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smart Previews 2016 smart fortwo Ahead of New York Auto Show

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On: Wed, Apr 1, 2015 at 2:45PM | By: Carl Malek

smart Previews 2016 smart fortwo Ahead of New York Auto Show

In a bid to resuscitate the brand's lackluster sales here in the U.S., smart (Mercede's city car brand) will bring its all-new 2016 smart fortwo to the New York Auto Show. It could be a compelling preview for buyers who were turned off by the current models’ quirks and flaws as well as its lousy powertrain offerings.

Developed in a partnership with French automaker Renault, the U.S.-spec fortwo is virtually identical to the European model in many regards with much of its dimensions being unchanged from its predecessor. As a neat bonus, the car also boasts an impressive 22-foot turning circle which makes the city car perfect for tight parking manuvers as well as parallel parking in busy downtown centers. The exterior styling of the fortwo has also recieved a much welcome update and ditches its cheap-looking front fascia in lieu of a more elegant unit that features revamped headlights, a new front grille piece, as well as a redesigned lower bumper. The rear fascia also underwent several tweaks and features new tail lamps that aim to give the car even more aestheic appeal while eliminating the odd unbalanced look that the previous generation fortwo had during its time in production.

When the fortwo eventually arrives in U.S. showrooms, buyers will have a choice of four different trim levels known as pure, passion, prime, and proxy, with the prime and proxy designations being all-new for the fortwo lineup. Regardless of which trim level is chosen, all models will feature LED daytime running lights, power windows, cruise control, Bluetooth, keyless entry, as well as a CD player. On the safety front, the smart fortwo borrows the vastly bigger Sprinter commercial van's Crosswind Assist technology which should help keep the pint-sized car straight especially on the freeway where encounters with cross drafts and breezes from passing big rigs are commonplace. As expected, the list of optional equipment is also quite extensive and includes heated seats, a seven-inch touchscreen, and rear parking sensors. In addition two different option packages will also be avalible for those who want to add a dose of individuality to their fortwo purchase.

smart will also take a page out of its corporate siblings’ playbook and launch the third generation fourtwo with a special limited edition model called edition #1. Available only during the 2016 model year, the edition #1 variant follows the theme set by similar efforts from Mercedes Benz and bring s anumber of aestehtic upgrades that help it stand out from other fortwos. These include a two-tone orange and white paint job, 16-inch black alloy wheels, a slightly lowered suspension, stainless steel pedals, and a potent 240 watt JBL branded eight-speaker sound system.

Performance for the 2016 smart fortwo will come from a Renault-sourced 0.9-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine which is good for a modest 89 horsepower and 100 lb-ft of torque. These figures are significantly higher than the 70 horsepower and 68 lb-ft of torque that motivated the old car despite the new engine having slightly less displacement than before, an impressive achievement especially for such a compact engine. A five-speed manual transmission is a much-needed piece of standard equipment that will be appreciated by those who prefer more control in their driving experience while a six-speed dual clutch automatic transmission replaces the slow and dimwitted five-speed automated manual transmission and promises a better blend of performance and fuel economy though buyers will have to pay a bit extra to equip it to their fortwo.

smart claims that the 2016 fortwo will arrive in smart showrooms acorss the nation in September with pricing and final fuel economy figures to be revealed closer to its official launch date. It is currently unknown if smart will sell the slightly bigger Forfour on our shores or not, but with a recent push to prop up sagging sales currently underway, smart will have to eventually bring buyers more compelling choices as well as a higher degree of variety to its showrooms if it hopes to see sales take a noticeable swing upwards.


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