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Smart Forfour front three-quarters

What is the Smart Forfour?

The Forfour is a funky small car from Smart to rival the Renault Twingo, Citroen C1, Toyota Aygo, Peugeot 108, Volkswagen Up and others of similarly diminutive dimentsion. It twists Smart’s cleverly-packaged small car formula into a more premium flavour, including more than a hint of its Mercedes-Benz parentage.

The current Forfour has only been around since the start of 2015, with the previous model going out of production in 2006 after just two years on sale. The Forfour does what it says on the badge, being the only Smart with seating space for four occupants.

At-a-glance 2019 Smart Forfour specs

  • Top-speed: 80-96mph
  • 0-62mph: 10.5-16.9 seconds
  • Fuel economy: 61-67mpg
  • Emissions: 96-104g/km
  • Boot space: 185-975 litres

Which versions of the Smart Forfour are available?

The Forfour is available in a variety of specifications, including the spiced-up Brabus variant to the all-electric EQ Forfour version. Two petrol engines are available, both with either a five-speed manual or six-speed dual-clutch auto transmission that Smart calls Twinamic.

Smart Forfour hatchback side elevation

Specifications include Prime and the stealthy Urban Shadow Edition, which comes with 16-inch alloy wheels, black trim and a rear-view camera.

What is the Smart Forfour Brabus?

To call the slightly quicker Brabus version a performance derivative might be somewhat charitable. Yes, the chromed badges invoke notions of body-kitted Mercedes models with colossal power outputs, but its 110hp 900cc engine remains diminutive. Still, big wheels, body-coloured bumpers and twin exhausts at least look the part.

Smart Forfour hatchback rear three-quarter

This all comes at a fairly hefty price, however, as does the EQ. Claimed range for the fully electric Forfour is a modest 100 miles.

Smart Forfour styling and engineering

The Forfour shares its steel safety structure, engines and transmissions with the third-generation Renault Twingo. The shell is marketed in Smartspeak as the Tridion – it’s a compact, safe and clever design. As for the styling, it’s an evolution of what’s gone before, with an upmarket look inside and out. The funky design continues in the cabin, but it’s beginning to age and the boot isn’t exactly commodious.

Smart Forfour dashboard

The infotainment options are interesting. You can have a (noticeably aged) in-built system, or a place to mount and integrate your phone.

How does the Smart Forfour drive?

The Smart Forfour is by no means a scintillating drive, but that’s not its goal. If you want B-road thrills and small bills, try the Ford Fiesta. If you want a feather-light, manoeuvrable and capable city car, on the other hand, the Smart is highly appealing. It’s very single-minded in its focus. This is no motorway hauler, nor is at adept at cross-country routes.

It will get you around the city with ease, prove easy to park and sip fuel (or indeed electricity). It’s good at what it was engineered to do, and average to sub-par at everything else.

How much does the Smart Forfour cost?

It’s worth considering that the Renault Twingo closely matches the Forfour in terms of driving, but for less money. The Smart starts at £11,910, whereas you can get into the (newly updated) Renault for less than £10,000 after discounts. Indeed, most of the Forfour’s rivals are significantly cheaper.

What do you get for your extra cheddar, then? The Mercedes association is appealing, for one thing. And models with big wheels do look suitably premium. Then again, you’re paying serious money for a Brabus, or even just the tailor-made Brabus options.

Find out how Forfour drivers rate their larger Smarts with our comprehensive owners’ reviews.

Smart Forfour Model History

Current generation Smart Forfour model history

December 2014 – New Smart Forfour released, with 71hp and 90hp models.

Special Smart Forfour limited editions

Available from launch the Edition #1 offered a high level of spec including Comfort, Premium and Premium Plus packages. You also got grey body panels, orange fabric dash and door central panels, clock and rev counter on dash, Edition #1 badging, the panoramic sunroof, an orange safety cell and velour floor mats.

Joining the range for a limited time in 2016 were the Edition Black and Edition White, each completely dressed in the named colour, save for the 16-inch wheels which were black on both. Standard equipment included 10mm lower sports suspension, stainless steel pedals with rubber grip studs, wheelarch extensions, MirrorLink for compatible smartphones, leather seats, a glass roof and rear privacy glass.

June 2016  - Brabus Forfour announced

June 2017 – Smart Electric Drive joins the range, adding a 17.6kWh battery and electric motor option.

July 2017 - Disturbing London edition added to the range, with Brabus styling accented in rose gold as a collaboration with Tinie Tempah.

First-generation Smart Forfour (2004-2006)

Smart ForFour Mk1

While the current car shares its underpinnings with a small Renault, the original borrowed its gizzards from the Mitsubishi Colt. Everything from the chassis to the suspension and petrol engines was shared, with the pair being built alongside one another in the Netherlands.

Three and four-cylinder petrol units were available, as well as larger 1.5-litre diesels. A hot Brabus version was also sold, featuring the 174hp Mitsubishi CZT engine. It would be more than eight years before the second-generation model would debut, after the original went out of production in 2006.