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View all Smart Fortwo reviews
Parkers overall rating: 3.5 out of 5 3.5

UK's smallest convertible gets more appealing

Smart Fortwo Cabriolet (16-19) - rated 3.5 out of 5
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PROS

  • Power roof a doddle
  • Extra width affords elbow room
  • Dual-clutch auto infinitely better
  • The cheapest cabrio in the UK

CONS

  • Ugly front end
  • Premium-free Renault switchgear
  • Limited boot space
  • Expensive

PROS

  • Power roof a doddle
  • Extra width affords elbow room
  • Dual-clutch auto infinitely better
  • The cheapest cabrio in the UK

CONS

  • Ugly front end
  • Premium-free Renault switchgear
  • Limited boot space
  • Expensive

Smart Fortwo Cabriolet rivals

Peugeot
108
3.5 out of 5 3.5

Inelegant front styling gurn of a chubby Pokemon character aside, this third generation of Smart's diminutive, two-seater convertible is clearly the best yet. And that's simply because it's the first Fortwo Cabriolet in 18 years to offer a driving experience that won't leave you inadvertently boasting the neck muscles of a rugby prop forward within six weeks of buying the thing.

All the Smart trademarks remain - including no real soft-top rivals save the larger and less pricey four-seater Fiat 500C and Peugeot 108 Top - except for that ghastly automated manual gearbox which threw your head around like a plastic Churchill bulldog on the parcel shelf with every shift.

Joint collaboration with Mercedes and Renault

Now, because of a new alliance with Renault (which builds the Twingo and four-seater Smart Forfour sister ships), the Fortwo Cabriolet is armed with a choice of 999cc, 70bhp and turbocharged 898cc, 89bhp three-cylinder French petrol engines that first arrive in the UK mated to a German Twinamic double-clutch automatic transmission smoother than a freshly buttered bannister.

Indeed, the Cabrio is something of a Franco-Germanic hybrid: responsible for the overall concept, Mercedes makes the trademark Tridion safety cell (now some 50 percent stiffer than its predecessor), suspension, safety technology and dual-clutch gearbox, while, along with the engines, Renault supplies a £995 cheaper, five-speed manual transmission available for order imminently, and a good chunk of the hardware, including much of the interior.

Versatile roof

The snug, triple-layered soft-top works well, opening in two stages in just 12 seconds, at any speed up to and including terminal velocity; a whisker short of 100mph, and the roof side bars may also be removed. Mercifully, this isn't a Citroen C3 Pluriel, so the process is relatively painless, and the bars store in a tailor-made pocket affixed to the bottom-hinged tailgate.

Though identical in all other dimensions to its predecessor - just 2.69 metres long with an hilarious 6.95-metre turning circle to out-manoeuvre even a London black cab - this latest specimen is 10cm wider, allowing two large (and heavily disguised) gentlemen to sit side-by-side without relentlessly clonking elbows in the manner of courting albatross beaks.

Within an interior now spacious enough to make you largely forget just how small a car you're driving, stylistic efforts to make this well-equipped cabin grow up may have succeeded, but we can't help feeling that - though the driving position is first class – there’s a slightly over-blatant whiff of Renault-sourced switchgear and componentry that devalues the cabin a touch.

Trio of specifications

As with the standard Fortwo, there are three trim levels to choose from: entry-level Passion, higher-specification Prime, and sporting Proxy.

Passion grade standard equipment includes automatic climate control, an audio system with Bluetooth connectivity, a choice of either orange/black or grey/black interiors and 15-inch alloy wheels. Prime models bolster this with black leather upholstery, seat heating, fancier 15-inch alloys and additional clock and rev-counter dashboard instrumentation in the form of a pod aping the sadly now defunct, funky dash-top crab eyes of yore.

Proxy versions are equipped with larger 16-inch alloys, a blue and white interior with false leather and cloth upholstery and, as standard, the Sports Package, which includes rubber-studded sports pedals, a leather-clad steering wheel with paddle shifters, a chrome exhaust and sports suspension lowered by 10mm.

Save some money on sat-nav

We weren’t convinced by the seven-inch-screened media system (part of the £795 Premium Pack) fitted to the Fortwo we drove. It is a mite clunky to operate, and the sat-nav's not the fastest by a considerable chalk. You might do better with the standard smartphone cradle and Google Maps.

Smart Fortwo Cabriolet rivals

Peugeot
108
3.5 out of 5 3.5

Other Smart Fortwo (2015 - 2019) models: