Impressively, the new Smart Fortwo, jointly developed with Renault (which showed its Twingo alternative at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show) contradicts convention that all new cars must be bigger than the ones they replace: at 2.69 metres long, it is exactly the same length as the car it replaces.
That’s despite engineers doing what they did with the old car and crash-testing it with much larger cars. In frontal crashes with both the C-Class and, remarkably, the S-Class, Smart reports the new Fortwo demonstrated its compatibility with “substantially larger and heavier cars”. Smart is still smart then.
An evolution of the one box design helps here. Smart now calls it a ‘one and a half box’ design, with the snub nose providing better protection for pedestrians as well. Comparing old and new Smart is clear evidence of how legislation has changed the design of cars.
No matter; it’s still obviously a Smart, despite a 100mm wider track, with the Tridion cell again carrying colour contrast to the composite bodypanels. Detailing is immaculate; noteworthy are the grille’s honeycomb patter, with shading that fades towards the outside, the 3D-look smart logo and the sheer amount of colour combinations that the car and all its trim can carry. Unlock the new Smart and the headlights pulses, “as if the Smart were welcoming its owner”. Cute.
The Forfour is still obviously a smart as well. It’s longer (but still has super-short overhangs) with the rear door stretching into the B-pillar and sitting below a sloping coupe-esque roofline (in contrast to the Fortwo’s more upright lines). Both cars have stronger shoulderlines but only the Fortwo has a traditional split tailgate; it’s a regular hatch in the Fortwo.
Inside, both cars share the same main dash, and what a centerpiece it is. Meticulously designed, it references the original dash but is, again, well detained and packs in lots of modern technology. Expect yet another step up in quality; the current Smart Fortwo has long been, for all its faults, a very premium-feel machine inside. This will move things on again.
As with the outside, colour and trim options will be vast. We hope the Smart online configurator is powerful enough.
Three engines are available; both three cylinders, the 1.0-litre non-turbo has 71hp and the 0.9-litre turbo motor has 90hp. Both have engine stop-start and, later on, will be joined by an entry-level 60hp version.
There are two gearboxes, a five-speed manual (yes! A manual! In a Smart!) and a six-speed DCT ‘twinamic’.
As for suspension, Smart has, in partnership with Renault, started again. The rear-mounted engine and gearbox remains, as we know from the Twingo, but everything else is new. All to ensure the new Smart is more stable, more enjoyable to drive and no longer rides like an ox cart. Indeed, the firm itself says it is “markedly more comfortable”.
Thank new MacPherson strut front suspension for this, which has significantly increased spring travel, and a much-updated De-Dion rear axle.”Substantially greater comfort” says Smart; with words like this, we’re expecting big things.
The new Smart Fortwo also has the smallest turning circle of any car on sale, at just 6.95 metres kerb to kerb. The ForFour has a turning circle of 8.65 metres kerb to kerb – matching that of the old Smart Fortwo…