The Smart City Coupe is DaimlerChrysler’s unique interpretation of urban transport. It started life as a collaborative project between Swatch - the famous Swiss watch company and Mercedes Benz, but Mercedes took over the project entirely prior to it going on sale. Its troubled conception meant it took longer to hit the showrooms than had initially been expected and when it arrived sales were slow. European buyers embraced it more than UK customers, no doubt due to left-hand-drive only availability for its first few years of sale. However, it gained a following among the fashionable set, becoming a real hit for those wanting funky transport around town.
Its compact dimensions mean it’ll slot through traffic where others wouldn’t dare, and find parking spaces in the most unlikely of places. Read its specification; rear-mounted turbocharged engined driving the rear wheels through a semi-automatic six-speed transmission, two-seat coupe body with traction control as standard. You’d be forgiven for thinking it’s a sporting machine. It isn’t, that turbocharged engine is only 599cc, though it develops a reasonable 54bhp in Smart & Passion specification. A small, yet tall, space efficient and stylish solution to urban transport, it competes with motorbikes, scooters, microcars and a bus/tube pass.
The Smart is one of those cars that, while clearly very youth orientated, makes sense for everybody. You’ll look good in it whatever your age, famous owners including people like Robbie Williams and even Sir Stirling Moss (he of F1 fame so many years ago). How cool is that? If you’re a townie, or even a out of townie that spends a lot of time driving around and to and from the city, the Smart makes a lot of sense. Reduced rates on parking at stations makes them a clever choice for commuters too, you’ll even get discounted ferry rates should you take one abroad, Smart cleverly arranging reduced rates on a number of services due to the cars small dimensions.
It’ll buzz around town with ease, happily keeping up with the flow of the traffic. While doing so it’ll make you smile, it’s such a pleasing place to be, the smart interior is spacious, comfortable and unquestionably funky. There’s a cabrio version too should you want to make the most of our fantastic weather, but it does send the price spiralling out of the ’sensible’ bracket. It’ll carry you and one other in comfort, and although the boot looks tiny there’s enough space back there for all but the most dedicated of shoppers. Driven sensibly and you’ll barely have to worry about fuel consumption, petrol stations will become a distant memory. Its height gives you excellent all-round visibility, helping you spot those elusive parking spaces around town. It’s classless too; it can be parked anywhere and still look great.