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First Drive: Smart ForTwo Cabriolet

Is it hip enough for Brooklyn's hipsters?

by on Sep.28, 2016

Smart's new Fortwo Cabriolet offers an improved drivetrain and convenient drop top.

Brooklyn? It’s not the place you normally think of for testing out a new car, truck or crossover. We’re more likely to head into the hills, winding a circuitous path from San Diego to Palm Springs, or drifting through Napa and Sonoma wine country.

But it made perfect sense when we were invited to spend a couple days checking out the new Smart Fortwo Cabriolet winding through New York City’s hipster borough. The pint-sized Smart car is not the sort of vehicle you imagine romantically cruising the open road. But it’s well suited to squeezing through Brooklyn, its narrow and labyrinthine lanes packed so tightly it took us the better part of a day to clock just 38 miles.

Putting the Top Down!

The good news is that the fourth-generation Smart two-seater is better equipped than its predecessors at handling open roads. But the Fortwo, measuring barely 8.8 feet nose-to-tail, is most ideally suited to handling dense urban environments. That’s something that drivers in Paris and a number of other European cities have come to recognize. Might Americans, as well? (more…)

Smart Plugs In with Next-Gen Fortwo Electric Drive

Fifth-generation battery microcar to debut in Paris next week.

by on Sep.23, 2016

Smart's next-generation Fortwo Electric Drive, or ED for short, is coming to the Paris Motor Show.

The Smart brand has long struggled to find a niche for its pint-sized Fortwo city car. It may make a better case with the arrival of the next-generation Electric Drive.

All but identical to the latest, gas-powered Smart Fortwo that made its debut last year, the Electric Drive, or ED, will be available in both coupe and cabriolet configurations when it reaches the U.S. market next year.

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“The smart is the ideal city car, and with electric drive it becomes a little bit more perfect,” said Annette Winkler, the global Smart brand boss. (more…)

Smart or Not? Driving the 2016 ForTwo Microcar

The smallest car on the road isn’t for everyone.

by on Sep.03, 2015

Same profile and 8.8-foot length, but a number of subtle changes distinguish the 2016 Smart ForTwo.

What if you launch a revolution and nobody comes?

Nothing short of automotive insurgency was what Daimler-Benz and its partner, Swiss watch company Swatch, had in mind when they originally conceived the idea of Smart in 1994. Their goal was to launch a small car brand perfectly tuned to the world’s fast-growing megacities, something hip, affordable, easy to maneuver on crowded streets and environmentally friendly.

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Four years later, Swatch had dropped out of the project, the German maker was about to become DaimlerChrysler, and the Smart brand was to generate little of the enthusiasm originally anticipated — though a lot more red ink. That soon forced the maker to abandon all but the two-seat ForTwo.


Smart Reveals New ForTwo Cabrio

America’s smallest car goes topless.

by on Aug.28, 2015

The newly redesigned Smart ForTwo Cabrio will offer a three-position canvas top.

The new Smart car hasn’t yet landed in showrooms in the U.S. but the German microcar maker is already rolling out a second version, with a third on the way.

The redesigned Smart ForTwo Cabrio gets a new canvas “tritop” that can open up like a sunroof or fold back more like a conventional convertible. Set to formally debut at next month’s Frankfurt Motor Show, the two-seater will reach showrooms in mid-spring 2016.

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“Our new smart cabrio really exudes joie de vivre in the city – which is what our brand stands for”, said Smart brand boss Annette Winkler. “I am sure that we will delight our present 220,000 cabrio customers and win lots of new fans with this successful lifestyle icon.”


Little Smart Has Big Ambitions for New ForTwo

But is there a market for microcars in truck-happy U.S.?

by on Aug.25, 2015

Two extremes of the Daimler AG family, the 2016 Smart ForTwo with a row of Western Star trucks.

Size matters. That’s long been a guiding principle in the U.S. auto industry, and with fuel prices down sharply this year, it seems truer than ever as American motorists once again shift from fuel-efficient small cars to larger SUVs, CUVs and pickups.

And that raises a serious question about this year’s launch of what will be the smallest car on the U.S. market, the 2016 Smart ForTwo. After a seemingly endless delay, parent Daimler AG has launched an all-new version of the microcar just as potential competitors, such as the Mini Cooper and Fiat 500 struggle to reverse double-digit sales declines.

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Nonetheless, “We hope there is much more potential” for a brand that has so far failed to live up to its initial promise, says Annette Winkler, the head of the Smart brand during a first U.S. media drive of the new ForTwo model.


Kia Soul Tops List of Must-Have Cars in the City

Surprisingly, Smart ForTwo doesn’t make Top 10.

by on Aug.12, 2014

Kia's 2014 Soul was named the top choice for city dwellers due to its ride-and-handling as well as its convenience features.

