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2016 Smart Fortwo First Look

For its upcoming launch, Smart has decided to go with the slogan, "For a New Urban Joy." While some may argue that there's not much fun to be had while driving around in such a small car, Smart is out to change that thought, among others. City driving has become such that it's no longer about style and status, but convenience and practicality. In major cities all over the world, the Smart car has become a great way to get around busy urban streets, from zipping in and out of traffic to fitting into those tight parking spots. Add in good fuel economy and a small carbon footprint, and the Smart becomes ideal for a city lifestyle. But safety also comes into play when dealing with such small cars, and many here in the U.S. believe that bigger means safer. For a while now, Smart has been showcasing its tridion safety sell body structure that can withstand the weight of a large SUV resting on top of it, but what does that mean for side or frontal accidents? During the launch in Berlin, Germany, we were able to witness the Smart go head-to-head with a Mercedes-Benz S-Class. The cars hit each other's front left bumpers, and though you may expect there to be significant damage to the Smart, that wasn't the case. Its safety cell made it so the passenger area wasn't affected in the accident, but there's still the question of what would happen in a side impact accident. However, the brand is confident the car will keep passengers safe in the event of an accident. The launch for the all-new Smart Fortwo and Forfour wasn't just to showcase the safety, ingenuity, and new slogan for the brand, but also to show off the two models. While we didn't have an opportunity to get behind either of these models, we're more upset that the Forfour has yet to be confirmed for the U.S.

What's New

While we were looking at the European Spec models, there are elements that we can assume will make their way to our shores. For the 2016 model year, the all-new Smart Fortwo will set a benchmark for a turning radius. The engineers have been working to shorten the radius from 28 feet to just under 23 feet from curb to curb. U-turns will be a breeze, especially on those city streets that are only two lanes wide.
The new model will also receive updates to its tridion safety cell in the form of ultra-high strength hot-formed steels and maximum-strength multiphase steel. Added to that, Smart will be dipping into the Mercedes-Benz bag of safety technology. The Smart Fortwo will now offer Crosswind Assist as a standard feature, and available forward collision warning and lane departure warning. Smart has changed the lineup a bit and now offers the Fortwo in three variants, the Passion, Prime, and Proxy. But unlike the outgoing model, the 2016 Fortwo will feature safety and comfort features previously reserved for higher segments, including LED daytime running lights, central locking with radio remote control, cruise control with limiter, exterior temperature indicator, monochrome LCD display, trip computer, and electric windows. Now, the higher trim models will feature a leather multifunction steering wheel, instrument cluster with a 3.5-inch color display, and heated seats.

Engine and Drivetrain

For all that the Smart is, many thought the power just wasn't enough. To remedy that, Smart will offer two state-of-the-art three-cylinder engines to the lineup, including a naturally aspirated engine that produces 71 horsepower and a turbo engine that delivers 90 horsepower. The all-new turbocharger will feature an electronically controlled wastegate for increased engine dynamics and sustainable reduction in fuel consumption.
Also new to the Smart is a five-speed manual transmission or the twinamic six-speed dual clutch transmission. As of right now, there are no plans for the manual to make its way to the U.S., but we can expect to see the dual clutch on the 2016 model.

Design

The outgoing Smart Fortwo may have been very minimalistic in terms of design and styling, but the new model offers a more defined exterior and a slightly more muscled appearance. The designers have widened the wheelbase by four inches to offer better on-road stability, and have even positioned them more outwards. Combined with the rear engine, interior space has been increased. The new Fortwo also features a slightly larger Smart grille with a honeycomb pattern that pales toward the outside. A larger logo in the center of the grille has also been added to emulate confidence.
Keeping with a more sporty and confident appearance, the front lights have been slightly truncated, while the U-shaped DLRs offer more character to the car. When equipped with the LED & Sensor package, the headlights will pulsate when the vehicle unlocks, as if to welcome the driver. Also available with this package is eleven individually illuminated cube allocated to each taillight that provide a unique design. Smart has added new exterior colors with over 40 different combination options between color choices for the tridion safety cell and body panels. New body panel matte colors include Moon White, while new metallic colors include Lava Orange and Hazel Brown. Cool Silver and Lava Orange metallic colors have been added to the tridion cell options. Perhaps most changes can be seen looking inside the new 2016 Smart Fortwo. Each model in the lineup features a dashboard and door center panels with high-quality textile surfaces that are soft to the touch and bring a new character to the next generation of the Smart Fortwo. Consumers can spring for a three-spoke steering wheel with mounted controls for the radio and navigation. Throughout the interior, there is a "loop" design language that can be seen in the dashboard and door layout.

Our Thoughts

While the Smart car has yet to really solidify itself here in the U.S., it has become a game-changer in Europe. In cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles, the new Smart Fortwo could offer a great alternative to other compact vehicles. Because of the many customization options, owners can create a vehicle that better reflects their personality. Also, with the changes made to the tridion safety cell and the addition of new safety technology, owners can feel more confident while on the road. However, we'll have to wait until the U.S. launch before we can get behind the wheel and see just how much has changed.
  • 2016 Smart Fortwo Interior Controls
  • 2016 Smart Fortwo Interior
  • 2016 Smart Fortwo Cluster
  • 2016 Smart Fortwo Air Vent
  • 2016 Smart Fortwo Interior 05
  • 2016 Smart Fortwo Interior 04
  • 2016 Smart Fortwo Interior 02
  • 2016 Smart Fortwo Phone Dock
 
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