Here you have it folks, the last chance for Daimler to salvage the struggling Smart car brand. The 2016 Smart ForTwo and Smart ForFour are all new from one tiny bumper to the other, and (hopefully) address the many shortcomings of the original.
Jointly developed with Renault, the 2016 Smart rides on a new platform with a rear-engine, rear-wheel drive setup powered by one of three gas engines. The base motor makes 61 horsepower, a mid-range model bumps it up to 71 horsepower, and a top-of-the-line 90 horsepower engine sounds…promising. So does the inclusion of a five-speed manual transmission, as well as an all-new dual-clutch automatic transmission. I’m also happy to report that an optional sport suspension package offers buyers a hint of performance from the teeny tiny city car.
At just 105 inches in length, the 2016 ForTwo is about 105 inches long, exactly the same as the outgoing model, while the larger ForFour stretches to 137 inches, more than a foot shorter than the 2015 Smart ForFour. Daimler says it tested the safety of the new Smart cars against the Mercedes C-Class and S-Class, while also including a crosswind assistance system as a standard feature.
In addition to finally growing a real hood area, the new Smart will be offered in 40, yes 40 different color combinations. And what about the all-important fuel economy figures? Though I couldn’t find it in the press release, this video claims the new Smart ForTwo will use 4.1 liters of gas per 100 km, which works out to 57 MPG. The ForFour meanwhile will use 4.2 liters, or a 56 MPG rating. While on the more-generous Euro cycle, it sounds like a marked improvement over the middling MPGs of the outgoing model.
I’ve never personally been a fan of the Smart brand, but I have to admit…the new ForTwo for a 90-horsepower engine and five-speed manual, sounds like the kind of car one can toss around with wild abandon. Even if you do manage to flip it over, it’ll just take you and a couple of buddies to make it right-side up again.
The 2016 Smart ForTwo: the perfect trackday starter car?