At last, it looks like Smart is beginning to earn its name

At last, Smart is beginning to earn its name

Apologies are no longer needed, as the latest Smart Fortwo and Forfour look set to become an intelligent choice

At the Birmingham motor show of 1999, not quite 15 years ago, I made one of the daftest car purchases in a lifetime of fairly flakey transactions.

I bought a grey-imported Smart Fortwo directly off the importer’s none-to-impressive stand, paying all the money to have a car that at the time was considered a rarity.

I was so beguiled by the its petite shape and technical wonders (which of us had owned an 2.5 metres long, 599cc turbocharged three-cylinder car before?) that I didn’t care that it didn’t steer or ride very well.

I didn’t even mind that the major plastic panels were lipstick pink, though within a few days I did change those to black, because at the time it was easy.

The car stayed with us at our semi-rural home for three years and was quickly improved in both handing and ride by a fat set of Brabus wheels.

It was also driven uncomplainingly by my missus until two things happened: she started having to ply the motorways to get to a new job (early Smarts were rubbish in crosswinds) and early one morning she came into sharp contact with the world’s largest badger, which shook her up quite a bit. We traded it for a Mercedes

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