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Smart Roadster

(2002 - 2006) 

Smart Roadster

The Smart Roadster is a great fun to drive

Engine Engine power Fuel consumption Fuel type 0-100 (0-60) Top speed
0.7i 61 hp 4.9 l/100km Petrol 15.5 s 160 km/h
0.7i 82 hp 5.1 l/100km Petrol 10.9 s 175 km/h
1.4i V6 170 hp ? Petrol 6.0 s 220 km/h

Body type Roadster
Number of doors 2
Number of seats 2
Engine position Rear
Driven wheels Rear
Length 3 427 mm
Width 1 615 mm
Height 1 192 mm
Wheelbase 2 360 mm
Ground clearance ?
Weight (normal) 790 kg
Weight (max) ?
Boot space (min) 45 l
Boot space (max) 86 l
Fuel capacity 35, 50 l


   The Smart roadster is produced since 2002. It is available as a coupe or roadster.

   These aren't quick cars, but with a 0.7 turbocharged version of Smart's three-cylinder engine and low weight, they feel lively so long as you keep the revs up. Brabus versions have 20% more power and are real pocket rockets. All models are hampered by the hesitant semi-automatic gearbox.

   With a low centre of gravity, wide tyres and sharp handling, both the Roadster and Roadster Coupe are huge fun while soaking up bumps and resisting shake. An optional Sport pack with bigger wheels and tyres adds extra front-end grip. The electric steering doesn't deliver enough feedback, but the stripped-out Light version feels more wieldy.

   The Smart's three-cylinder engine produces a distinctive grunt under load, and a flutter from the turbo's waste gate every time you back off the power, so it sounds like a miniature rally car. Road and wind noise are well controlled, and the semi-auto gear changes are much smoother than in early Smarts except when you use the full auto mode.

   Smart will stop selling the Roadster next year, and discounts don't exist. It manages less than 6l/100km on the combined cycle, but resale values can't match those of the best in class. The low-spec Light model is cheaper than the standard models, although all are affordable to run.

   Smart's three-cylinder engines and semi-auto gearboxes have proved durable during the years they've been on sale, so there's no cause for concern even in this higher-performance turbo form. Everything looks solid, but some of the plastics and seat controls aren't exactly top-notch.

   Buyers get the latest electronic stability and braking systems, so even those not used to rear-wheel drive stay out of trouble. All have twin airbags. The Roadster Coupe, with its two hard roof panels, is a better anti-theft bet than the Roadster's soft-top.

   You sit low and stretched out in both cars and the seat grips you tightly, but it's comfortable even for those with an ample frame. There's no seat-height or steering adjustment, but the cabin is snug for most drivers and the controls are easy to use. The Coupe has a brake light in the centre of the rear screen that blocks your view, however.

   The Roadster is a two-seater with luggage areas front and rear, but there's not much oddment space in the cabin. It comes with a folding cloth roof and the Roadster Coupe with two hard removable roof panels.

   All models get electric power steering, alloy wheels and a radio/CD player; most have air-con. The Roadster comes with 15-inch alloy wheels and an electric soft-top; a hard top is a cost option. The Roadster Coupe has wider tyres and two removable hard-top panels. Brabus models get leather trim and a body kit.

   The production of the Smart roadster still continues.


   Advantages: Revives the spirit of the small, light, low-cost, low-powered roadsters of the 1950s and 1960s, but with 21st century safety and reliability. Great for fun.

   Disadvantages: Steering sluggish to react around the straight-ahead and delivers too little feedback. Semi-auto gearbox still hesitant in full self-shifting mode.

   Verdict: Gearbox and steering spoil an otherwise fun car.

   Also consider: Daihatsu Copen, Ford StreetKa.

Video of the Smart Roadster
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Smart Roadster

Smart Roadster

Smart Roadster

Smart Roadster

Smart Roadster

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