They began with my assumption that the two rear stereo speakers were not working.
My ‘nearest’ dealer is either Cambridge or Northampton. Smarts are, at the moment at least, excluded from going to all Mercedes-Benz dealerships, one of which is less than a mile from my home, for repairs. I chose to go to Cambridge. It would have meant a journey of about 70 miles.
However, the quick-thinking dealer pointed out that our test car had the Standard Radio 5, which only comes with two speakers. While the rear speakers are there, they are not wired in. You have to have the Standard Radio 6 for quadraphonic sound. Even the cheap-by-comparison City Rover Sprite (£7,895 OTR) comes with a four-speaker system.
I have a couple of other gripes: the driver door appears to have dropped slightly. If you don’t give it a hearty shove, it doesn’t shut properly. Also, the gap between the two front doors and the B-pillar is excessive – I can see the locking mechanism with the door shut.
This article must read as though I don’t rate the forfour. But it’s not like that.
The abiding impression is that smart has successfully faced the challenge that could be called the ‘tricky second album’ syndrome, when a band is faced with matching the success of a debut release.
Smart has followed up the fortwo, which placed the brand on a quirky-but-worthy pedestal, with a car that successfully mixes mainstream with modern. What you get is a practical car that can compete with the Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Corsas of this world, but also stands out from the crowd. Jeremy Bennett
Model: smart forfour 1.5 cdi passion
Price (OTR): £12,370
CO2 emissions (g/km): 121
Company car tax bill (2005/6) 22% tax-payer: £33 per month
Insurance group: 7
Combined mpg: 61.4
Test mpg: 46.0
CAP Monitor residual value: £4,275/35%
HSBC contract hire rate: £282
Expenditure to date: Nil