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Diesel Smart to become UK’s cleanest by 2009

Published: 17 June 2008

From February 2009 the cleanest conventional-engined car you can buy will be a diesel Smart Fortwo. That’s the date set for the launch of a right-hand drive version of the city car brand’s oil-burning two-seater Fortwo coupe and cabriolet already on sale in Continental Europe.

What are the crucial figures for the Smart Fortwo diesel?

The incredible economy and emissions stats – 85.6mpg and 88g/km of CO2 – are streets ahead of current low emitter champions like the VW Polo 1.4 TDI Bluemotion and Seat Ibiza Ecomotive, both offering 74.3mpg and 99g/km. The Smart’s figures will ensure zero (Band A) road tax for the foreseeable future plus numerous other tax breaks.

I’m guessing performance won’t be a strong point though?

True. The tiny 44bhp 799cc three-cylinder common-rail direct-injection engine – badged ‘CDI’ like oil-burners from sister brand Mercedes – just manages to scrape under the sub-20 second 0-62mph barrier recording a 19.8 second ‘sprint’. Top speed will be 84mph. Prices are not yet confirmed but if pricing in Continental Europe is any guide – where the diesel has a 1000 Euro premium over petrol equivalents – they are likely to start from circa £7500 in Pure and Passion trims only.

Launching sooner this October 2008, all petrol Smart Fortwo coupe and cabriolet models become ‘stop/start’ technology-enabled as standard offering 65.7mpg and 105g/km CO2.

Smart has reported strong sales in 2008, with 2000 registrations recorded in the first quarter and sales of about 500 a month at present – comparing well to last year’s 4852 UK total.

By Guy Bird

Contributor, cultural curator, design commentator

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