Used Smart Fortwo Coupe 2003 - 2007 review

Category: Small car

It's trendy and fun, but too small and too quirky to have mainstream appeal

Smart Fortwo Coupe (03 - 07)
  • Smart Fortwo Coupe (03 - 07)
  • Smart Fortwo Coupe (03 - 07)
Used Smart Fortwo Coupe 2003 - 2007 review
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Steve Huntingford
Published01 January 2006

What's the used Smart Fortwo Coupe coupe like?

The fact that the Smart car was already a common sight on our roads even before the company started officially importing them is a good indicator that many people love this car.

This affinity was largely due to the car's funky looks and hip, eco-friendly image. It had other talents, too, but it also had some big failings.


It's trendy and fun, but too small and too quirky to have mainstream appeal

  • It has funky styling, excellent fuel economy
  • and you can park it just about anywhere
  • The Fortwo is slow, the gearchange is lumpy
  • and the ride isn't good either

On the plus side, despite being two feet shorter than a Mini, there's sufficient room for two six-footers to sit in comfort, and enough space in the boot to stow a small amount of luggage. Safety provision is excellent for a car of this size, and cheap running costs are another big draw. It's also a doddle to park.

On the minus side, it's not great to drive, though. The engines are never anything more than sufficient, and the handling is stodgy. The ride is poor, too, bouncing over bumps in an ungainly fashion, while the six-speed semi-automatic gearbox makes for jerky progress. Refinement is poor, too.

Ownership cost

What used Smart Fortwo Coupe coupe will I get for my budget?

How much does it cost to run a Smart Fortwo Coupe coupe?

Although the Smart is far from expensive, it isn't quite the bargain some rival city cars are. And, most of these also have two more seats as well as a better drive, too.

Despite the car being popular, its resale values aren't that great, so there are some good deals on used examples. You'll still be looking at paying more than half of the car's original value for a three-year old example, though.

Running costs are very low, though. The older cars will return an average of 57.6mpg or 55.4mpg depending on the engine you go for, and the newer cars can just creep over the 60mpg mark. Even the Brabus version will return a highly respectable 53.3mpg.

Insurance costs will be equally meagre. For any mainstream ForTwo, you'll pay a group 2 premium. However, as Smart is a part of the Mercedes stable, costs for routine maintenance are uncommonly high in comparison to other city cars'.

Our recommendations

Which used Smart Fortwo Coupe coupe should I buy?

The ForTwo started life as the CityCoupe, and came with a turbocharged 599cc engine giving either 44bhp or 54bhp. In each, performance is fine for town use, but not anywhere else.

The 44bhp engine came in Pure trim, which includes remote central locking, twin front airbags, traction control and electric windows. The 54bhp engine came in either Pulse trim, with the same kit as Pure models, or Passion, which adds air-con and alloy wheels.

In 2003, the CityCoupe became the ForTwo. Trim levels were largely unchanged, but there were alterations to the engine range. 50bhp or 61bhp versions were sold, and eventually, a Brabus model with 74bhp. Leave this one alone, though, because fuel economy isn't as good, and it's no better to drive.

We'd recommend Pulse models. These give you the right engine in both ranges, the level of equipment you get is sufficient and it's still fairly cheap.


What alternatives should I consider to a used Smart Fortwo Coupe coupe?