Smart drops record-breaking Fortwo diesel in UK

Smart Fortwo cdiSmart has pulled the ultra-economical Fortwo cdi from the UK – despite it being both one of the most fuel efficient cars on sale and a multiple MPG Marathon champion.

The diesel range has been withdrawn from the UK in preparation for the new Smart model: petrol models do remain on sale, though.

Indeed, it’s the petrol Smart’s sheer popularity over the diesel that has seen the firm drop diesel from the UK. A £1,200 price premium for diesel over the base 71hp 1.0-litre petrol engine is certainly a factor here.

The diesel may have averaged 85.6mpg, but the mhd petrol cars still do 67.3mpg. Factor in the extra cost of diesel over petrol and, if you cover 10,000 miles a year, you’ve a fuel bill of £734 for diesel, and £881 for petrol.

It would take buyers more than eight years to recoup the price difference at that heady mileage. And, of course, most Smart drivers didn’t cover anything like that a year…

Add in its gruff nature and extreme lethargy in practice, that would contrast sorely with a petrol car on a dealer test drive, and the reasons for the car’s demise are clear. In this case, for all its economy records, diesel simply didn’t add up.

Given this slow-selling experiment, plus the fact key city car rivals don’t offer diesel variants, will there be an ultra-eco champ version of the next Smart? All will be clear at Paris Motor Show 2014 when the all-new one is revealed…

Managing Director at @editorial_mr. Runs a bit. Loves the motor industry.

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  • NP1002 .

    The reasons are vastly greater for owning/driving a Diesel than what the narrow minded number crunchers always come up with. (Ask any Diesel driver) The extra forecourt price premium only really applies to brand new vehicles, once it’s gone past a three year point that cost has all but disappeared.

    Would you prefer to drive less miles per gallon, have less torque (real life pulling power) having to rev the engine higher (and as a result) use more fuel-yes?- then go and drive a petrol.. 67 mpg v 85 mpg. It’s not rocket science. That is around 138 miles per tank less. If you want to support the tax man and pay more fuel duty at the pumps then drive a petrol engine vehicle.
    That is what Smart are really saying.

    Unlike petrol, Diesel doesn’t very easily catch fire in a car crash.

    Smart should now be re named Dumb
    The Smart thing to do is either: mate a Diesel with a cvt transmission or have a Diesel/electric hybrid. Uber low emissions all round.

  • Peter Lewis

    I’ve owned a Cdi Smart from new, purchased in March 2010.
    39248 miles later it’s been totally reliable from day one and on long journeys north to Durham to see that stunning cathedral it returned just slightly more than 90 mpg.

    Spare parts are surprisingly cheap considering their all purchased from my local Mercedes dealership and to add to the pleasure of ownership my annual insurance has also come down by £32 when I quibbled that I could get a cheaper quote.

    No car tax to pay and a lengthy day trip to Scotland and back from my hometown Llandudno for just over 5 gallons of diesel.

    Car ownership does not come cheaper than Smart Cdi ownership and even though diesel currently is 4p dearer at the pumps, that 799cc Turbo Diesel is a hoot to drive.

    I intend keeping my Cdi long term and even though it’s over four years old still looks and drives like new.

    However good the new Mk3 Smart will be the competition in the city car market is terribly fierce.

    It’s all down to cost and economics.

    Smart cars have never made any money for their owners Mercedes and I doubt if the new model however good will be a money earner.

    So glad I own a diesel BIG MISTAKE Mercedes for discontinuing one of the most efficient engines on the market.

  • Gary

    Great car, my last fill up over 206 miles and my mpg was calculated at 78.5 mpg. Superb little diesel car. Free road tax, cheap to insure, if the diesel has been dropped from the fortwo range then I’m glad I’ve got one. There’s some huge mileage diesel fortwos in Canada and the USA which shows they go on and on if maintained well.
    Mine is a later 799cc 54bhp car recently purchased with 5190 miles on the clock, I’ve read the reviews on poor economy but I’m having no issues here. I don’t do the hypermiling stuff, I drive it mainly changing gears on the paddle shift as I think progress is made a little quicker changing up when the revs hit around 2100rpm. Loving this car for my many stop/start journeys in the city where I live.
    I’d agree with comments re depreciation, if purchased second hand the lions share of the price difference between diesel and petrol disappears. I’d certainly not purchase the diesel or petrol as a new car as the depreciation is substantial. My car as a 10 month old car was roughly 30-35% cheaper to buy than the new list price!!!!
    I run my Smart alongside my wife’s Ford Galaxy Zetec 2.0 diesel powershift (7 seats) and I grab for the Smarts keys every time. It fits in amazingly with my family and it’s running costs are totally minimal. Every home should have one

  • Thanks for sharing, Gary – great to hear your Fortwo experience is going so well. We ran a cdi here at MR a few years back and we all thought it was super: full of charisma and, yes, so cheap to run!

  • Well I’ve just bought a used ForTwo cdi for all the reasons listed above. A 2012 model with 16K on the clock. I absolutely love it – so relaxed compared with my petrol Smart. A very happy owner – such a shame Smart have dropped it.

  • Pleased to hear you’re getting on so well with it, Adrian!

