2016 Smart ForTwo: First Look

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Competes with: A Schwinn 10-speed bike, as well as the Chevrolet Spark, Scion iQ and Fiat 500

Looks like: A wide-eyed, caffeine-injected Smart ForTwo

Drivetrain: (Preliminary European specifications) 60- or 71-horsepower three-cylinder engine; 90-hp, turbocharged three-cylinder; five-speed manual or six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission

Hits dealerships: Fall 2015

Smart's ForTwo microcar has been around these parts since it debuted as a 2008 model, and it's seen few changes since then. Next year, a redesigned ForTwo will debut in the U.S. and the bite-size microcar will get plenty of new bits and pieces. Smart, whose parent company is Mercedes-Benz, says this globally designed ForTwo went through the same development program as the new Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

Research the Smart ForTwo

A Mercedes-Benz spokesperson confirmed that the turbocharged 90-hp engine as well as manual and automatic transmissions are coming stateside. A new dual-clutch automatic manual transmission and a traditional manual transmission are big steps away from the model's current, unruly single-clutch automatic transmission. Execution is everything, so driving the next-generation ForTwo will be the big tell-all.

By Joe Bruzek | July 16, 2014 | Comments (5)

Ten Cars That Won't See 2015

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Automakers give all sorts of reasons for canceling a model. Sometimes it comes from a deliberate one-and-done cycle, as Scion often employs. Other times a car too similar to its corporate siblings — compare the ultra-luxury Maybach brand to an optioned-out Mercedes-Benz S-Class — and allowed to age without a redesign can spell doom. And some cars just plain stink: Four of our 10 Worst Cars of the 2000s sputtered out with no direct replacement.

Whatever the cause, cancellations often coincide with lackluster sales. Consider former Volvo spokesman James Hope, whose eulogy for the now-defunct S40 and V50 was short and sweet. "The S40 and V50 are great cars," Hope said. "Our focus, however, needs to be on our [sales] volume vehicles."

More than a dozen models were discontinued in 2013. We polled our editors to see which cars we think will meet their end next year.

By Kelsey Mays | December 18, 2013 | Comments (48)

2013 Smart ForTwo Electric Drive: First Drive

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The tiny Smart ForTwo isn't one of our favorite cars, and we have no qualms telling the world what we think of it. People around the world have been equally forthcoming in their comments about our evaluation of it as well, with nearly fanatical owners accusing us of bashing it unfairly. It's hard to deny that the standard ForTwo is slow, cheap feeling, inefficient and a questionable purchase compared to its competitors.

But now Smart is trying something new, something that the company says was intended from the very beginning: an electric version. The 2013 Smart ForTwo ED (for Electric Drive, not for a condition remedied by little blue pills) is here, and while not a perfect answer to the issues that plague the gas-powered version, the Electric Drive certainly makes for a more interesting proposition.

By Aaron Bragman | August 8, 2013 | Comments (4)

Smart ForTwo Tops List of Most Embarrassing Cars

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Drive a Smart ForTwo and you have one of the most embarrassing cars in America, according to a new survey by CarInsurance.com.

The Foster City, Calif., company asked 1,500 drivers age 25 and older to pick the most embarrassing car from a gallery of 12 current or recent vehicles: the Chevrolet HHR, Chrysler PT Cruiser, Nissan Cube, Smart ForTwo and Volkswagen New Beetle hatchbacks; the Chevrolet SSR and Subaru Baja pickup trucks; the Honda Element, Hummer H2 and Pontiac Aztek SUVs; the Lincoln Town Car sedan; and the Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet convertible.

Respondents were asked to deem each car embarrassing or not and then ranked the three most embarrassing. The ForTwo pulled an ’84 Reagan — it won by a landslide. (Or it lost by a landslide, depending how you see it, in which case it pulled an ’84 Mondale.) Nearly half of the respondents said they’d be embarrassed to drive Smart’s tiny hatchback, and a third said it was the most embarrassing car. The survey allowed respondents to specify a reason, including write-in options. "It looks like I couldn’t afford a real car," CarInsurance.com says one respondent wrote.

By Kelsey Mays | August 5, 2013 | Comments (20)

Car Talk: What's the Ugliest Car?

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Just as a person's beauty is only skin deep, a car's is in the eye of the pink-slip holder. Still, there's just no denying that some have a face only an owner could love. Tom and Ray Magliozzi, the hosts of NPR's "Car Talk" radio show, solicited input online to determine the ugliest automobile currently in production.

