smart, the king of tiny cars has just unveiled the latest version of the ForTwo micro car, and it's new four-seat mini car, the ForFour.
For the first time since 2006, smart now has a second vehicle in it's line-up. Prior to that, the brand had a four-seat vehicle that was based on the Mitsubishi Colt, but Daimler discontinued it after only two years due to slow sales.
Daimler has partnered with Renault for the ForFour, sharing the same underpinnings as the Renault Twingo. The ForFour will be built at a Slovenian Renault factory, while the redesigned ForTwo will continue to be built at the smart factory in Hambach, France.
The two cars from smart will share identical styling, the ForFour will simply be a stretched version of the ForTwo to accommodate an extra row of seating and pair of doors, but it will not be as long as Renault's Twingo. Both cars will go on sale this fall in Europe, and will hit North America in late 2015, badged as a 2016 model. Sadly, the ForFour probably won't make it here.
The redesigned ForTwo will be 3 or 4 inches wider and 1 to 2 inches longer than it's predecessor. It's signature grill now features a broader smile, and hexagon trim elements have been used liberally, both inside and out. Inside, the dashboard is now oval-shaped, with round instruments.
Since the car shares a platform with the Twingo, it is likely that it will also share it's 3-cylinder, 1-litre engine. This engine delivers 70 ho and 67 lb-ft of torque. An electric version is expected to follow the gasoline-powered model about a year later.
Annette Winkler, smart's brand chief said that the ForFour is aimed at young families who require more space than the ForTwo can offer them. "It will be a second or third car," she said, and "will have the attributes that are loved in the ForTwo, such as its compact size. The most frequent reason people don’t pick the ForTwo is because it only has two seats and a number of our customers want to stay with the brand and they said they would if we had a four-seat vehicle," Winkler said. "Those reluctant to try smart will give us another look."
While smart's global sales have dropped by 10 percent this year, they have risen by 4 percent in North America.
Here is smart's "The smart DNA" video showcasing the future of smart cars:
By Linda Aylesworth - autoExpert.ca