This is the car that holds the key to the future of the Smart brand – the new slightly larger ForTwo.
On sale in April, the new ForTwo still uses exchangeable plastic panels wrapped around a steel safety cell (Smart is predicting a four-star Euro NCAP rating). It’s also still available as a hardtop ‘coupe’ and a cabrio.
But under the skin, there have been plenty of changes. The new car is 43mm wider and 195mm longer than the original, and its wheelbase has been extended by 55mm. The new proportions are more car-like than the tiny first version.
The increased size helps with packaging, particularly in the boot, the capacity of which is now boosted by 70 litres to 220 litres.
Inside there's the usual compliment of quirkiness with fabric-covered doors and an ignition barrel located behind the gear lever. The Getrag semi-automatic ‘box isn’t new but after receiving disparaging remarks about its slow and jerky behaviour, it has been heavily re-engineered to use five instead of six gears to improve fluency.
Out goes the three-cylinder 698cc engine for another three-pot, a Mitsubishi-developed 1.0-litre unit producing 61bhp, 71bhp or 84bhp, with an energy efficient start-stop version appearing later in the year. A 45bhp diesel will also be available from launch producing 90g/km and a staggering 81mpg.
The Fortwo cabrio’s roof is now fully automatic and can be operated when driving, and a heated rear glass window replaces the previous PVC offering.
Equipment lines continue with pure, pulse and passion and an uprated Brabus version is expected next autumn. Prices will remain unchanged.