What am I looking at?
These two cars are the replacements for the current Smart fortwo and forfour range, usefully using the same names as their predecessors.
And what’s new?
Everything. These are blank-sheet designs, resulting from a city car working group collaboration between Smart’s parent concern Daimler AG and Renault – the forfour foreshadows the next Twingo.
There’s a lot familiar despite this. The engineers were keen to keep the fortwo’s diminutive proportions and the result is that it’s identical in length to the old car – just 2.69m – and you can spot that the new cars retain the famed “tridion” safety cell of the first generation too.
An interior re-jig means the new fortwo is able to take more luggage than before, and work on the suspension geometry means it now needs less than 7m of space to execute a U-turn – that’s the width of the average two lane road. Meanwhile the forfour has made the shift from front-engine and front-wheel drive (based on the Mitsubishi Colt) to a new rear-engine, rear-wheel drive platform.
What powers it?
Both cars receive the same range of three-cylinder engines sitting out over the back axle. These are a 0.9 litre unit producing 60hp, a turbocharged version of the same engine offering up 90hp and a 1.0-litre lump in the middle making 71hp. It’s a little early in the product cycle for official fuel economy figures, but expect the 1.0-litre to at least match the current car’s 67mpg.
The fortwo’s boot space may be up – from 220 litres to 260 – but the new layout for the forfour sees it drastically slashed to just 185 litres. That said, if you fold the back seats down it swells to a pretty impressive 730 litres and you can fold the front seat down to give you a 2.2-metre-long load space.
How much will it cost me?
Official prices haven’t been announced, but the word is that the 1.0-litre fortwo will come in at under 11,000 Euros (£8,800) and the forfour will be a mere 600 Euro premium (£480) on top of this. We’ll know more nearer the launch date in November 2014.
It’s difficult to think of true competitors to the tiny fortwo – there’s nothing quite as small – but in general, both cars will face competition from things like the Toyota iQ and the Volkswagen Group triplet of Skoda Citigo, VW up and SEAT Mii. Of course when Renault’s new Twingo breaks cover, based on the same platform as the forfour, that’ll be in the mix too.
In a line…
The definitive city car reborn.