BREAKING: Smart Builds Something Desirable

Derek Kreindler
by Derek Kreindler

In the automotive world “Smart” is little more than a punchline, a symbol of bad packaging and failed branding. The current lineup of cars has dragged on for far too long, languishing without any upgrades and watching its market share recede as newer, more exciting entrants come in to play. But the next generation might be a chance for the brand to do a complete 180.

Smart’s “1.0” lineup consisted of the Smart Fortwo, the Roadster/Coupe, which we didn’t get, and the ForFour, an oddly-styled derivate of the front-drive Mitsubishi Colt. None of the models really fit with one another, but that’s about to change.

The next Smart cars will share their underpinnings with the new Renault Twingo. The Twingo is, of course, a rear-engined, rear-drive layout, just like a Porsche 911 and the craziest rally-inspired hot hatches of 30 years ago.

Both the ForTwo and ForFour will be the same car this time, just with (obviously) two and four doors, and sharing a production line with the Twingo in Slovakia. That, says Daimler boss Dieter Zetsche, should finally bring some profit to the brand – and some exciting product too. It’s about damn time for both. Who would have ever thought that a Smart car would be exciting? Then again, who would have thought Renault would launch a rear-engined city car. Even as regulations tighten and economies of scale force increasing homogenity, we are treated to little miracles like this. It’s not such a bad trade-off.

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  • WhatDaFunk WhatDaFunk on May 30, 2014

    I have an unhealthy desire to get one of the new ForFours (since I assume we're not getting the Renault in the US) and make a Twin'Run homage.

  • Wmba Wmba on May 30, 2014

    But does it have a transmission not designed by apprentices in outer Slobovia? That's the real question, because about 100 yards into your first drive of a Smart car, you already know it's an utter joke, and that only pure cynics could OK that transmission for production. And then go on making it for ten years, pretending all is sweetness and light. After that, you find out how the oil is changed and you want to set the thing on fire. Gross incomoetence.

  • MRF 95 T-Bird MRF 95 T-Bird on May 30, 2014

    From the looks of these prototypes they do seem a bit more substantial than the current model. More like a modern Fiat Topolino. If they get the transmission right they can ditch their joke image.

  • Voyager Voyager on Jul 20, 2014

    The new ForTwo and ForFour are rumored to be the last chance the Daimler company wants to give to its Smart division. It has been hemorrhaging money from the very beginning at the astounding rate of close to $6,000 per Smart! IMO, it has to do with the fact that Smart is not allowed to become the perfect, stylish, little urban runabout it potentially can be, because that may well hamper Mercedes sales. I mean, just look at the two. The Fiat 500 is undoubtedly a better drive and more desirable wannahave. If you like the ForFour's boxiness, then the new Aygo and Citroen C1 look more interesting too.