Many folks imagine that once you move to a large urban center, like New York or Chicago, that the need for a car evaporates; however, the reality is that city denizens need to get around and that means hundreds of thousands of vehicles are clogging those streets.

If you’re going to have a car in the city, it needs to be small enough to squeeze into tight spots, turn around in small spaces, yet be able to carry lots of stuff. Fortunately, the folks at have compiled a list of what they believe to be the 10 best cars for city dwellers.

Auto Insight!

The website’s top pick is the 2014 Kia Soul and not because it’s so easy to drive even a hamster can do it. According to the website, the Soul’s ride-and-handling, abundance of convenience features, such as heated front and rear seats as well as a heated steering wheel – features typically found on pricier rides – combined with Kia’s Android-based UVO multimedia system made it the best ride. (more…)

Smart Unveils Two New Models, Adds 4-door to Line-Up

Daimler brand hopes small is (more) beautiful this time.

by on Jul.16, 2014

Smart shows off its new Fortwo and Forfour models during a Berlin unveiling.

Aiming to take advantage of the growing global demand for small, high-mileage vehicles, Smart has unveiled two long-awaited offerings: a replacement for its pint-sized Fortwo model and an all-new four-seater, appropriately dubbed the Forfour.

The pair come to market as the culmination of an expanding affiliation between Smart’s parent Daimler AG and the Renault Nissan Alliance. The French-Japanese partnership has already launched its own version, the Renault Twingo having made its debut during the Geneva Motor Show earlier this year.

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While sharing many key, underlying components, the partners emphasized developing different visual designs, with Daimler’s Smart brand also opting for two different interior configurations. The maker is hoping to sharply increase global sales by offering both two- and four-seat models, though there are currently no plans to bring the Smart Fortwo over to the U.S. market. (more…)

Smart Video Reveals Two New Models

Next-gen city cars will get even smaller.

by on May.08, 2014

The new Smart ForFour and ForTwo undergoing winter testing in Sweden.

Finally – but will anyone actually notice? That’s the question the folks at Smart, the microcar division of Daimler AG, have to be worrying about as, after much too long of a wait, they finally get ready to launch two all-new models.

And a new video posted on Youtube offers a first close-up look at the two only slightly camouflaged new products, the all-new ForFour, and the replacement for the Smart ForTwo.

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Both are shown undergoing winter testing in Sweden, a routine part of the product development process for most manufacturers.

How soon are they likely to come to market? Soon, it appears, Chief Engineer Markus Riedel telling the video crew both models are pretty much ready to be launched.


First Drive: 2013 Smart Fortwo Electric Drive

by on Aug.07, 2013

The third-generation Smart ED's new, lower price tag could be its biggest selling point.

It’s become one of the more familiar silhouettes on the road – not necessarily a good thing considering the Smart fortwo has been around in Europe since before the turn of the Millennium and in U.S. showrooms since 2007. That said, the maker is rolling out an all-new version worth another look: the Smart Fortwo Electric Drive – or, if you prefer for a car this small, let’s just call it the ED.

This is the third-generation battery car for Daimler AG’s microcar brand and the most ambitious, which is probably understandable considering it is also the most functional and enjoyable version of the ED yet. The 2013 Smart battery car is faster, delivers better rage and steers and handles better than its predecessors.

But what could be the most effective selling point for the third-generation Smart Fortwo ED is the price tag. The maker launched the 2013 model at $199 a month.  That included a $119 charge for the car itself and another $80 a month for the new Battery Assurance Plan.  In other words, customers lease the battery separately from the car itself. Oddly, the package actually came in at half the earlier lease price for the entire vehicle, battery included.  But to make the Fortwo ED even more appealing, Smart is now dropping the package price for the Coupe to just $139 a month.


Smart Slashing Price for New Electric Drive Model

Maker also introduces extended battery protection program.

by on Aug.07, 2013

Smart is dropping the lease price on the Fortwo Electric Drive by nearly a third.

Taking a cue from competitors who have boosted sales by cutting costs, Smart has trimmed the monthly lease price of its Fortwo Electric Drive, or ED, model by nearly a third – while also introducing a new “Battery Assurance Plan” meant to assure the vehicle delivers the promised performance and range as long as it is in an owner’s hands.

The microcar division of Daimler AG – and sister to the Mercedes-Benz brand – Smart introduced its third-generation Electric Drive model earlier this year, company officials insisting they are committed to battery power for the long haul despite the slow growth in demand for the clean, lower-cost alternative.

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“We feel it’s a no-brainer. It just makes sense,” said Smart’s new General Manager Mark Webster, during an introduction of the latest Fortwo ED model and the new battery warranty program.

Motorists can still buy the battery version of the Smart Fortwo but the maker is encouraging them to lease the vehicle instead. When the gen-3 ED was launched the maker had priced it at $199 a month – which actually included $119 for the car itself and another $80 a month for the Battery Assurance Plan. The new price drops to just $139 a month, Webster announced.