Renault Twingo And Smart Forfour: A Curious Child Of The Daimler-Renault Alliance

Derek Kreindler
by Derek Kreindler
renault twingo and smart forfour a curious child of the daimler renault alliance

One of the more interesting bits of news this week comes from France; the next-generation Smart Forfour (big brother of the worst car on sale today, as voted by the readership) will share a common architecture with the adorable Renault Twingo.

The two cars will be built at a common factory in Slovenia, and come in gasoline and full-electric versions. Presumably, the cars will adopt the Smart Fortwo’s rear engine layout, as a front engine rear-drive subcompact is unfathomable from a packaging standpoint. The previous Forfour was a sales flop with a short shelf life, and the current Twingo lags far behind market leaders like the Fiat Panda and 500 and the Volkswagen Up!

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  • ToplessFC3Sman ToplessFC3Sman on Feb 12, 2013

    The Smart ForFour was a front-engined, front wheel drive vehicle (as it was basically a small mitsubishi crossover), and I don't really see a reason to guess that the successor would be any different. This is especially true now in an era of "MQB" etc with an even greater push for powertrain & body structure commonality across vehicles.

  • Vattu Vattu on Feb 12, 2013

    The "presumed" rear engine layout would not make any sense at all. Twingo has always been fwd and made from leftovers (old tech engines etc.), the old forfour/colt was fwd. Why would they develop a new tech platform for the cheapest car in renault range?

    • See 2 previous
    • Vattu Vattu on Feb 14, 2013

      @Derek Kreindler Late reply... I would guess Fortwo is rwd because it was the easiest way to package the thing back in the day (Toyota Iq is a newer design and longer - probably not only because of the rear "seats"). As the previous Forfour was fwd, there seems to be no ideological reason for going rwd. Are Smart customers even interested of the underlying technology? MB is also happy to risk its reputation by badge-engineering Renault Kangoo into Citan, so there should be no problems using Renault platforms in the Smart, which is a not Mercedes, after all. If they would like to use existing Smart technology, they would have to stretch the Fortwo platform, which they could have done in the past, but didn't. New platform in this economical situation, for the cheapest car in the range? Possible, but not likely. And if I remember correctly, the Up!/Citigo/Mii concept was rear-engined, but the production car is fwd. Practically identical design shared across three brands.

  • Beerboy12 Beerboy12 on Feb 12, 2013

    Renault has taken the engine out the front and put it in the back before... usually with a healthy sprinkling of "insanity" dust. The V6 Clio I think was the craziest. This might just work though because of the "unusual" factor.

  • Athos Nobile Athos Nobile on Feb 12, 2013

    The monobox (as per wikipedia) style 1st gen Twingo was truly adorable. I always loved that car (still do). They made it great when they fitted the 1.2 16V engine in it. And then in Europe, they had a partial fabric roof could be opened from the windscreen all the way to the hatch. The one you put on the picture... well, ummm... *rolleyes*. Hopefully they do something like the first one.

    • Marcelo de Vasconcellos Marcelo de Vasconcellos on Feb 12, 2013

      Athos, I agree so much with you! But I do believe Renault is listening. I mean, the first Twingo was an undeniable success, strong enough to live on, unchanged, in the South American wilds until very recently. When they built up the new one, the car lost all of its originality. The market has shown Renault what to do. Or not. With the credible competition from such things as the Dacia line, it would be that more difficult for a car in the vein of the original Twingo to make it big.