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Review

 

Smart Fortwo

 

Tall And Tiny For The Big City


by Stephen Walker


11th July, 2008

 

The Editor, Stephen Walker, with the new Smart Fortwo.

Tall and tiny, the little Smart cars are dominant when one comes into view. With a look that is nothing like anything else on the nation's 'streetscape', the Smart attracts attention quite easily.

The new Smart Fortwo is now available in Australia and takes the Smart brand into the future with some innovative concepts. In the past, the brand had visions which didn't translate into financial success. That being the case, the Smart Roadster was dropped and the tooling sold to a British company. Later, the Smart Forfour was dropped. However, the first casualty in the Smart shake-up, was the Formore. This trendy SUV was 'canned' before it even put a wheel on the road. But the future is brighter for Smart now that the Mercedes-Benz owned brand is making just the Fortwo. By the way, the word "Fortwo" is pronounced 'for two' rather than 'fort wo'. Production numbers for the Fortwo make Smart more popular now than when the brand had three models on the market. Smart has managed to expand the number of countries taking the little two seater, hence that has put the production numbers up.

Two body styles are available with the new Fortwo, the traditional two seater coupe and the cabrio version with an electrically operated folding soft top.

The new model, which looks very much like the original model, is just a little larger than the model which put Smart onto the road. The new model is just 2,625 mm long. This makes the Fortwo quite agile, just as you would imagine! It weighs in at under 800 kilogrammes.

Smart Fortwo models are manufactured in Hambach, France. Since its introduction in 1998, more than 770,000 Fortwos have been sold around the world. With the introduction of the new model, the Smart brand has also expanded into the American market.

Safety features

Such a small car as the Smart Fortwo is bound to raise some questions about safety. However, the safety cell is reinforced at strategically important points. Additionally, the Smart Fortwo comes standard with ESP (electronic stability programme), ABS (anti-lock braking system) and four airbags. Each of these aspects are particularly relevant and demonstrate the Smart folks are 'on the money' with important safety considerations.

Standard Equipment

The Smart Fortwo features, as standard, air conditioning, electric windows, central locking with remote control, automatic door locking when the vehicle is in motion, alloy wheels and leather bound steering wheel with gearshift paddles.

2008 Smart Fortwo

Prices (RRP) for the Smart Fortwo

  • Fortwo coupe 52 kW $19,990
  • Fortwo coupe 62 kW $21,990
  • Fortwo cabrio 52 kW $22,990
  • Fortwo cabrio 62 kW $24,990

Technical features of the Smart Fortwo

Engine and transmission choice

The 1.0 litre 3 cylinder engine is sourced from Mitsubishi Motors in Japan. Two versions are available, a naturally aspirated 52 kW version which produces 92 Nm of torque at 4,500 rpm and a turbocharged version which produces 62 kW of power at 5,250 rpm and 120 Nm of torque at 3,250 rpm. Both engines require premium unleaded petrol (95RON). The sole transmission is an automated manual 5 speed Getrag unit.

Warranty

The warranty period is 3 years/unlimited kilometres. Roadside assistance is included for the period of the warranty. As usual, conditions apply to both the warranty and the assistance programme.

Fuel consumption and emissions

Superb economy is an attraction with the little Fortwo. Expect a figure of less than 5 litres per 100 kilometres, regardless of which engine is fitted, for the combined cycle.

The 52 kW Fortwo coupe emits just 112 grammes per kilometre (on average during compliance testing), which is an outstanding figure. Other versions emit just 116 grammes per kilometre, another superb figure. Clearly, the Smart Fortwo will be admired by many for these amazing environmentally friendly emission levels.

2008 Smart Fortwo

On the road in the new Smart Fortwo

The first impression gained in the new Smart was how difficult the transmission selector is to use. However, with an element of patience and a degree of perseverance, it soon becomes user-friendly. Although, every time someone new goes to drive the Smart, the owner will need to provide an explanation to the new driver. However, the obvious fun aspect of the Smart soon comes into play and the driver can enjoy scooting around the city. It's a car you drive when you must, rather than drive because you desire a driving opportunity.

Conclusion

The distinctive styling makes the Smart Fortwo a stand-out in the literal sense. However, priced from $19,990 (RRP) means this trendy little car is expensive for such a tiny car. Whilst it is easy to live with, once you have got used to the peculiar operation of the engine and transmission, the Smart is really only suitable for those who enjoy their own company. The compact dimensions make the Smart attractive for big city dwellers, whilst the emissions make the car attractive for those wanting to leave a tiny 'footprint' on the world we share and enjoy with so many others.


Click on any image for a larger view


Other Smart content: here.

Next Car Pty Ltd
ABN 47106248033

Next Car Pty Ltd

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