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Smart Forfour, Twingo, i10 and VW Up in comparison: the city quartet

Achim Hartmann
Smart Forfour, Twingo, i10 and VW Up in comparison
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The developers of the Smart Forfour really cannot say that they wanted to make things particularly easy for themselves say. Taming a rear-engined four-door with all its driving dynamics peculiarities is something that even the Beetle pioneer V W gave up at some point - without wanting to get too close to the 411 from 1968. And a front-wheel drive platform would certainly have been found from cooperation partner Renault, which could have been redesigned into the maxi version of the two-seater Smart. In Japan, however, kei cars like the Mitsubishi i show that a lot of interior space fits into a small footprint if the engine is stuck under the trunk floor.

Smart Forfour with 185 liters trunk volume

And In fact: Although it is the only one that is less than 3.50 meters long, the Smart Forfour offers enough space for four adults, even 1.90-meter lulas sit upright at the back. The clever details in the interior are no less impressive: if the rear seats are rotated 180 degrees, the rear height increases by twelve centimeters.

Flat screens or front-wheelless bicycles can be stored upright and can be easily loaded and unloaded thanks to the doors that open almost at right angles. There are also large door pockets, a foldable passenger backrest or the large drawer that opens to the right under the gearshift lever. The Smart Forfour is well ahead in the ideas per centimeter rating, but the rear engine concept shrinks the trunk to 185 liters.

Smart Forfour in 12.3 seconds to 100 km /h3>

It compensates for this with a sensational turning circle. Since the front wheels do not transmit any power, they can turn very far: At 8.90 meters, the Smart Forfour needs over one meter less to turn than the front-wheel drive fraction. Anyone who regards short parking spaces or narrow underground garages as enemies of freedom will love the Smart with its smooth steering.

It's great that even shorter cross-country journeys do not affect love. Thanks to turbocharging, the Smart Forfour pulls through bravely, sprints to 100 km /h in 12.3 seconds and only saws its way into the ear canals at a higher speed, accompanied by wind noise. However, in order to control the weight on the rear axle (axle load distribution 45 to 55 percent), the Smart developers had to use a few tricks: Does the driver goOverambitious in curves, the ESP brakes him rigorously. When changing lanes twice, the car can still come across. In an emergency, it decelerates with the most powerful brakes that do not subside even under high loads.

Good standard equipment in the Renault

The noticeably harder sprung Twingo doesn’t push the rear axle quite as vehemently when it waggles, but defies sporting ambitions with similar rear-heavy handling and an equally sterile steering. No wonder, after all, it shares a large part of the technology with the Smart Forfour, including the bustling 90 PS turbo. Thanks to the larger standard tank, Twingo owners have to tap fuel less often.

The Renault makes extravagance on the body side: it hides its rear door handles in the window frame and makes the trunk more accessible through the wider opening. At the front there is more storage space and a shelf that can be taken as a shoulder bag - the best glove box idea since the invention of the cordless flashlight. However, the Twingo has to do without the turning function of the rear seat as well as the high-quality details of the Smart Forfour: This means black and white display instead of a colorful on-board computer display, hard plastic instead of fabric in the doors and key insert instead of central locking luxury when opening the fuel cap .

For the little effort, the Renault thanks you with a significantly better standard equipment: In the tested Luxe version everything from the heated exterior mirror to the cruise control is on board, while the Smart Forfour Passion itself has air conditioning and radio extra

Smart Forfour less economical than VW Up

Speaking of accounting: The well-equipped high comes with 14,080 euros 'https://topgear-autoguide.com/marken-modelle/vw/up/'>Up most expensive without being able to come up with the material finesse of the Smart Forfour. Even when painted blue, the unclad sheet metal in the interior looks more sparse than upbeat. After all, the add-on navigation system Maps & More and its practical online functions, which are connected to the vehicle electronics, can keep up with the route guides from Smart and Twingo.

In addition, the Up demonstrates why the front-wheel drive and transverse engine have changed over the last few decades The middle class have worked up: Despite dwarf dimensions, it accommodates its passengers airily and comes up with a trunk that combines step-free loading with a large extra compartment under the height-adjustable floor. The differences become even clearer when driving: Since no rear engine has to be defused by hard tuning or ESP knout, the Up can roll off relaxed and spring even when loaded.

In addition, small impacts of its sensitive steering are sufficient to turn in lively and curveseasily manageable to traverse. The tough three-cylinder with 75 hp prevents dynamic exploits, which is why the Up has to let the competition go. After all, it drives the most economical.

Comfortable i10 convinces

The i10 is the only one in the test to have a four-cylinder more than one liter displacement. Which only sounds old-fashioned until you find out when refueling that the vacuum cleaner is on the level of the power-wise comparable turbo of the Smart Forfour and Renault Twingo, but is much more sophisticated.

Except for the moderate ones Braking looks the Hyundai at all more adult, transports five instead of four people, tolerates most of the payload and sinks the rear side windows, which otherwise can only be opened. While the competition is admitting its small-car-like imperfection with witty ideas, the i10 prefers to stand out with its full value, which also includes long-distance suspension and comfortable seats with adjustable headrests instead of integral armchairs.

That the infotainment system Luxury limited to a CD radio, on the other hand, shouldn't matter to most interested parties, as long as Hyundai remains with a five-year guarantee and continues to put together practical equipment packages: The tested trend version dispenses with optical trimmings such as aluminum rims and prefers to spoil you with amenities such as heating of seats and steering wheel. At 12,120 euros, the best car in this test is therefore also the cheapest.

Smart Forfour and Renault in Guldes Connectivity Check

The Smart Forfour and Renault Twingo also share in infotainment much of the technology. Anyone who opts for a screen device instead of a simple radio receives a high-contrast and sensitively reacting seven-inch touchscreen along with a built-in FM tuner and a navigation device from TomTom. Its voice control was not convincing in the test, however, as it only accepted address entries according to a certain, predetermined pattern and still often did not understand them due to the high level of ambient noise while driving.

The route guide receives with its built-in SIM card Online traffic jam services without having to connect a cell phone as a data modem. Other TomTom services such as weather forecasts or speed camera warnings are also on board. The Twingo also includes apps from Renault's own R-Link store (news, social media, additional countries for navigation), some of which cost extra.

That there is no longer a CD player , shouldn't cause panic among the younger target group, after all, the media systems receive music from a smartphone connected via Bluetooth or via the USB interface and can be expanded with a digital radio tuner. Smart charges 600 euros for the screen radio that Renault im'Techno package' with better speakers and a rear view camera costs 990 euros extra. Annoying: Anyone who wants to spice up a cheap basic Twingo with the infotainment package looks into the tube. The techno package is only available to buyers of the top version Luxe.

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