  • Gary

    Done just over 850 miles in my cdi fortwo now. I must say as my first Smart car I’m addicted, it’s just great to own and so cheap to run and I just got my first road tax free through the post. My last fill up brim to brim my mpg worked out at quite a bit less than previous fill ups at just over 58 mpg. My best to date has been 84 mpg with some longer runs, this last fill up I’d done mostly town driving with very small (1-2mile) stop start journeys running my kids about. I’m not too concerned about the mpg, at 58 mpg I’m happy but I’m aware this will possibly be as low as it will go.
    The Diesel engine is great and with the gearbox it has it’s quirks which I love.
    I must say I do feel like I’ve been bullied on the roads now and again by idiots who think its fun to tailgate me or push me over into “no mans land” on some of the bigger dual carriageways then try and make it difficult for me to get back into the near side lanes, funny thing is I’m a big bloke and when they see my face ranting at them they usually start to behave (6ft 2″ & 17 stone of mr angry is not nice!!!), on that note might be worth me losing some weight to increase my mpg lol.
    I love this car, got it on pcp with nil deposit over 4 years, got a tank of derv thrown in along with double cup holder, parcel shelf & 7 days drive away insurance all for £16.78 a week on a 63 plate at the time of writing just approaching 12 months old and as new. I even purchased the rubber mats for the foot wells with Velcro on the back to keep them in place along with Mercedes car shampoo to keep it looking good. I drove the Smart from the dealers car park full of fuel, insured and good to go and had no even handed a penny over. I must say the main dealers (Smart/Mercedes) was excellent and when I collected my Smart it was parked in the showroom without a spec of dust anywhere to be seen.
    Great little addition to my home, I’m glad I’m the owner of a cdi.

  • Gary

    Well I’ve now owned my Smart cdi fortwo for just over 1000 miles and I’ve never had so much interest from people I don’t know asking me all kinds of questions about it. When I’ve given lifts to friends they’re very surprised at the space in the front commenting that it’s as big as any other car with lots of legroom etc….
    Just had a small issue with the gearbox recently and had to go into a main dealers for a software update but this was dealt with very efficiently lasting no more than 3-4 hours, a courtesy car was provided (a Smart MHD passion cabriolet with 925 miles on the clock). It was good to experience the petrol version against mine on the same day, it was clearly noticeable that the petrol car had more power and was a little quieter but I was glad to get my cdi back.
    It was great having access to the cabriolet but due to my 2 & 3/4 year old daughter I ended up driving it roof down in the drizzle, every time I tried to close it she cried (won’t be having a cabriolet for a few years lol).
    Great little cars, will be topping off my diesel today for my next mpg calculations & can’t wait.

  • That’s great to hear, Gary. Yes, the Smart does indeed feel like a big SUV from inside – until you look behind, at least!

    Look forward to updates about your progress.

  • Gary

    Just an update on a full tank of derv in my cdi Smart for two (brim to empty indicating 0L of fuel) and 498 miles it worked out at 68.59 mpg which I’m well happy with. The miles were made up of my continuous stop/start short trips, one 70 mile round fast road trip, one 50 mile fast road trip. Great economy which would be better but the majority of the time the Smart doesn’t even get to operating temperature. If I was doing longer trips I’d certainly exceed the above.
    I’m sure some of the economy or lack of in some cases is down to driving style but I’d say most is down to what type of road/trips cars are used on.
    Well pleased with the mpg, my car I’ve had on pcp, nil deposit (not a penny), 7000 miles a year over 4 years, £72.74 a month, supplied with full tank of derv, floor mats, double cup holder and parcel shelf (mines a Pulse) plus 7 days drive away insurance. At the end of four years I’ll hand it back and be after another deal, owning a second car does not come cheaper. The monthly cost of £72.74 is virtually paid for in savings on diesel I make using the Smart when I can instead of my Ford Galaxy powershift 2.0 diesel zetec.

  • Gary

    Just done 209.3 miles and brimmed my Smart fortwo cdi and it came out at 71 mpg. Well happy with the mpg and everything else. The heater isn’t the best and takes a while to clear the screen on these cold days but I can live with that. Love this little car and use it at every opportunity I can.
    There’s some real pains on the road, even when I’m doing the speed limit or even just above I’m still having turds tailgating me or doing their best to get past me for no reason. I don’t drive any differently in my 12 plate Ford Galaxy but I guess the idiots don’t want to argue with a 2 ton 7 seater. Still smiling and just coming up to 2000 miles of ownership. Will keep the mpg updates coming.

  • Jamie Nelson-Singer

    My Diesel Smart CDI 2007 has now done 252,000km and has never failed on anything! Never failed to start, never broken down! Fantastic cars! It still averages 80mpg as well!

  • I’ve had a petrol and now have a diesel Smart car. The diesel is far better car; it has a far tougher engine with greater torque and suits my requirements. People always think about fuel costs whereas I prefer the tough engine and therefore I was happy to lose a small amount of savings over the life of the car. I have been absolutely delighted with my diesel Smart car and would be desperately disappointed if the new Smart car is not sold with the diesel option in the UK.

  • Peter Lewis

    I fully agree, some of us prefer a diesel vehicle, and do not buy a petrol simply because the fuel is usually cheaper.

    Ive had my CDi Smart for nearly six years, have managed nearly 90mpg from it, and the engine is far more reliable than the MHD Mitsubishi unit.

    The new Smart is a nice vehicle, and so it should be, starting at over £11000.

    There is no diesel in the lineup, so i will certainly not be changing my Smart CDi for a newer model.