These are the first official pictures and details of the new Smart Forfour.
The four-seater has been co-developed with Renault, which is using the same space-efficient, rear-engined package for its new Renault Twingo city car.
What is it?
The Smart Forfour is just five centimetres shorter, two centimetres wider and very marginally higher than the VW Up, so it sits in the city car class.
However, its turning circle is notably shorter than the Up’s, at 8.65 metres to 9.8 metres. Boot space is also recorded at marginally more than the Up’s, at 255 litres to 251 litres, but a clever rear seat arrangement means this can be boosted further. The rear-seat bench can be lowered by up to 12cm to increase load space, increasing available capacity to 315 litres. With the rear seats folded down, the Smart has 975 litres of boot space.
Smart is also highlighting the practicality of the Forfour’s rear doors, which open to ‘almost 90 degrees’, and the fact the front passenger seat folds flat, creating a potential load ength along the car of 2.2 metres.
As with the new Smart Fortwo, the Forfour is built around what Mercedes, calls a ‘tridion cell’. This safety structure is made using a high proportion of hot-formed steels and multiphase steel, which are especially strong. A safety feature called Crosswind Assist is available as standard to boost stability, while forward collision warning and Lane Keeping Assist are available as options.
Smart has also worked hard to give the Fortwo and Forfour a ‘family look’: design features including the headlamps, the air grille in the front and the central safety cell are identical. In total, around 40 exterior colour combinations will be possible, with the options available on body panel colours and core tridion cell colours.
The Forfour is expected to account for around 80 per cent of all Smart sales in the UK.
What engines can I choose from?
Buyers get the choice of two different three-cylinder engines at launch. The lower-powered unit is a 1.0-litre engine that produces 71bhp and 67lb ft of pulling power.
The higher-powered, turbocharged 0.9-litre engine generates 89bhp and 100lb ft of pulling power.
An ultra-frugal 59bhp three-cylinder engine will follow later.
All versions come with the choice of a manual five-speed gearbox or ‘twinamic’ automatic with dual clutch transmission.
Smart has yet to release any of the economy or emissions figures for these engines.
What equipment does it come with?
The Smart Forfour will be sold in three trim levels: Passion, Prime and Proxy.
Standard kit includes LED daytime driving lights, remote central locking, immobiliser, cruise control, electric windows and a trip computer.
Although full equipment information for higher models has yet to be revealed, it has been confirmed that top-spec models will get kit including a 3.5-inch colour display, heated seats, smartphone integration, satellite-navigation and a six-channel sound system.
How much will it cost?
UK pricing has yet to be released for the Smart, which goes on sale at the end of the year. However, in Europe, a Forfour will be around £500 more expensive than the equivalent Fortwo and this is expected to be the case in the UK too. That means a starting price of around £10,000.
How good are its rivals?
The Smart Forfour is a quirky alternative to many highly regarded but more conventional rivals. Chief among these are the Hyundai i10, Seat Mii, Skoda Citigo and VW Up, all of which offer good practicality, refinement and running costs, plus a modicum of all-round ability in towns and on motorways.
Can I get a discount?
Much is riding on the reintroduction of the Smart Forfour to the market, and that pressure is likely to lead to small discounts being available around six months after launch.