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Smart Forfour Review

Smart Forfour
Smart Forfour
Smart Forfour
Smart Forfour
Smart Forfour
Smart Forfour
Smart Forfour
Smart Forfour
Smart Forfour
Smart Forfour
Smart Forfour

1/10

Smart Forfour

2/10

Smart Forfour

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Smart Forfour

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Smart Forfour

5/10

Smart Forfour

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Smart Forfour

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Smart Forfour

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Smart Forfour

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Smart Forfour

10/10

1 / 10

heycar review

      Launch year
      2014
      Body type
      City car
      Fuel type
      Petrol
heycar editorial team

Written by

heycar editorial team

00/10
heycar rating
Bigger Smart is still small

Best bits

  • Strong exterior and interior design is appealing
  • Standard specification on most models is good
  • Tight turning circle helps excellent manoeuvrability

Not so great

  • Boot is one of the smallest in the class
  • Indifferent ride quality
  • Offers no discernible advantages over cheaper Renault Twingo

Read by

Smart Forfour Right Side View

Overall verdict

Smart Forfour Front Interior

On the inside

Smart Forfour Front Side View

Driving

Smart Forfour Rear Side View

How much does it cost to run

Smart Forfour Rim

Prices, versions and specification

Overall verdict

"If it’s a wacky approach to small cars you’re looking for then you’ve come to the right place. Smart tore up the rule book when it first introduced the tiny Fortwo in the late 1990s, and followed that up with the slightly more conventional Forfour in 2004. That car only lasted a couple of years, but the Forfour returned in 2014 and had a lot more in common with the contemporary Fortwo."

Smart Forfour Right Side View

Designed and built in collaboration with Renault, who produced the mechanically-similar Twingo, the Forfour aped the mechanical layout of the smaller Fortwo by placing the engine at the rear of the car and driving the rear wheels, unlike the front-engine, front-wheel-drive approach of every other small car on the market. 


The theory is that you can package up the engine and drivetrain together and use less space, leaving more room in the rest of the car for people and stuff. It also means the front wheels just have to steer rather than drive, which is good for manoeuvrability.


You’d do well to spot that’s the case from the outside though. There’s almost nothing to indicate that there isn’t a tiny engine nestling under the short bonnet, or that there’s anything other than luggage space in the boot. It also borrows the visual cues of its smaller sibling, with lots of soft curves, very short overhangs front and rear, a cute ‘face’ and the option to have the body finished in contrasting colours.


The Forfour is available with a choice of two petrol engine options - a 900cc turbocharged unit and a 1.0-litre non-turbocharged alternative, both with three cylinders only. 


The turbocharged option is slightly smaller in capacity but is the more powerful of the two, offering up 90PS and 135Nm of torque, while the 1.0-litre is the cheaper alternative with 71PS and 91Nm of torque. Most models are fitted with a five-speed manual gearbox, but a dual-clutch six-speed automatic is available with the turbocharged engine. Smart also offered a high-spec Brabus version with 108PS, but this model is more expensive again.


The mechanical layout of the Forfour makes its presence felt when you step inside the cabin. This is still a small car remember - it might have four doors but it’s still less than 3.5 metres in length - but it can seat four adults in reasonable comfort, even if the rear seats are best left for children. 


One small niggle with the Forfour is that the driver’s seat and steering wheel doesn’t have a large range of adjustment, so taller drivers may find it harder to get into a comfortable driving position. Rather disappointingly, the luggage area only offers 185 litres with the seats in place, less than the identical Twingo and less even than the Smart Fortwo. This does increase to an impressive 975 litres with the seats folded.


The Forfour came in three standard trim levels - Pure, Passion, Prime and Proxy in ascending order. There were also a number of special editions throughout the car’s life, although most of these centred on visual upgrades. The basic Pure model is light on equipment and was dropped later in the car’s life, so Passion models upwards all get air conditioning, cruise control, hill start assist, electric front windows, AUX input and Bluetooth.


