2015 smart fortwo Review

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2015 smart fortwo Overview

For such a pint-size commuter car, the 2015 smart fortwo is generating some full-size buzz. The redesigned and re-powered third generation of this 2-seat ultra-subcompact city slicker is set to debut in foreign markets for the 2015 model year, but U.S. showrooms won’t get it till the 2016 model year, and even then it remains doubtful that the colonies will enjoy all the upgraded engine and transmission choices scheduled to grace foreign trims. Hey, tell it to the folks at smart’s parent company, Daimler-AMG.

So anyhow, what you can expect in the contiguous 48 (plus Alaska and Hawaii) for 2015 is a smart fortwo that still seats 2, still comes in hatchback (coupe), cabriolet (convertible) and electric-drive variations, and still offers 2 trim levels, the basic “pure” in coupe/hatchback form only, and the up-featured “passion” in coupe/H.B., cabrio or electric-car form. And by the way, because the folks at smart have issues with capital letters in marketing distinctly un-capital automobiles, you’ll have to pardon the liberal use of quotation marks.

In any case, Yankee-Doodle-Dandy-destined 2015 fortwo versions will return with some 7.8 cubic feet of trunk space, even in rag-top cabrio versions. This cozy cargo carrying capability is again bolstered somewhat by a standard fold-flat passenger seat.

Also for us here in the States, the 2015 fortwo, offered only in rear-wheel-drive (RWD) configuration, will return the “pure” and “passion” editions, toting the single 1.0-liter inline 3-cylinder engine, with its standard 5-speed auto-manual transmission managing 70 hp and 68 lb-ft of torque. Mileage numbers, therefore, will remain a heady 34 mpg city/38 highway. The up-featured “passion” hatchback and cabrio, it should be noted, pack standard steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters that are deleted in the electric trim’s unique transmission setup.

Said fortwo electric trim returns to domestic dealerships boasting a plug-in 55-kilowatt electric motor and direct, single-speed transmission that put out a continuous 47 hp and 96 lb-ft of torque. A “burst mode,” meantime, allows spurts of 70-hp acceleration, but the stated range of 68 miles from the 17.6kWh lithium-ion battery will be cut significantly should the need for speed overwhelm the need to just get there. Oh, and the 240-volt charging system necessary to juice the fortwo electric up to full capacity again costs extra.

A trio of engine offerings touted for the upcoming Eurasian smart fortwo, interestingly enough, no longer includes the above-mentioned plug-in electric variant, leading one to conclude that when this third-gen pint-size urban warrior hits American shores, it’ll likely be only in gas-burning garb. And by the way, a 5-speed manual transmission that’s slated to be available in offshore editions may not make it across the pond either, leaving only a new 6-speed auto-manual gearbox to manage U.S.-designated variants.

The base fortwo “pure” is expected to retain stuff like 15-inch steel wheels, cloth upholstery, a fold-flat passenger seat (for a little more luggage capacity), remote keyless entry, manual climate control and a leather-wrapped steering wheel for 2015. The “passion” trim levels, meanwhile, get such standard add-ons as 15-inch alloy wheels, a fixed sunroof, power windows, cruise control, a trip computer, electric-assisted power steering, auto climate control, heated seats and a 2-speaker audio system with single-CD player and auxiliary audio input.

Options-wise, look for U.S.-labeled 2015 fortwo trims to retain the Comfort Package, with its leather upholstery, heated seats and retractable cargo cover, as well as the Technology Package, sporting GPS navigation and a 7-speaker JBL Surround Sound stereo system.

Standalone options, meanwhile, remain upgraded wheels and an aerodynamic body kit.

Finally, standing pat in 2015 fortwo trims delivered to U.S. dealers are such standard safety items as 4-wheel antilock brakes (ABS), traction and stability control, front side-mounted and side-curtain airbags (hatchback trims), and head-thorax airbags (cabrio trim). A post-collision safety system is delivered standard in all trims, while the “passion” trim level adds standard dusk-sensing headlights.

Teaser alert! Non-U.S. residents can look forward to more than just a revamped drivetrain lineup for 2015, including a new 60-hp base powerplant, as well as a turbocharged 900cc engine. Also, a slightly beefier profile is featured in next year’s foreign-addressed third-gen fortwo, as are a wider stance, improved suspension components, standard Crosswind Assist, a new grille design, standard LED taillights and a couple more available safety offerings, like lane-keeping assist and forward-collision warning.

Updated

Have Laptop, Will Travel. I'm retired and travelling the country in a 34' motor home. I'm really digging meeting people . . and sometimes their cars . . . getting a sense of what makes this nation tick. The plan is to visit all the national parks in the continental US, then cruise to Alaska to visit Denali, and to Hawaii to check out Haleakala and the Hawaii Volcano's national parks. Anyhow, when I'm not horsing the motor home around the roadways, I'm tooting around in the 2012 Ford Focus that we tow behind, or making runs to Home Depot and various malls with the 2004 F-150 that just won't die.

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