Posted Nov 22nd 2014 11:57AM
A Smarter City Car For Crowded Urbanites
In the sixteen years since Daimler first introduced the Smart car, the micro city car market has grown significantly to the extent that the urban-oriented brand doesn't just have more competition to contend with these days than it did in the late 90s; for the first time it has real competition on its hands altogether. In other words, while the Smart Fortwo once had the micro city car market almost entirely to itself, new rivals have emerged to challenge its dominance.
It may be a long time, if ever, before slightly larger contenders like the Scion iQ and Volkswagen Up! catch up to the 1.6-million units Smart has moved since it first hit the market back in 1998, somehow never managing to turn a profit along the way. But the bottom line is that Smart's position in the market is far from assured, especially relying, as it has, on the same architecture for over a decade and a half.
So after strongly hinting at the way forward with a series of show cars, Daimler revealed the all-new Smart Fortwo and its bigger brother, the Forfour, in July ahead of its debut at last month's Paris Motor Show. With both the brand's future and its supremacy in the urban mobility market hanging in the balance, we boarded a flight to Barcelona to see what Daimler had up its short sleeve. What we found was a two-seat city car that's not just a substantial improvement over the model it replaces, but an altogether different beast– one which doesn't aspire to be everything to everyone, but just might be what drivers in the world's densest urban cores will need... and little more.