2016 Smart ForTwo Launched, But Plug-in Fans Will Have To Wait Several Years For Refresh

After several weeks of clever marketing, tongue-in-cheek satire and countless spyshots, Daimler has officially unveiled the next-generation 2016 Smart ForTwo two-seat and re-imagined 2016 Smart ForFour four-seat city cars.

The 2016 Smart ForTwo might have just been unveiled, but you'll have to wait for an electric version.

The 2016 Smart ForTwo might have just been unveiled, but you’ll have to wait for an electric version.

Evolving everything that was good about the original Smart Car — now fifteen years old — and discarding everything that made it and subsequent generations less of a joy to drive, Smart says the new ForTwo and ForFour cars will be as nimble, able, and economical as the generations which came before.

But while buyers will be able to get their hands on gasoline versions of the all-new 2016 Smart ForTwo this autumn, those who prefer their drivetrains a little more electrified will have to wait a few more years, or be content with the same generation Smart ForTwo Electric Drive we’ve reviewed below.

That’s according to AutoExpress, which says that two out of the three Smart internal combustion engine choices — a 1.0-litre, 70 horsepower unit and a 900cc turbo-charged 89 horsepower engine — will be available for launch, followed shortly thereafter by a 59 horsepower petrol engine.

In the UK, because each engine choice promises more than 70 mpg and under 90 grams of CO2 per kilometre, it’s likely all three will placed in the “A band” vehicle exercise duty class — traditionally called ‘road tax’ — meaning owners, like plug-in drivers, won’t have to pay any road tax.  

The new Smart ForTwo does away with the old gearbox in favour of a six-speed dual-clutch or five-speed manual. No electric drive yet, though.

The new Smart ForTwo does away with the old gearbox in favour of a six-speed dual-clutch or five-speed manual. No electric drive yet, though.

With all three internal combustion engine choices available shortly after launch however, AutoExpress says Smart will continue to sell the existing Smart ForTwo Electric Drive alongside the next generation model. The transition of an all-electric drivetrain to the new model is something that could take several years, it hints, coming after the release of a soft-top Cabriolet model.

In other words, the Electric Drive variant isn’t a top priority for Daimler. Given the fact that Daimler relies heavily on Tesla for its other electric cars, that’s hardly a surprise — but consider that Daimler developed the new Smart ForTwo as part of a brand-new platform jointly developed with Renault for its new Twingo city car, and you might be left scratching your head.

Despite Renault’s pro-electric car stance and multiple electric car offerings however, it appears neither Renault or Daimler are convinced that an electric Smart ForTwo or Renault Twingo is a top priority for young urbanites looking for a funky, efficient car to navigate the urban jungle.

And that, we think, is just a little disappointing, especially when the current generation Smart ForTwo is the best Smart Car we’ve ever driven.


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  • Surya

    That is indeed disappointing. If Smart has already decided there will be an ED of the next gen Smart, why delay it? It seems like that can only hurt sales.

  • Esl1999 .

    Thank God it’s delayed. That thing looks hideous. I don’t mind the current one but holy mackerel is that thing ugly. They’re not helping us convert people to EVs with that thing.

    • Michael Thwaite

      Well I think it’s kind of groovy! It’s a less upright box than the current model. Then again I think the i3 looks quite good and not at all like a Pontiac Aztec… much… so I’m probably a poor judge.

    • offib

      I love the look it. Admit it, the current Smart needed a refresh! The dimensions (1 box and a half) gives it a cheeky look and a cheeky llittle snout (like the Twingo) but the diminutive hood makes it look more like a car, and that little hood looks even longer with the shorter ForTwo, making it appear to be a little sporty. The muscularity or sportiness of the ForTwo would mostly be caused by the lack of overhangs with the wheels and arches pushed to the very limits.nn The contrasting colours also help too, the “Black and Gold” trim looks devious and the black and orange does remind me of the i3 which also looks stunning in its sunrise orange. The blue and white, now that’s a nice combination, I never expected that to go so well.nnAlso, black rims. That never goes wrong and it really does make it (or any car) look substantial.nnThat short bonnet, “broad” stance and multiple contrasting colours really gives the new Aygo a run for its money and no one has yet publically called that ugly!nnThe Smart already had a bad rap of looking “ugly” though I don’t I agree with that. According to many commenters (excluding a few current Smart owners), it’s a big improvement. I definately disagree that this new would would prove to be disservice to EVs.

  • offib

    I think it’s slightly disappointing too. The ED makes up 40% of Smart sales in the US! The new Smart is cheaper and if that is placed beside the current ED, that will significantly hurt ED sales in both Europe and the US.nnnIt’s nonsense! The press release from Daimler said that both it and Renault worked together every step of the way. What nonsese it would be to just skip over the ED version! We shouldn’t be waiting for an ED version a few years down the road.

  • The current Smart ED is selling well, and Daimler intends to get a 3 year (2013-2015) production run out of the existing battery supplier (which they bought out to bring in-house) and motor/electronics while they work with additional suppliers for the next generation electric drive. Makes total sense to keep the electric drive on the existing and proven platform while transitioning their higher volume gas powered models to the new platform to test the waters.