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Smart ForTwo

European-small-car chic, but will it play in Peoria?

When the Smart first came to America, it could have been a fad that disappeared after a year or two. The European two-seater is still around despite anemic monthly sales, but maybe that will change with the 2013 face-lift. The new exterior includes a larger radiator grille with the Smart logo in the middle and a redesigned rear bumper. Passion models also get more-sculpted side skirts. There’s a new matte grey exterior color to choose from. The ForTwo uses a three-cylinder gasoline engine as standard equipment. It’s paired to an automatic transmission that is painfully slow and clunky. Fuel economy might be good, but it’s not as eye popping as one may expect, given the car’s tiny size. Fuel isn’t an issue for the soon-to-come ForTwo Electric Drive, which will be released next year. The 41-hp electric motor is paired to a 17.6kWh electric battery that can fully recharge of a 240-volt home dock in about seven hours. It has less range than a Nissan Leaf or Honda Fit EV — 69 miles — but it will offer something that no other EV does: the option to lose the roof. Yep, Smart will sell a ForTwo Pure Electric Cabriolet. ForTwo sales have been on the rise, but it’s barely squeaking out better numbers than small cars like the Scion iQ. Maybe the car’s new look will widen the margin.

COMPETITORS

Chevrolet Spark

Fiat 500

Mini Cooper

Scion iQ

new for 2013

The new Sharpred Special Edition features a red safety cell and door mirrors; black body panels, side skirts, and front and rear aprons; fifteen-inch black wheels; and nappa leather. The new Iceshine Special Edition features crystal white body panels and white wheels and black leather seats with white fabric inserts. The $3500 Brabus Sport Package tacks a bunch of Brabus bits onto the ForTwo, as well as heated seats.

SAFETY EQUIPMENT

Front, knee, and side air bags; ABS; and stability control are standard. The Pure and the Passion models get standard side curtain air bags. The rear of the ForTwo has two crash boxes, and the bumpers are made of steel.

High Mileage

MPG

CITY 34

HWY 38

PRO

Offbeat, interesting styling

No more parallel parking

Good fuel economy

CON

Clunky drivetrain

Only two seats

Base Price Range: $13,240–$18,640

SPECIFICATIONS

DRIVE: Rear-wheel

TRIM LEVELS: Pure, Passion, Passion Cabriolet

BODY STYLES: Coupe, convertible, 2-passenger

ENGINE: 1.0L I-3, 70 hp, 68 lb-ft

TRANSMISSION: 5-speed automatic

PASSENGER VOLUME: 45.4 cu ft

CARGO SPACE: 12.0 cu ft

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