Tiny eco warrior

smart fortwo lightshine rear
smart fortwo lightshine side
smart fortwo lightshine front
Smart fortwo, interior

IF you want to be greener than green, the smart fortwo has just about the lowest emissions and running costs on the planet.

But those who know me know I have little love for the strange little two seater. It is ugly and misshapen and despite loads of safety devices it still sometimes feels unstable.

Earlier models have barmy names but with prices now down to £1,100, they offer fair value for money if you can stand the foibles.

All the first cars were left hand drive, but since they are all very narrow and come with automatic drive, it doesn't make much difference.

They are short enough to park nose in to the kerb, which can be a real boon, and they feel nippy around town, but they soon run out of steam on the open road.

Later models have bigger engines with decent power, but some still have among the lowest emissions of all, combined with excellent economy.  

All have electronic stability control, front airbags and safety seats with built-in seatbelts. There is also power steering, central locking and electric windows.

The ride gets very wearing over more than a few miles and handling does not inspire confidence.

FAST FACTS

Price: Pay about £3,300 for an '07 07-reg Pure, or £5,500 for a '10 10-reg Pulse

Mechanical: 71bhp, 999cc, 3cyl petrol engine driving rear wheels via 6-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 90mph

0-62mph: 13.6 seconds

Combined MPG: 65

Insurance Group: 3

C02 emissions: 97g/km

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