2013 Smart ForTwo Electric Drive: First Look

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  • Competes with: Mitsubishi i, Ford Focus Electric
  • Looks like: The ForTwo goes green, literally
  • Drivetrain: a 16.7-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack and a 55-kilowatt motor
  • Hits dealerships: This fall

Fuel economy has never been a strong suit of the tiny ForTwo, but Smart’s adding a gas-free version for 2013. The ForTwo Electric Drive will be available in coupe and cabriolet versions. They go on sale this fall.

The electric subcompact uses a 16.7-kwh lithium-ion battery pack and a 55-kilowatt motor co-developed with Bosch; it makes 95 pound-feet of torque. According to Smart, it will have a 90-mile range and a top speed of 77 mph. It sounds like it’ll be almost as pokey as its gasoline-powered sibling: Smart quotes a zero to 62 mph time of 11.5 seconds for the Electric Drive.

The automaker says it can be fully charged on a “household socket” in six to seven hours. However, it can be charged in less than an hour using a quick-charging unit. As with other electric cars on the market, a smartphone application can be used to find charging stations, coordinate charge times and pre-heat or pre-cool the interior while it's connected to the grid.

By Jennifer Geiger | June 19, 2012 | Comments (3)

Daily News Briefs: June 19, 2012

Traffic

AAA predicts holiday travel will increase 4.9% over the Fourth of July weekend, with 42.3 million Americans hitting the road — or airport, train station and the like — between Tuesday, July 3, and Sunday, July 8. That's up 42% over Independence Day travel in recession-strapped 2009. Lower gas prices play into the increase. A gallon of regular averages $3.50 nationally, down 19 cents from a month ago, leading 35.5 million of those travelers to plan on piling into their car for the long weekend. Even those who fly may drive more: Rental-car rates for the holiday weekend are down 9% from a year ago, AAA says. If you're planning to pile the family in for that trip to Walley World, Volvo's tips for safe road trips is a good primer.

In other news:

By Kelsey Mays | June 19, 2012 | Comments (0)

Daily News Briefs: June 13, 2012

Saabrange2011

Bankrupt Swedish automaker Saab has found a new suitor; a Chinese-Japanese investment group wants to buy the brand and turn it into a builder of electric vehicles, according to sources who spoke with Reuters and Bloomberg News. The group formed a new company in Sweden, National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB, and has agreed to buy Saab's assets, according to reports. The companies that have invested to buy Saab's assets include Japanese-based Sun Investment and Hong Kong-based renewable-energy power plant builder National Modern Energy Holdings Ltd., according to Automotive News. The first vehicle the new company plans to build will be an electric version of the Saab 9-3, which it expects to start selling in early 2014.

In other news:

By Colin Bird | June 13, 2012 | Comments (0)

Daily News Briefs: April 27, 2012

Ford HQ

Here's what we have our eye on today:

  • Ford's profits for the first three months of 2012 have fallen compared to last year, the automaker reports. The Blue Oval reported a $2.3 billion pre-tax operating profit on $32.4 billion in revenue; that's a $544 million decrease in operating profit and a $700 million decrease in revenue as compared to the first quarter of 2011, according to Ford. The automaker blames the weak European economy and the slower-than-planned launch of the new global Ford Ranger, which was delayed by flooding in Thailand. Conversely, North American profits were the highest Ford has seen since the year 2000. 
  • Daimler AG — parent company of Mercedes-Benz and Smart — posted better profits than Ford; the company had a pre-tax operating profit of $2.81 billion, according to the automaker. Daimler's revenue totaled $35.6 billion, which was up 9% from last year. Daimler attributes record sales at Mercedes-Benz for the increased profits; the carmaker sold 338,300 Mercedes-branded cars in the first three months of 2012, which is a 9% increase over last year. 
  • In more fiscal news, Honda says it more than doubled its consolidated operating profit for the first fiscal quarter of 2012 to $1.4 billion. The result marks the first increase in Honda's profits in five fiscal quarters, according to Reuters. Honda has suffered more than its rivals Nissan and Toyota from the natural disasters in Japan and Thailand and Japan's strong yen, the newswire reports. Honda is aiming to recover U.S. market share, targeting 10% for 2012. Currently, Honda has a 9.2% U.S. market share, which is down from a 10.7% share in 2011, according to the Wall Street Journal. 
  • Kia also reported strong profits today for the beginning of 2012. The Korean carmaker is reporting a $1.1 billion net profit, which is up 26% from last year, according to Bloomberg BusinessWeek. The carmaker attributes its strong gains to robust sales in the U.S. (up 32%), Europe (25%) and China (15%). 
  • CNN Money reports that gasoline prices probably won't hit all-time highs this summer as was previously forecasted by industry experts. Prices at the pump have slowly declined from a national average of $3.95 a gallon for regular gas at the beginning of the month to $3.83 a gallon currently, according to AAA. Further signs that prices will continue to decrease can be gleaned from trading in New York on gasoline futures, according to CNN Money. It reports a 30-cent drop in the price of a gasoline future — from $3.40 a gallon to $3.10 a gallon — from April 1 through April 25. Prices could increase sharply, says CNN Money, on account of potential refinery issues on the East Coast.
By Colin Bird | April 27, 2012 | Comments (0)

