Smart isn’t selling really well United States, and through the years it hasn’t taken off in nearly the same way as MINI or the Fiat 500. There are different reasons for this – it’s significantly smaller than either of those cars, but there’s also less benefit to driving one.
For its small size, the Smart returns really poor fuel economy. 33 MPG just isn’t going to cut it, especially when customers need to make so many sacrifices. Those are numbers far exceeded by today’s compact cars. For the next-generation car, Smart is going to have to improve things significantly. We’d like to see at least 55 MPG. Volkswagen has set a high bar for others to reach with its diesel BlueMotion Golf, which gets 73.5 MPG.
Electric models are a way to make an impact, along with the use of diesel engines and other tech like stop/start and direct injection. That’s a must. Another way is offering more practicality – with a ForFour version. Smart offered one in Europe, but it was very short lived. It was sold only from 2004 to 2006. We never got it here in the U.S, but next time around things will be different.
A ForFour is on the docket for the next-generation model, and it has been caught testing here. And in case you’re wondering – this is a test mule that doesn’t preview styling at all. What’s significant is that a new ForFour model is being developed. The next-gen Smart is one of the projects resulting from Daimler and Nissan’s recent partnership.
The ForFour will share a platform with the Renault Twingo. This collaboration is important given that Smart has a unique rear-engined setup. As far as design, Smart has been pushing a lot of concepts out lately, but it isn’t clear which one is going to have the most impact on the next FourTwo. The next FourTwo needs to address concerns people have had with it.
If it does, we could see it gaining some traction with younger buyers – especially with the FourFour. For more images, check out Autoblog’s gallery.