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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 Renault and rear in the case of the Smart). The first one has a Renault-engineered powertrain under the hood, a 4-cylinder, 16-valves 75hp unit, while the other one gets its power and torque from a 3-cylinder, 6-valves 75hp engine designed by Smart.Safety
A starting point here would be to take a look at the results from European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP) tests which were performed on both of the cars, with the same number of safety stars gained in the process. Moving further on, let's take a closer look at some additional safety-related facts. Both vehicles belong to the micro car segment, which is generally a misfortune safety-wise, still it doesn't help us solve our dilemma, does it? Furthermore, taking kerb weight as an important factor into account, the French car offers a considerable difference of 10% more metal.Reliability
I don't like generalizing things when it comes to reliability, although it does seem that both brands display similar results in faults and breakdowns, at least on all of the models level. These are the official statistics, while our visitors describe reliability of Renault with an average rating of 4.1, and models under the Smart badge with 3.9 out of 5. Unfortunatelly, I don't have enough insight that would allow me to comment in more details on the specific models level. That apart, owners of different cars powered by the same engine as the French car rank it on average as 4.3, while the one under the competitor's bonnet gets 3.0 out of 5.Performance & Fuel economy
Renault is a bit more agile, reaching 100km/h in 0.6 seconds less than its competitor. In addition to that it accelerates all the way to 168 kilometers per hour, 18km/h more than the other car. When it comes to fuel economy things look pretty much the same for both cars, averaging around 5.6 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers (51 mpg), in combined cycle.
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 offering somewhat better performance, just enough to call it quicker. 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. 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™, among more than 12.000 different ones in our database.