Based on the nominations received, the field was narrowed to 10: Chevrolet Spark, Fiat Multipla, Infiniti QX56, Kia Soul, Lincoln MKT, Mitsubishi i-MiEV, Nissan Cube, Nissan Juke (photo above), Toyota Prius v and the Smart ForTwo. At last check, the Multipla was trouncing the uncomely competition with nearly 39% of the vote. Its nearest opponent is the Juke with nearly 26%; the balance of the nominees' vote tallies were in the single digits.

Is the Multipla being unfairly maligned in the face of an uglier opponent? Or perhaps you wish to contribute to the pile-on? Click here to cast your vote.

Related
Car Talk: Top 20 Signs You Should Avoid a Garage
Car Talk: Top 10 Most Annoying Things Other Drivers Do

Top 10 Ugly Cars
By Matt Schmitz | January 23, 2013 | Comments (15)

December's Fastest- and Slowest-Selling Cars

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Automakers won't report December sales results until later today, but we have data on the month's fastest and slowest sellers. The redesigned Toyota Avalon hit dealerships in the first week of December, and it stormed the fastest-selling list, with regular and hybrid versions averaging just eight days apiece on dealer lots. Shoppers moved toward the Ford F-Series Super Duty pickup truck, too. That’s likely a result of an improved construction market; November housing starts hit their second highest rate since mid-2008.

The redesigned Mercedes-Benz GL-Class, which hit dealerships in September, spent its third month among the fastest sellers; the new-for-2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek also marked its third month on the list. Of the 18 fastest-selling cars, 10 were repeat performers, with such regulars as the redesigned Subaru Impreza and new Scion FR-S. The Kia Soul's severe mileage downgrade doesn't seem to have sapped demand, and neither has the popular hatchback's age. It debuted way back in early 2009, but in December it placed among the fastest sellers for the third month in a row.

By Kelsey Mays | January 3, 2013 | Comments (3)

Regular Cars that Take Premium Gasoline

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It's common to see "requires 91 octane gasoline for best performance" on the fuel door of sports or luxury cars. So, we scratch our heads when we see the same premium recommendation on a family car, hybrid or non-performance car. According to AAA's FuelGauge Report, the price difference between regular and premium gas is 32 cents nationally. Spending an additional $4.80 on a 15-gallon refuel isn't an insignificant amount of money, and you could save it if you buy a similarly efficient car at a similar price that runs on regular gasoline. 
 
Below is a list of cars that you may not guess recommend or require premium fuel. The manufacturer's fuel recommendation from the owner's manual or consumer website is listed alongside each vehicle. 

By Joe Bruzek | October 18, 2012 | Comments (11)

Is the U.S. Ready for Minicars?

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Tiny cars are big in popularity throughout the world, but the U.S. has been slow to adopt the trend. The Smart first blazed the minicar trail in the States with the 2008 ForTwo, to mediocre success. Will new entries from Fiat, Chevrolet and Scion give the class a popularity boost? If September's sales figures are any indication, yes.

The 2013 Chevrolet Spark, which first went on sale this summer, started off strong with 1,460 sold in July and 2,630 sold in August. September sales have cooled slightly with 2,223 sold. The Spark was initially launched in South Korea in 2009 and went global shortly afterward. According to GM, more than 600,000 have been sold since its debut and it's the best-selling Chevy in India.

By Jennifer Geiger | October 5, 2012 | Comments (9)

Smart ForTwo Electric Is the Most Affordable EV at $25,000

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The third-generation Smart ForTwo Electric was unveiled and priced this week, as it officially debuted at the 2012 Paris Motor Show. The coupe starts at $25,000, the convertible at $28,000. (It’s unclear whether the pricing includes destination.) That makes the ForTwo Electric the most affordable EV on the market today; the 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV costs $29,975, the 2012 Nissan Leaf $36,050 and the 2013 Ford Focus Electric $39,995.

Pricing is substantially better than the second-generation ForTwo electric, which started at $44,837, even though the model was only available through a $599-a-month lease program.

By Colin Bird | October 4, 2012 | Comments (2)

Euro Flair in Full Force at 2012 Paris Motor Show

Volvo V40 Cross Country

The Los Angeles Auto Show may mark the official start of the American auto show season, but the 2012 Paris Motor Show is the beginning of the international season.

This year, the 2012 Paris Motor Show offered some exciting unveilings, including the Jaguar F-Type, Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo, Lexus LF-CC and Maserati Levante. Other notables include the Audi RS5 Cabriolet, Volkswagen GTI and Volvo V40 Cross Country, which are rolling down the Parisian catwalk as we speak.

Check out the photos of some of the best releases at the show thus far.  

By Colin Bird | September 28, 2012 | Comments (1)

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