Smart For Two car reviewOne of the ground breaking cars for economy was the Smart For Two whose revolutionary new features in car design have been highly successful and stood the test of time. Many people thought this car would be a failure like many other odd vehicle designs in the past. The Smart For Two is a rear engined, two seater with interchangeable body panels and is just 250 cm long. It was a high risk design and could so easily have been rejected by the public. Its length allowed it to park lengthways in a parallel parking space, which quickly became its party trick and the basis of a subsequent marketing drive.
The Smart For Two is built by Smart GmbH, a brand of Daimler AG, based in Boblingen, Germany. Smart's logo is the letter "c" combined with an arrow and denotes "compact" and "forward thinking" respectively. The economical little Smart car was initially produced in 1998 and is still in production today as a second generation form since 2006.
The first generation car originally had a 3 cylinder 599cc turbo petrol engine, but this engine was quickly changed to a 698 cc unit which output either 37 kW or 45 kW in two different variants. A 799cc turbodiesel engine was also available with 30 kW of power.
There were a few special editions of the Smart For Two, most notably the Brabus, which was the sports version of the car with 72 kW of power and 0 to 100 km/h figures of 9.9 seconds. Its top speed is limited to 155 km/h (96 mph). There have also been some concept designs, such as the Forfun2 Concept. This was an off-road version of the Smart For Two first seen at the 2005 Athens Motor Show by Greek Rally driver Stefan Attart. The forfun 2 Concept combined the body of a fortwo with the chassis and drivetrain of a Unimog. It had huge 26-inch wheels and 140 cm diameter tires and winding keys where the fortwo's rear wheels were supposed to be.
The main amendments in the second generation Smart For Two car were an increase in length from 250 to 269 cm and better crash performance. The styling however, remained very similar to the original car.
A new 53kW 999 cc engine produced by Mitsubishi was used in the second generation car. Fuel efficiency remained outstanding - the Smart For Two is one of the best mileage cars. The European Union rates the Smart at 4.7 L/100 km (60 mpg-imp; 50 mpg-US) for the petrol car and 3.4 L/100 km (83 mpg-imp; 69 mpg-US) for the diesel version. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rates the car at 36 mpg-US (6.5 L/100 km; 43 mpg-imp). The Smart For Two is one of the lightest vehicles on the market, weighing in at only 730kg. But its rigid steel frame, marketed as the "Tridion" frame, surrounds and protects the passengers extremely well.
In 2007 Smart launched a mild hybrid Smart For Two. It is alleged to give an increase in fuel economy from 50 miles per US gallon (4.7 L/100 km; 60 mpg-imp) to nearly 55 miles per US gallon (4.3 L/100 km; 66 mpg-imp), making this one of the best mileage cars around.
There are also plans for an electric version of the car, called the Smart ED. Production is hoped to commence in 2010. Power output is going to be 30 kW (40 hp), top speed 70 mph (110 km/h), and 0-30 mph (48 km/h) will be 6.5 seconds. The electric Smart will be able to travel up to 72 miles (116 km) between charges and will take about 8 hours for a full charge. The sports car maker Tesla Motors has an agreement with Smart to initially supply the battery packs for the car.
While its driving stats sound less than exciting, the Smart For Two is actually a really fun car to drive. Around town its quick off the mark and because its both tiny and low to the ground the car is quite exhilarating to drive. Its not cramped either since they only needed to find space for 2 seats.
Besides cheap refueling all other running costs are also minimal. Tyres and other parts are cheap, insurance is cheap and being quite a cool car, Smart For Two's are quite desirable in the used car market, retaining healthy values.
The Smart For Two has been a legendary eco vehicle. It has introduced the market to revolutionary design features. With its new electric and hybrid models the Smart For Two is set to continue as one of the leaders in green innovation.
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