The thought of such a journey – totalling more than 200 miles – would have, until the arrival of the forfour to the range, been a daunting one for smart drivers.
If you’ve ever found yourself on the M25 in a fortwo, the experience is not pleasant thanks to the high noise levels from the engine, wind roar and stereo (turning it up loud enough to hear above the first two).
The forfour, however, is a totally different experience. The 1,493cc engine provides its maximum pulling power of 115lb-ft at just 1,800rpm, so impressive acceleration is on offer as you work your way through the gears, and the fact you do not have to work the engine hard helps refinement, too.
As well as reaching motorway speeds quickly, the smart remains a relaxing place to be when you’re there.
There is a bit of wind noise from the wing mirrors and the ride can be a little bumpy, but cruising and cornering are comfortable experiences. The forfour is also clearly the best car to drive in the smart range over long periods, unlike the Roadster where your backside is just inches from the Tarmac.
The interior space for driver and front seat passenger is good for even the tallest occupants, with plenty of headroom and generous adjustment of seat distance from the pedals.
With an emphasis on the punch of the engine, it’s not surprising the test fuel consumption of 48.2mpg is not matching smart’s claimed figures – but to be so way off the 61.4mpg combined rate is a concern.
I’ve improved on the figure in the last report but it’s still way below what it should be, especially when you consider the shortfall equates to an extra 100 miles between fill-ups.
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: 48.2
CAP Monitor residual value: £4,175/34%
HSBC contract hire rate: £282
Expenditure to date: Nil