A promise made was a promise kept: the third Smart Fortwo is as long—or rather, as short—as ever. It features added comfort, “real” transmissions, power, a bulldogish look and… two more doors.

The third and latest generation of the 2016 Smart Fortwo (and Smart Forfour) was launched recently in Berlin, and Autofocus.ca was there—just check out our pictures!


So, you’ve been bewitched by the Smart Fortwo’s cheeky new look and you can’t get yourself to your local Smart dealership fast enough?

Hold on, not so fast! First, the new Smart Forfour will not be available in Canada. Not available, as in, dream on. Or, as per Smart’s Canadian spokespersons, “not for the time being,” at least.

As for the new 2016 Smart Fortwo, it isn’t expected to hit North America before August 2015.

So, it’ll be another year before the third generation of this urban-friendly car is available here, despite the fact it will launch in Europe in fall 2014.

What’s the hold up? The automatic transmission versions still need to be built. They’ll be equipped with a new dual-clutch, six-speed (up from the current five) “Twinamic” transmission, which, thanks to its responsiveness, should make us forget the “automated manual” whose shifting quality was reminiscent of driving a rocking chair. (Now that it’s gone, we can say bad things about it, right?)


In order to comply with European pedestrian safety standards, the 2016 Smart Fortwo features a squared front end with a horizontal hood line—a complete departure from the stubby, plunging hood (it’s half a hood, really) of the first two versions. This gives the formerly harmless-looking Smart Fortwo a bolder, bulldog-ish look.

Upon closer examination of the Smart Fortwo’s profile, with its rounded corners and vertical hatch (which still opens in two parts), we detect a little Scion IQ, don’t you?
At the heart of the Smart Fortwo’s new design is a honeycomb pattern, which in recent years was featured in the ForUs, ForJoy, ForVision and ForStars prototypes.

In addition to the honeycombed grille, the pattern is also featured in the considerably larger headlights and taillights. The headlights now also feature light emitting diodes (LED, for short) laid out in a U-shaped pattern. Classy.

Otherwise, the “Smart” spirit lives on, especially in the extremely subtle overhangs and the Tridion safety cell, which is even more prominent on the sides at the rear.

But enough chit-chat about “style”—what you really want to know is whether the third-generation 2016 Smart Fortwo is as short as ever, making parking a breeze.

The answer is yes: the Smart Fortwo gets to keep its trademark length of 2.69 metres. “It was a given,” explained the colourful and always enthusiastic Annette Wrinkler, the head of Smart.

Smart bigwigs particularly couldn’t stop raving about the third generation’s shorter turning radius. At 7.3 metres, it is 1.5 metres more “turn-on-a-dime” than before. This is a real slap in the face to the Scion IQ, whose eight-metre turning radius had claimed the bragging rights for being the tightest, until now.

Designers confided to us that the biggest challenge they faced in redesigning the Smart Fortwo was sticking to this overall length. Although they would have loved to have lengthened the car by 10 or so centimetres, what they could not gain in length they made up for in width, increasing the latter from 156 cm to 166cm.

As a result, the Smart Fortwo’s interior is roomier (although it should be noted that the two occupants already weren’t as cramped as the car’s small dimensions would have us believe).

What’s more, the increase in width certainly translates into a more stable car, especially since Smart Fortwos in Canada will come standard with crosswind technology, which adjusts braking force to minimize deviation in trajectory, which is significant in this micro-car.
Roughly 30 percet more powerful

So, what lurks under the hood—I mean, under the cargo mat—and (still) drives the rear wheels?


Answer: one of three new three-cylinder gasoline engines (it should be noted that Smart was the forerunner of these small engines, which are just starting to become more widespread).
The first two will both displace 1.0 litre. The first will be a naturally-aspirated engine generating 71 hp and 67 lb-ft of torque, and the second will have an all-new turbocharger, producing 90 hp and 100 lb-ft of torque. A 60-hp engine is expected to join the family later down the road.

As was the case on the generation that is on its way out, no diesel engines will be offered on the third generation. Even in Europe.

Think the mid-range engine will again be the one offered in North America, as it is now? If so, think again: the turbo engine is the one earmarked for North America, offering roughly 30 percent more power, which is welcome.

Fuel consumption is yet to be determined, but the increase in power and an extra 40 kg could hurt the micro-car’s frugality (mind you, at around 860 kg, the Smart Fortwo will still be among the lightest cars around).

However, stop-and-start technology will also be offered (no doubt as an option), shutting down the engine during stops, thereby improving fuel efficiency for city driving.

Our fuel consumption was pretty much the same as with the current version, with a combined rating of 5.3 L/100 km (based on the two-cycle testing method).


Ready for more good news? As mentioned above, the days of the automated manual transmission are over, making room for a dual-clutch six-speed transmission, which can only be a good thing—it’s excellent, even.

Drum roll, please: the 2016 Smart Fortwo also gets a new manual transmission. More drum roll, please: it will be available in North America!

In Canada, however, this five-speed transmission will be exclusive to the base model. And, know what? That heralds an entry-level price that could be less than the current $14,800. This is a virtual necessity, as the starting prices of the Nissan Micra and Mitsubishi Mirage, which both seat four, are now under $10,000.

The new Smart’s platform is borrowed from the Renault Twingo, and although the Smart Fortwo continues to be assembled in Hambach, in France’s beautiful Lorraine region, the Smart Forfour will be built at Renault’s assembly plant in Slovenia.

The front suspension still features MacPherson struts, which have been modified, adopting elements of the previous-generation Mercedes C-Class. The De Dion rear axle was used once more, making the Smart Fortwo the only car on the market with such an architecture. However, thanks to its longer spring travel, comfort has (finally) become a top priority.

Although rack-and-pinion steering is again offered on the base model (the Smart Fortwo continues to be one of the very few cars available without power steering), it will be enhanced by the Direct-Steer steering system, adding variable ratio and electric power steering. It remains to be seen whether this technology will be available this side of the pond and, if so, whether it will be standard equipment.


When it comes to the interior, the “Smart” spirit lives on there, too, notably thanks to the “bug eye” gauges at the top of the instrument panel.

That said, improvements introduced on the latest generation are found throughout, from more refined materials (we’re big fans of textiles that remind us of high-end sneakers), to a multifunction steering wheel, a floor console with more storage space, increased passenger legroom thanks to a concave design (why had no one thought of this sooner?) and more user-friendly connectivity technologies.

Although the Smart Fortwo features integral seats (i.e. the headrest is one with the rest of the seat), padding is definitely plusher. Cargo space has been increased by 20 percent, now offering 260 litres behind the seats (and 350 litres to the roof).

More colour choices will be available for the exterior panels (still made of polymer), including moon white, lava orange and hazel brown. The Tridion cell will come in cool silver or metallic orange.

What else can we tell you about the 2016 Smart Fortwo? A few more things:
New driving aids will be offered (as options), including lane change and frontal collision warning systems. However, there are no plans to include rear cross-path detection in the foreseeable future.

If the Smart Forfour, with its four doors and four seats, ever comes to Canada, it will likely cost $1,000 more than its Smart Fortwo counterpart—at least, this is if we consider that in Europe, with all engines being equal, the Forfour fetches an extra 600 Euros.
You might have noticed that there’s been no mention of a convertible version. That’s because Smart reps never mentioned one, even going so far as to avoid the question altogether. To be continued.

Lastly, the Smart Fortwo electric drive (100 percent electric) will have the same exterior as the current generation. This, too, is to be continued.

Have we forgotten anything? If so, don’t be shy, ask us. We promise to respond the best we can!