By IOL Motoring Staff
Johannesburg - Smart's all-new Fortwo and Forfour have landed in South Africa, each with a 52kW, 999cc three-cylinder engine and five-speed manual gearbox, at least for now.
It's a naturally aspirated, all-aluminium, twin-cam unit with variable intake cam timing, rated for 91Nm at a low 2850rpm, which should give it lots of mid-range for relaxed, fuel-efficient driving, especially in urban traffic.
There's also a 66kW ForFour powered by a turbocharged version of the same engine, with dual-clutch transmission and idle-stop function, coming in July 2016.
The Forfour now also has its engine at the rear, meaning that the two manual models share most of their hardware, as well as a lot of their cosmetics.
Also read: Mercedes finesses next-gen Smarts
They're also amazingly nimble; the 2690mm long Fortwo will turn round between two walls 7.3 metres apart (there are scooters that need more space to make a U-turn!) while the Forfour, a whole 3490mm from end to end, needs less than nine metres to reverse direction, thanks to their electrically assisted Direct-Steer system, standard in both formats.
Safety kit includes crosswind assist, while forward collision warning and lane-keeping assist are options.
Above and beyond the base trim, three equipment lines - Passion, Prime and Proxy - plus a host of options, mean every Smart is likely to be unique.
Even the base spec (on both variants) includes LED daytime driving lights, remote central locking, cruise control, and an electronic stability program, while the Forfour also has electric front windows and active seatbelt tensioners for rear-seat passengers.
The Fortwo retains the split-level tailgate of its predecessor, while the Forfour has a conventional top-hinged tailgate to make the best use of its 185 litre boot, expandable to 975 litres with the rear seats folded. The two-seater has an eight-speaker, 240W sound system, while the Forfour boasts 12 speakers and 320 watts.
Mix ‘n match
There's also a new app - Smart Cross connect - available free for iOS and Android phones and specially developed for use in this car, as well as outside. A universal cradle for all smartphone models will be available from Smart dealers by the end of 2016.
The new Smarts are instantly recognisable thanks to their signature tridion body cell and contrasting plastic side panels - which render them immune to most car-park dings. Mixing and matching the colour options for frame and panels will actually give you about 40 possible colour combinations.
Smart has tried for a 'smart casual' look in the cabin, with free-standing instrument and infotainment pod, integral seats and lots of fabric trim, patterned to feel like the mesh inserts in modern sports shoes.
The (standard) aircon set-up has a cool temperature control with a central scale that's set by means of a sliding magnifying glass, and a multifunction steering wheel is available as an option.
(including a three-year or 60 000km service plan)
Base - R174 900
Passion - R194 400
Prime - R203 400
Proxy - R207 400
Base R179 900
Passion R199 400
Prime R210 900
Proxy R212 400
Forfour Turbo AT (from July 2016)
Base - R210 400
Passion R229 900
Prime R241 400
Proxy R242 900