If smaller is better, then you can’t really do much better than the Smart ForTwo. The Fortwo is the city car originally designed in partnership with Swatch, back in the 1990s.
This year it’s been redesigned with American drivers in mind. That doesn’t mean bigger—just better.
If you’ve seen the Smart tooling around town, you might think it looks a little toylike. The new version? It’s more mature, but somehow it's more lively-looking. The hood is a little more bulbous and the grille’s a little more out there, wedged in between bigger headlamps. A nicer interior is part of the Smart package, too. The Fortwo’s rounded instrument panel can be dressed in a range of bright colors.
The ForTwo is powered by a turbocharged three-cylinder engine rated at about 90 horsepower and 100 pound-feet of torque. Shifting is done via a new dual-clutch automatic transmission that was developed specifically for the U.S. market—where the old Smart’s gearbox drew lots of complaints for its balky shifting.
By the way, if it’s an electric Smart you’re looking for, you’ll have to stick with the old body style. The current Smart Electric Drive will carry over until a new one is developed, possibly a year or two from now.
It’s about as small as you can get, but the ForTwo has consistently performed well in crash tests, for a car its size. On the new Fortwo, Smart offers a forward-collision warning system and lane-keeping assist.
Smart hasn’t released pricing or fuel economy figures just yet, but we’ll know more this spring when we go for a first drive on American roads. The 2016 Fortwo goes on sale later this year.