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Virtual Adviser's™ opinion
Two significantly similar cars, no doubt about that. Still, each one has something different to offer. Having both cars powered by petrol engines and utilizing the 3-door hatchback body style within the same 'Micro car' segment, the only major difference here really is their wheel drive configuration (rear for the Smart and front in the case of the Renault). The first one has a Smart-engineered powertrain under the hood, a 3-cylinder, 6-valves 45hp unit, while the other one gets its power and torque from a 4-cylinder, 8-valves 60hp engine designed by Renault.Safety
The first thing to look into here would be the results from European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP) tests performed on the two cars. Good thing is that both vehicles got tested, with the same number of safety stars gained in the process. Still, apart from the official crash test results there are other things we need to be aware of. Both vehicles belong to the micro car segment, which is generally a misfortune safety-wise, but that fact doesn't break the tie between the two cars. On the other hand, if we'd like to consider vehicle mass in this context too, which we definitely should, the French car offers a considerable difference of 10% more metal.Reliability
Reliability is not the best thing to consider on the make level, but it is worth mentioning that both brands display similar results in faults and breakdowns, when all the models are taken into account. That's the official data, while our visitors describe reliability of Smart with an average rating of 3.9, and models under the Renault badge with 4.1 out of 5. Some independent research have also placed City-Coupe as average reliability-wise, and Twingo is more or less at the same level.Above it all, drivers of cars with the same engine as the German car rank it on average as 3.0, while the one under the competitor's bonnet gets 4.1 out of 5.Performance & Fuel economy
Renault is way more agile, reaching 100km/h in 5.2 seconds less than its competitor. In addition to that it accelerates all the way to 151 kilometers per hour, 16km/h more than the other car. When it comes to fuel economy the winner has to be the German car, averaging around 4.9 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers (58 mpg), in combined cycle. We can't ignore that 18% difference compared to the French car.
Renault appears just a bit more reliable, although the difference is truly marginal. The most important thing when deciding between any two vehicles should always be safety, both passive and active. In my opinion, everything taken into account, the French car offers significantly better overall protection, taking the lead here. It all continues in the same direction, with Renault outracing its opponent in any situation possible, making it better choice for boy racers. It does come at a cost though, and that's the fuel consumption... No mistake, whatever you decide here, but I'd still go for the Renault. In any case that's my personal view, built upon all the data available to me. What should decide here though is the way you feel about the two vehicles, and I hope you'll find my guidelines useful in the process. I suggest you spend two more minutes in order to find out which car, based on your needs and budget, would be picked by the virtual adviser™, among thousands of similar, yet so different vehicles.