Compact, urban and innovative are three words which could be used to describe the Smart brand. The German manufacturer - a division of Daimler AG - cornered the market during the mid-to-late 1990s with regards to microcar production, bringing the ForTwo and ForFour to more than 40 countries around the world. Their eye-catching looks and likeability are part of the brand’s link with Swatch. The Swiss watchmaker wanted to collaborate with a car maker and first approached Volkswagen with the idea. When this was turned down by the German giant, Daimler stepped in and the Swatch Mercedes ART was born.
Smart’s mass market appeal meant their reputation quickly grew around the world, with exports to the US, Canada and Europe in the early 2000s proving popular. In the UK, Smart launched in 2000 to much interest from people looking to own a compact and fun car. Their popularity is still apparent, with both the ForTwo and ForTwo Coupe models currently available from our vast database.
The initial designs and developments were the main challenges for Smart in the early years. Johann Tomforde - one of the founding co-directors and designer - was replaced in 1998 by chief engineer Gerhard Fritz after ‘dynamic instability’ of the new Smart City-Coupe prototype saw Daimler-Benz postponing its launch for a further six months. Fritz made several significant changes to the prototype, including stiffening the suspension and adding ballast weight to the front of the car. With these changes - and a happier director group - the car was launched as planned in October 1998.
The early 2000s saw the Smart range expand to include the rear-engined Roadster, as well as a Brabus-tuned upgrade for this and the ForTwo and ForFour models. In 2004, a doorless, open-roofed concept - the FourJoy - was unveiled as the latest concept to be ‘in touch with the city’.
The Smart range may be small, but it is mighty when it comes to producing compact and lightweight cars. If you’re interested in any of the Smart cars currently available, then you may want to read our owner reviews below. These are unbiased opinions from Creditplus customers. You can also read expert reviews and reviews from the Parkers car guide.