locking, electric windows* On sale: Now

Smart is driving into the future! Over the next few years, the firm is planning to replace all of its petrol engines with various forms of slot-in ‘drive’ units. An all-electric Smart is currently on trial, but available right now is this: the ForTwo mhd, or micro hybrid drive.

Don’t let the name confuse you, though. This is basically a stop-start Smart, with a heavy-duty generator providing swift restarting in town. It switches off below 5mph, so the engine even stops while you’re still moving.

The auto cut-out eliminates tickover vibration from the three-cylinder engine. As soon as you take your foot off the brake the unit restarts, although there is a pronounced shudder when it does. Other quirks include heavy brakes and steering. Power assistance is a £310 extra; we think it should be standard.

Otherwise, the ForTwo is unchanged. The mhd technology is offered on both 61bhp and 71bhp variants, while the firm has kept prices the same.

So how much can you save? The company claims 65.7mpg and CO2 emissions of 103g/km, which is an improvement of nine per cent over the standard car. But Smart believes drivers could see fuel economy improved by up to 25 per cent around town.

Rival: Toyota iQ There’s no stop-start, but with 99g/km of CO2 and 66mpg, the iQ is as green as city cars get. It’s better to drive and roomier than the Smart, albeit more expensive.

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