December 30th, 2014
By: Mihnea Radu
2015 Smart Fortwo
Just about every car segment is getting stretched these days. The MPV has become a big crossover, the compact car is now a mid-size, while the coupe is now required to have four large doors and enough space for a family. Just to give you an example of how much cars have grown, know that the first generation VW Polo was 8% narrower in 1976 than the model we have today.
No wonder car parks feel so tight, so claustrophobic! Statistics have shown that fender-bender accidents are far more likely to occur in the chaotic environment that is the supermarket or mall. You really do get the feeling that drivers are literally battling for spaces to park, that they are willing to lay down their lives in exchange for groceries or an afternoon of shopping. But the reality is that today's motorists have to squeeze ever larger cars into fewer spaces, plus there are many more trips to make than there were a decade ago.
But fret not, fellow struggling motorist, because autoevolution has found a cool solution to this problem in the 2015 Smart Fortwo. It's a brand new generation of the car everybody loves to hate and it's better than ever.
Forgive us for getting sidetracked for a second, but we want to make a quick movie reference that we think is 100% relevant for our review. Ask anybody which is his favorite character from hit television series Game of Thrones and he will most likely point towards Tyrion Lannister, also referred to as "The Imp" or "The Halfman" and played to perfection by Peter Dinklage.
“Tyrion once said that once you've accepted your flaws, no one can use them against you. The tiny Smart Fortwo lives by those exact words.”
The Fortwo is a car that practically invented its own niche. Since it hit the market back in 1998, Daimler has built and sold about 1.6 million of these things and yet somehow never managed to make a profit along the way. But just like in story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, where the third porridge bowl is "just right", the Fortwo Mk3 seems to have found the perfect setting.
A lot of things have changed over the past 16 years since the Smart brand was launched. In that time, many companies have aggressively targeted us motorists suffering from parking claustrophobia. Sure, they're not as small as the Fortwo, but make no mistake, the Scion iQ or the Volkswagen Up! are competent cars. After sticking over a decade and a half with the same platform, Smart needed a new edge over its competitors and it has found it with the help of French carmaker Renault.
The Megane and Clio people also needed to build a successor to their smallest car, the Twingo, and after shaking corporate hands, the companies started work on a brand new rear-engined platform. After a pretty serious session of testing, Daimler finally revealed the all-new Fortwo in July 2014. We were more than a little excited to test it and share our thoughts with you guys.
Our first impressions are that this is a substantial improvement over the model it replaces. Just like Tyrion Lannister, the 2015 Fortwo accepts what it is, a really small two-seater designed for the densest of urban environments. From bumper to bumper, this model is exactly the same length as the old one, but the width has been increased significantly to give you more elbow room and superior cornering characteristics. Build quality is another strong selling point. Yes, there's a lot of plastic, but it feels like a smartphone rather than a recycled water bottle.