Smart Roadster 2003 - 2007

Smart Roadster 2003 - 2007

Review by it
Monday, May 16, 2016

Pros:

  • Both engines are extremely frugal
  • It has its own unique looks
  • It makes for a fun driving experience

Cons:

  • It’s not as quick to drive as you might expect

Overview

The Smart Roadster comes with sports car looks and handling, but it’s unlikely you’ll loose your licence in it as it isn’t as fast as its looks. Not that you will realise it when you’re driving it fast anyway, as the low-slung seats give the impression that you’re driving a lot faster than you actually are.

Exterior and Interior

The Roadster comes with sports car looks, even if it doesn’t deliver sports cars performance. The interior is just as good too with low-slung, comfortable seats and high-quality materials being used throughout. It also comes with enough head and legroom unless you’re really tall. As you would expect, there isn’t a huge amount of boot space available, however, it is enough for a couple of weeks’ shopping. The dash and central console are both intuitively laid-out with everything in easy reach and the well-engineered trim makes everything feels solidly-built and sporty. The Brabus edition also comes with a high level of kit as standard including heated leather seats, ABS, air-con, alloys, electric and heated mirrors, traction control and front and side airbags.

Performance and Economy

The standard 80bhp model may not sound very powerful, but in a body as light as the Roadster’s it provides for a very enjoyable and nippy drive. It is the more economical of the two engines, achieving a respectable 55mpg, and isn’t too slow to accelerate to 60mph either getting there in 10.6 seconds. The Brabus with its extra 21 horses under the bonnet performs much better than the smaller engine, giving a good performance, especially on back roads. It makes overtaking a lot less stressful than the smaller unit and it is only slightly heavier on the petrol too, managing 53mpg. The Brabus engine goes from standstill to 60mph in 9.5 seconds. Both engines only come with a semi-automatic gearbox, which some drivers find awkward to use, whilst others say it adds to the Smart Roadster’s character and charm. The standard engine falls into group 10 when it comes to insuring it, whilst the Brabus comes into group 14.

Like to Drive

The low-slung body of the Smart Roadster, with its rigid chassis and rear-wheel drive offers superb levels of grip in the corners, and perfectly balanced handling that makes you want to test it out on more and more winding roads. The brakes are perfectly sharp and there is hardly any body roll to speak of, but the steering could do with more feeling. The Brabus comes with stiffer suspension that improves the handling even further, but this comes at the expense of some comfort. The low-slung seats give you the feeling of travelling faster than you really are, however, there is some wind and engine noise in the cabin at higher speeds.

Faults and Repairs

There have been some problems with the Smart Roadster and as such there are some areas you should look at when considering one. There have been some reports of electrical faults so make sure to test everything. Checking for dampness in the cabin is a good idea, as some cars have been known to leak on the driver’s side. The car has also been know to overheat when standing idle for a while so when on a test drive try and test this out if possible. Only go for a model that has a full service history as without a regular service, the Smart Roadster is likely to start having more serious problems than the ones listed above. Servicing will cost a lot, though, as you’ll have to take it to a Mercedes garage as they both fall under the same manufacturing group; and with service intervals set for every 9,000 miles, you are likely to be seeing a Mercedes mechanic a lot more often than you’d probably like.


Overall Rating:
Review by DiamondRoadster
Monday, May 16, 2016

Overview

"Fun on wheels"

Exterior and Interior

Has the looks and definitely has the personality. Interior's nothing over the top simple straightforward easy navigation of radio buttons windows etc via centre console. Plenty of leg room with the engine being at the rear of the car which is very deceiving as everyone tells me when they get in 'oh there's loads a room in this'. Exterior is reinforced fibreglass but don't be fooled into thinking this is unsafe. There is actually a steel tridion safety cell frame proving to be one of the safest cars on the road of its type.

Performance and Economy

The roadster in general is very light on fuel. I do lots of short journeys but it’s most efficient when doing long drives and very nippy due to the light body work vs engine power.

Like to Drive

The roadster has all the pro's of a sports car without the heavy dent on your wallet and is always sure to turn heads. The roadster is also cheap to insure which is another reason I enjoy this little nipper. <

Faults and Repairs

Roadsters are prone to leaking, but once you get to the root of the leak and make it water tight you can’t fault it! I’ve had the car for 5 years now and I’ve replaced the auto gear box, that’s probably the most I’ve spent on it.
Quality
Performance
Comfort
Value