Production version of the Smart Fortwo city car spotted ahead of 2014 launch
9 October 2013

This is the all-new Smart car, the long-awaited replacement for the original micro city car, which has been on sale for 15 years.

The car is based on an all-new platform, gets an all-new transmission and sticks closely to the ‘exposed safety cage’ styling of the original model.

The platform comes in two lengths, the short version for the Mk2 Smart and a longer version which will underpin the new Renault Twingo and the planned Smart ForFour supermini.

Due to arrive in showrooms by next autumn (with a public debut a few weeks earlier) Autocar understands that while the new Smart has only crept up marginally in length, it is now noticeably wider (by around 120mm). These wider tracks are intended to greatly improve the Smart’s stability. 

However tempting it might have been for Mercedes to stretch the Smart to accommodate at least one rear jump seat (in the style of the Toyota IQ), one of the biggest attractions of the current model is the ability to park it nose on the pavement (a huge appeal in Italy particularly) and the fact that many European car parks now have 3m-long parking spaces specifically for the Smart.

The Smart will again get a three-cylinder, sub 1.0-litre, engine, but this time around buyers won’t get a choice of petrol and diesel. The latter option was dropped because of the high factory cost of EU6-compatible diesel engines, something incompatible with a relatively inexpensive car.

Better news is the deletion of the Smart’s old-fashioned ‘manumatic’ transmission (a manual ‘box with automated clutch). It’s been replaced by the option of either a six-speed manual or a new six-speed dual-clutch transmission, which will banish the torque interruptions which so hampered the driving dynamics of earlier Smarts.

Also expect a follow-up of today’s limited edition electrically-powered Smart as well as the Cabrio version, which will be launched shortly after the coupe. 

Our Verdict

The Smart Fortwo is a unique proposition. Its emotional appeal is unquestionable and it is one of the most novel and innovative cars available.

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Comments
7

9 October 2013

Shame they are dropping the diesel. I love mine, it gets great mpg, and as I do 25k a year in it, far more useful than an electric version. I suppose the amount of sales of the diesel vs the cost it would take to get it compliant with new EU emissions regs has really killed it off

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10 years of Smart ownership over, sensible car mode activated

9 October 2013

Given the crippling costs/loses associated with Smart, I'm surprised they are still moving forward with a replacement ... This is especially telling given the number of small talented cars that have come on stream (Up!/Citigo/Mii) and about to be upgraded (107/C1/Aygo) ...

9 October 2013
Suzuki QT wrote:

Given the crippling costs/loses associated with Smart, I'm surprised they are still moving forward with a replacement ... This is especially telling given the number of small talented cars that have come on stream (Up!/Citigo/Mii) and about to be upgraded (107/C1/Aygo) ...

It is essentially a Twingo underneath, and as for UP!/Citigo/Mii, the sales are very poor compared to expectations. VAG just cannot make a cheap small car that doesn't feel like Kolditz to be in or drive. The superior French 107/C1 have shown that small cars can be fun, much in the same way as Mini, Panda and 500. Hopefully some platform sharing and design injection from Renault will endow it with a little more personality than its teutonic competition.

10 October 2013

@marj

It's the other way about. The twingo is a smart underneath.

As for it not being profitable, we yes, the first car wasn't. Neither were the roadster or original forfour. However, with the second generation car, they reduced the costs of building it, brought smart into merc (they were separate for years, different systems for ordering parts for example), all allowing it to be more profitable. A lot of investment from merc means they won't just give up.

Besides, having smart with low emissions allows them the build the big engined mercs without worrying too much about average emission regs.

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10 years of Smart ownership over, sensible car mode activated

18 October 2013

Like Superstevie I had a diesel one until arrival of my son forced sale last year. Great car, fun, not fast, but incredibly compact that was it's main virtue so they shouldn't mess with length.

The gearbox is fine if you throttle off just as it changes up in auto, or do the same just before flicking gear lever. Just journalists and dealers weren't very good at explaining this! If this was done it was quite smooth.

18 October 2013

Side profile looks very much like the Toyota IQ

19 October 2013

It'll need to be wider inside to accommodate that third pedal in the footwell.....

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