Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Big Leap Forward for Smart Car

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Big Leap Forward for Smart Car

Article excerpt

Byline: Peter Keenan

THE first smart car, launched in 1998, quickly gained a legion of fans - and the latest model looks set to be just as popular.

The original has become a familiar part of the roadscape in many cities worldwide, with more than 770,000 first-generation smart fortwos having rolled off the production line.

The latest fortwo coupe has a number of improvements, including a longer wheelbase and slightly larger body than before, which means it's more comfortable - while active and passive safety systems have also been improved.

The city car's engineers have been hard at work ensuring the latest generation's agility is improved, making it more fun to drive while also being environmentally friendly.

The fortwo's appearance has been tweaked giving it a strong road presence for such a small motor - but the one-box design, compact dimensions, two-colour and two-material concept, with the tridion safety cell and plastic body panels, are all retained so it can't be mistaken for anything other than a smart car.

The entry-level Pulse is one of three trims and comes with air conditioning, alloy wheels, Bluetooth connectivity and electric windows.

Step up to the Passion model and a panoramic glass roof and satellite navigation are added, while the Brabus offers a bodykit, sports suspension and heated leather seats.

The interior of the Pulse features black upholstery and matching fabric elements for the instrument panel, knee pads and door trim, while the instrument cluster, dash dials and stalks are finished in pearl black creating a luxury feel.

The fortwo's luggage capacity has increased from 150 to 220 litres - it's obviously not going to take much to fill, but there's space for more than you'd think as I managed to squeeze in the family's weekly supermarket shopping.

The twin-section tailgate requires little room to open, so is a boon in tight parking spaces.

The sporty character of the Pulse is emphasised by the rev counter and clock on the dashboard and a leather sports steering wheel.

Youngsters will love the slightly off-the-wall look, and indeed even one not so young as myself found the interior a breath of fresh air. …

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