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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 (front for the Seat and rear in the case of the Smart). The first one has a Škoda-engineered powertrain under the hood, a 4-cylinder, 8-valves 50hp unit, while the other one gets its power and torque from a 3-cylinder, 6-valves 45hp engine designed by Smart.Safety
The fact that the Smart got tested by the European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP), while the other contender didn't, isn't really an advantage, taken the poor 3-star rating it received. 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 it doesn't do much to help us decide between the two. Furthermore, taking kerb weight as an important factor into account, the Spanish car offers a considerable difference of 17% more metal.Reliability
Reliability is not the best thing to consider on the make level, but it is worth mentioning that Smart does have a slight advantage, all the models observed together. These are the official statistics, while our visitors describe reliability of Seat with an average rating of 4.4, and models under the Smart badge with 3.9 out of 5. Independent research findings rank Arosa as average reliability-wise, and City-Coupe is more or less at the same level.Above it all, drivers of cars with the same engine as the Spanish car rank it on average as 3.8, while the one under the competitor's bonnet gets 3.0 out of 5.Performance & Fuel economy
Seat is undoubtly more agile, reaching 100km/h in 1.5 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 Spanish car.
Seat 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 this case though, it seems that both cars show similar levels of passenger protection all together, so that won't break a tie. But one thing that actually could is the performance, with Seat being considerably quicker, thus putting more smile on driver's face. It does come at a cost though, and that's the fuel consumption... It's really tough to make a final decision here, but if I'd need to, I'd say Smart. 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. Also, you could use the oportunity to find out which car, everything taken into account, would be the perfect choice for you in the eyes of the virtual adviser™, out of 12.000+ vehicles we currently have in our database.