The Smart Fortwo Cabriolet

Low emissions and running costs are a bonus with this simple-to-park car. It is pricey though and drives poorly. Noise is a problem and the ride is too firm.

Options for the engine are 1.0 three-cylinder petrol with 101-, 83- or 70bhp or the 54bhp 0.8-litre diesel. The diesel is the slowest, while the cheapest is the 70bhp petrol.

The ride is unimpressive and the suspension is stiff. Road surface problems are absorbed by the occupants of the cabin and the front tyres lose grip fairly quickly. Power steering is an option only.

The three-cylinder engine creates the biggest disturbance as it sits behind the seats. Acceleration causes a thrum, which can become tiresome over long periods. Up-changes are jerky with the semi- auto gearbox.

Running costs are low and it is cheap to insure. Resale value should stay strong as well. Economy range is claimed to be anywhere from 54.3mpg to an outstanding 85.6. Except for the Brabus, all the petrol models are in the 10% tax band and the diesel is in the 13%.

There are some heater controls that seem a little flimsy but on the whole, the cabin seems durable and solid-feeling. It was rated fifth in its class by the JD Power survey, but actual owners gave it far below average for reliability.

All models come standard with stability control as well as passenger and driver side airbags. Side airbags are only an option. There are no deadlocks but there is an immobiliser on the engine.

The interior of the cabin is laid out well and is distinctive. The dials and buttons are large and user-friendly. The steering wheel is fixed and there is no adjustment for height on the seat. To get an interior trimmed in bright colors, you need to go for the Passion model.

There are only two seats but they are big enough for six-foot adults. The doors open wide for easy access and the roof retracts with a simple button touch. The boot is decent with its 220-litre capacity.

The basic Pulse cars come with standard power windows, air-con, Bluetooth, alloy wheels, and gearshift paddles mounted on the steering wheel. The Passion models add sat-nav and a glass roof. Brabus models add heated leather seats, sports suspension and a body kit.

The Smart Fortwo Cabriolet has many pluses: it’s roomy, it’s economical and you’re going to enjoy driving it. The addition of a retracting roof gives a superior feel to this car; you’ll feel as if you’re driving something really sporty while you’re behind the wheel. You’ll feel smarter when you’re driving  the Smart!

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