Smart fortwo

While the smart fortwo is still powered by a tiny 1.0L 3-cylinder engine, power has risen by a noticeable 19hp over the previous generation thanks to the addition of a turbocharger. The powerplant's 89 horsepower may not sound like much, but it's enough to make the little 1980-lb smart fortwo zip through traffic. The increased power also gives drivers a lot more confidence when accelerating onto the freeway than in years past. The engine sits over the rear wheels and underneath the trunk, where it sends power to those rear wheels via either a 5-speed manual transmission or a 6-speed dual clutch gearbox.

The smart fortwo comes in four different trims, Pure, Passion, Prime and Proxy, each one offering a few more features and amenities than the previous one.

The base smart fortwo Pure comes standard with 15-inch rims, a color, digital instrument display, LED daytime running lights, Bluetooth connectivity, automatic climate control, cruise control and power windows.

The Passion trim adds a bit more style with a range of interior color options and a leather wrapped steering wheel. The driver's seat is height adjustable, while the mirrors are powered and heated for cold mornings. While the Passion also rides on 15-inch wheels, it gets a fun and stylish rim design unique to the trim level.

The Prime trim gets a little taste of luxury, with a panoramic sunroof that takes up nearly the entire roof and black leather upholstery. The Prime also comes with heated seats, nicer interior lighting, fog lamps and a rain and light sensor.

The top of the line Proxy trim comes with a JBL stereo, alloy pedals, chrome exhaust tips and a lowered suspension riding on 16-inch alloy wheels. A unique blue and white interior looks sharp and fun.

Options on the fortwo include a cellphone cradle, a proximity warning function, rear parking assist and an armrest.

With such a small footprint, safety was a concern for the fortwo and its designers have responded with several innovative safety features. The smart features a patented Tridion Safety Cell made from high-strength steel, while spot welded reinforcements in the doors help buffer against side impacts. 8 airbags are included as standard as is traction control and stability control. A crosswind assist feature is also standard, which helps to stabilize the little fortwo in windy situations.

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Editors' First Take

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The Smart car is weird; it always has been an odd little micro-machine, but the 2016 Smart ForTwo is somehow even weirder for a variety of reasons. However, for fans of the original, the new ForTwo is also undoubtedly better than its predecessor in almost every measurable way.

Performance improvements

The most obvious improvements to the Smart ForTwo happen in the engine bay, which is still hidden beneath the floor of the rear storage area. The rear-engine, rear-drive ForTwo is powered by a 0.9-liter, three-cylinder turbocharged engine that makes 89 horsepower and 100 pound-feet of torque. The engine is reasonably quiet (mostly due to gratuitous amounts of insulation on the trunk's floor) and fairly zippy at city speeds.

Zippy, in this case, is a zero-to-60 mph time of 10.1 seconds. That's not a neck-snapping pace, but the new model does this sprint 3 seconds faster than its predecessor.

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