WHEN the SMART car first arrived on the scene, it turned heads for all the wrong reasons – it was not the most attractive thing on wheels and tended to bring a bit of a smirk to the face of onlookers.
But as sales exceeded all expectations, the model with a huge Mercedes-Benz influence has not only become acceptable, but has even branched out into the convertible field.
In fact, the SMART Roadster supplied for the test drive boasted all the mod cons one might expect from a top-of-the-range model, but at an affordable price – £13,513.
It has all the safety kit expected like Electronic Stability Program, driver and passenger airbags, Hill Start Assist and Hydraulic Brake Assist to name but a few.
But there’s no getting away from the fact that despite the big car features, the car does feel small and somewhat cramped at times, which leaves the driver feeling a little vulnerable, especially when belting along the open road next to monster-sized juggernauts.
That aside, this is a fun-sized vehicle with quite a bit of spark and which boasts great acceleration and road-holding abilities. It has sports seats, a CD player and a leather steering wheel, plus the option of a paddle gear change on the steering wheel or fully automatic driving.
Economically, the SMART Roadster is a wise choice with excellent fuel economy due to its compact size and light weight.
And buyers can even purchase special made-to-measure luggage that fits into the nooks and crannies that pass for storage space.
Despite being a little on the claustrophobic side – especially on a dark, wet and windy day – the little SMART is a fun drive and especially buzzy around town. However after a lengthy spell in the cockpit, a visit to the osteopath is advisable!
Mechanical: 80bhp, 698cc, 3cyl petrol engine driving rear wheels via semi-automatic gearbox
Max speed: 109mph
Combined mpg: 55.4
Insurance group: 10
CO2 emissions: – 122g/km
BiK rating: 15%
Warranty: 3yrs/ unlimited miles; 6yrs paint; 1yr anti-rust