2013 Smart ForTwo: Up Close

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You need to look closely to see the changes Smart made to the 2013 ForTwo. Optional LED running lights run flat along the bumper rather than curving up, and sculpted side skirts replace the old flat skirts. Smart moved its wheel-moving-forward logo from the hood to the grille, and the rear bumper gets a diffuser panel.

More 2012 New York Auto Show Coverage

The biggest news is the SharpRed limited edition, of which Smart will sell 120. It gets Nappa leather and a leatherette-wrapped dashboard, but the latter is optional on other editions.

By Kelsey Mays | April 5, 2012 | Comments (3)

2013 Smart ForTwo at the 2012 New York Auto Show

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  • Competes with: Scion iQ, Chevy Spark, Mini Cooper
  • Looks like: New wrappings around the same small box
  • Drivetrain: 70 hp, three-cylinder engine with automated-manual transmission
  • Hits dealerships: May 2012

Smart debuted the ForTwo in the U.S. to great fanfare. That was before anyone drove the tiny city runabout, though. We infamously called it the worst car of the 2000s.

More 2012 New York Auto Show Coverage

Smart has announced a redesigned model for 2013 that will go on sale this summer. It gets some exterior updates — you tell us the difference — and the interior materials are improved, but the car remains virtually the same underneath. That means we likely won't be recommending this one, either.

By David Thomas | April 5, 2012 | Comments (28)

2012 Detroit Auto Show: What To Expect

2013 Toyota Prius C

Nearly a month from today will mark the return of America’s — and maybe the world’s — most important auto show. Thirty-six all-new vehicles are set to debut at the 2012 North American International Auto Show, according to the Detroit Free Press.

After a two-year hiatus, Nissan and Infiniti will be at the show. At the same time, Suzuki, Land Rover and Jaguar will be leaving.

New vehicles at the show will include the 2013 Toyota Prius C, which will be the most fuel-efficient and most affordable Toyota hybrid available, according to the automaker.

By Colin Bird | December 9, 2011 | Comments (1)

Cars.com Podcast: 2011 Toyota Prius, 2011 Subaru Tribeca, 2011 Smart ForTwo

Join editors Joe Wiesenfelder, Bill Jackson and Joe Bruzek as they discuss three very different vehicles. The most popular hybrid ever, the Toyota Prius, remains alluring, while the editors discuss the merits of the largest Subaru, the Tribeca, and the smallest car on the market, the Smart ForTwo.

Download via iTunes
Download MP3

By David Thomas | June 15, 2011 | Comments (3)

What Does This Button Do?

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At first glance, the button under the Smart ForTwo’s stereo controls looks like it could be similar to the Toyota 4Runner’s Party Mode. On the button, there’s an outline of the car and some sort of sound waves blasting inside. In the Toyota, Party Mode dials up the stereo’s bass and sends audio to the rear for tailgating. Closer inspection of the Smart’s button reveals an upside-down question mark and “Off” functionality, hinting that it has nothing to do with the stereo system.

By Joe Bruzek | June 8, 2011 | Comments (4)

2011 Smart ForTwo Video

The Smart Fortwo has been on the market for a few years now and remains one of the cheapest and most fuel-efficient options available. Despite those winning qualities, this small city-car is hard to recommend for anyone, according to Cars.com editor Bill Jackson. Are there any redeeming qualities?
By Colin Bird | June 2, 2011 | Comments (0)

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