To drive, the Forfour is still at its best in the city. The super-tight turning circle is a boon in lots of situations, while of the two engine options the more powerful turbocharged unit is preferable, providing a useful surge of acceleration at low speeds and is happier at higher speeds too.


The Forfour is an odd mix of compromises, with its unusual layout not really aiding its space efficiency or its performance out of town. There’s also little to recommend it over its Twingo sister car, which is likely to be cheaper to buy too.


If you're looking for the EV version, you need our Smart EQ Forfour (2017-) review.

Ready to get your top quality Smart Forfour?

  • All cars come with a warranty
  • Selected dealers only
  • All quality checked

Smart Forfour

60kW EQ Prime Exclusive 17kWh 5dr Auto [22kWch]

  • 2020
  • 1,508 miles

Manufacturer Approved

  • Mercedes-Benz of Hertford
  • Hertfordshire, SG137LB
Price (ex VAT):£16,950
HP: £461.12/mo

Representative example: Contract Length: 36 months, 35 Monthly Payments: £461.12, Customer Deposit: £2,542.00, Total Deposit: £2,542.50, Total Charge For Credit: £2,202.82, Total Amount Payable: £19,152.82, Representative APR: 9.9%, Interest Rate (Fixed): 9.44%

Smart Forfour

1.0 Prime 5dr

  • 2017
  • 17,020 miles
  • Drive Vauxhall Stockton-on-Tees
  • Durham, TS183SB
Price:£6,382
PCP: £118.03/mo

Representative example: Contract Length: 36 months, 35 Monthly Payments: £118.03, Customer Deposit: £957.00, Total Deposit: £957.30, Optional Final Payment: £2,825.00, Total Charge For Credit: £1,531.35, Total Amount Payable: £7,913.35, Representative APR: 12.9%, Interest Rate (Fixed): 12.19%, Excess Mileage Charge: 9ppm, Mileage Per Annum: 10,000

Is the Smart Forfour right for you?

The Forfour tries to build on the city abilities of the Fortwo but with additional space, so if you spend most of your time in the city but need the extra versatility of being able to carry passengers in the back, then it makes sense over the Fortwo. However, this does mean it is more similar to most of its city car rivals, some of which are better-rounded cars with superior driving manners and more space.


The Forfour would make a good choice for a new driver as it offers an easy driving experience and a high level of standard safety equipment. It also would serve as a useful second car with low running costs but space for four people if required.

What's the best Smart Forfour model to choose?

The cheaper 1.0-litre engine is adequate, but really the 0.9-litre turbocharged unit is the better option. It only has a small penalty in respect of fuel consumption and emissions but delivers a much superior driving experience, particularly out of town. The five-speed manual gearbox is sufficient, but the dual-clutch automatic is actually the better option as it is more fuel efficient and makes life much easier in town driving.


As for the trim level to go for, we would suggest skipping the too-basic Pure model and choosing either the Passion model which adds some key features like air conditioning and Bluetooth, or the Prime model if you want a more up-spec option.

What other cars are similar to the Smart Forfour?

The closest thing you can get to the Forfour is the Renault Twingo, its sister car that shares a body structure and mechanicals, although there are many visual differences. It’s likely to be cheaper to buy and has more boot space, but the cabin is not as attractive as the Smart’s.


The SEAT Mii and Skoda Citigo are Volkswagen Group spin-offs of the Volkswagen Up, and bring the solid engineering and efficiency you usually get, just with a smaller price tag than the Volkswagen version. Smart-looking and good to drive, both the Mii and Citigo are attractive options.


The Hyundai i10 is also a strong contender, and although the cheapest model is some way from the cheapest Citroen C1, it brings a quality feel and good specification.

Learn more

Smart Forfour Front Interior

On the inside

Smart Forfour Front Side View

Driving

Smart Forfour Rear Side View

How much does it cost to run

Smart Forfour Rim

Prices, versions and specification