Its not often that I really really hate a car brand (Kia being the odd exception), but Smart really gets on my nerves, I mean for a start, they are called smart. You call you car company smart, your asking for some problems. Okay, I have to be fair, the name smart actually comes from the fact that Swiss watch maker was a big supported of the brand in the early days and the project was originally nicknamed the “Swatchmobile”. The name SMART stands for Swatch Mercedes ART. Nonetheless, it doesn’t stop me getting annoyed when a smart car takes my parking space.
Thankfully though, Smart has been losing Dailmyer Chrysler some serious money in the last few years, which makes me happy. All my hatred aside, smart has brought out a new smart fortwo. The smart fortwo coupé and smart fortwo cabrio were un-veiled to more than 550 international journalists yesterday evening in Stuttgart, Germany.
Like everything Smart, things had to be wierd, and so Smart had picked the middle of the city, on the roof of a multi-storey car park to unveil its new car.
So what has changed? The appearance still annoys me, but inside, things are looking better with improved seats and updated interior. So what about the engine? Whats changed there? The new petrol engines come in three variants. The three cylinder engine has a one litre capacity and comes in ratings of 45 kW, 52 kW or 62 kW (61 bhp, 71 bhp or 84 bhp). The engine power of the smart fortwo cdi has increased by ten percent and now stands at 33 kW (45 bhp).
Here is the part I am not so sure on, smart says that all the engines are linked to an automated manual five-speed transmission. Uha.. Automated Manual? Is that another name for a clutch-less manual? Either way, it doesn’t sound… so smart (horrible pun fully intended). The Smart car isn’t the fastest thing on the planet and at a top speed of 145 km/h its at least 10 km/h more than the predecessor model.
When you look at a smart car, you don’t think, wow, thats gotta be safe, you think, “damn is that a matchbox with wheels?” but just like the A-Class Mercedes, smart cars are actually relatively safe and the new model improves on the level of passive safety – and new head/thorax side airbags, offering protection in the event of a side crash, are available as an option.. The new smart car is set to go on sale in America by 2008, so Australian arrival is still unconfirmed, but I am going to take a guess and say it’d be around the same time.
So now that you’ve told all your friends you’ve bought a smart car, and how easy it is to drive and park, you can really bore them to death with the environmental friendliness figures. Look I can save some trees… the standard consumption of the petrol variants is less than five litres of fuel. The new smart fortwo cdi consumes even less fuel. In accordance with the New European Driving Cycle, its consumption is less than 3.5 litres per 100 kilometres, so much for the Toyota Prius.
The diesel variant of the previous model already boasted the lowest consumption in its class. With an emission of just 90 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometre.