The new Smart Forfour will cost from £11,620 - only £495 more than the equivalent two-seater Fortwo.
The four-seater Forfour has been co-developed with Renault, which is using the same space-efficient, rear-engined package for its new Renault Twingo city car.
What is it?
The Smart Forfour is just 5cm shorter, 2cm wider and very marginally higher than the VW Up, so it sits in the city car class.
However, its turning circle is notably smaller than the Up’s, at 8.65 metres versus 9.8 metres. Boot space is also marginally more than the Up’s, at 255 litres versus 251 litres, and a clever rear seat arrangement means this can be increased. The rear-seat bench can be lowered by up to 12cm, boosting available capacity to 315 litres. With the rear seats folded, the Smart has 975 litres of boot space.
Smart is also highlighting the practicality of the Forfour’s rear doors, which open to ‘almost 90 degrees’, and the fact the front passenger seat folds flat, creating a potential load length along the car of 2.2 metres.
As with the new Smart Fortwo, the Forfour is built around what Mercedes calls a ‘tridion cell’. This safety structure is made using a high proportion of hot-formed steels and multiphase steel, which are especially strong. A safety feature called Crosswind Assist is fitted as standard to boost stability, while forward collision warning and Lane Keeping Assist are available as options.
Smart has also worked hard to give the Fortwo and Forfour a ‘family look’: design features including the headlamps, the air grille in the front and the central safety cell are identical. In total, around 40 exterior colour combinations will be possible, with the options available on body panel colours and core tridion cell colours.
The Forfour is expected to account for around 80% of all Smart sales in the UK.
What engines can I choose from?
Buyers get the choice of two different three-cylinder engines at launch. The lower-powered unit is a 1.0-litre engine that produces 71bhp and 67lb ft of pulling power.
The higher-powered, turbocharged 0.9-litre engine generates 89bhp and 100lb ft of pulling power.
An ultra-frugal 59bhp three-cylinder engine will follow later.
All versions come with the choice of a manual five-speed gearbox or ‘twinamic’ automatic with dual clutch transmission.
The Smart Forfour weighs 95kg more than its compact sibling. Equipped with the naturally aspirated engine, the four-seater can achieve 67.3mpg on the combined cycle and emits 97g/km of CO2. It gets from 0-62mph in 15.9sec on its way to a top speed of 94mph.
What equipment does it come with?
The Smart Forfour will be sold in three trim levels: Passion, Prime and Proxy.
Standard kit is the same as on the two-seat Fortwo and includes LED daytime driving lights, remote central locking, immobiliser, cruise control, electric windows and a trip computer.
Passion trim also gets 15-inch alloy wheels, automatic climate control, a leather steering wheel, a 3.5-inch colour screen and cruise control.
The Prime trim level gets uprated 15-inch bi-colour alloys, a panoramic glass roof, additional dashboard instrument pods, a textured black fabric dashboard and heated leather seats.
The Proxy variant substitutes the heated leather seats of the Prime trim for cloth and leather Artico versions, but gains black 16-inch wheels, a chrome exhaust finisher, alloy pedals and a sports steering wheel trimmed in perforated leather.
A Premium Package adds rear parking sensors, sat-nav and a height adjustable wheel which costs £795. The Premium Plus Package adds the same, but also brings LED headlights, auto lights and wipers, a rear-view camera and ambient lighting, all for £1295.
In the UK, the lowest trim level will not be available initially, following around six months after launch.
From launch there will also be an Edition 1 model, which comes with white body panels and orange details.
How much will it cost?
Prices for the Smart Forfour are only £495 more than the equivalent Fortwo, and start at £11,620 for the Passion trim, with the Prime and Proxy both costing £12,315.
A twin-clutch automatic gearbox will be available in summer 2015, and will add £995 to the price of the equivalent manual version.
The Edition 1 car will cost from £13,720.
How good are its rivals?
The Smart Forfour is a quirky alternative to many highly regarded but more conventional rivals. Chief among these are the Hyundai i10, Seat Mii, Skoda Citigo and VW Up, all of which offer good practicality, refinement and running costs, plus a modicum of all-round ability in towns and on motorways.
Can I get a discount?
Much is riding on the reintroduction of the Smart Forfour to the market, and that pressure is likely to lead to small discounts being available around six months after launch.