Press Kit: Premiere of the new smart fortwo in the USA
Jan 07, 2007
The design of the smart fortwo: A deceptively spacious interior with advanced safety and comfort
Good things come in small packages and the smart fortwo is no exception. With its evolutionary design, it embodies the development of an icon – the first generation smart fortwo which was built between 1998 and 2006. Evolutionary development was the characteristic design language for smart, with the visual emphasis on functionality such as the tridion safety cell.
The developers of the smart fortwo succeeded – in a vehicle measuring a mere 106 inches in length – in creating a deceptively spacious interior offering high safety and comfort. The appearance of the smart fortwo conveys innovation, functionality and joie de vivre.
The exterior - sporty yet elegant
The two material concept which characterises the exterior with the combination of the tridion safety cell made of high-strength steel - and the use of coloured bodypanels made of premium-quality plastic, is an important distinguishing feature of the brand.
Clarity and modernity play a decisive role in the smart design. The smart fortwo is the only vehicle in its class to feature projection headlamps, which lend it a high-tech and mature face. The indicators are integrated in the headlights.
The smart fortwo has a beefy, athletic appearance. This impression is emphasized by the additional air intake, the contrasting black bottom section of the bumper and the projecting handle of the tailgate.
The horizontal door handle cleverly takes up the shoulder line just below the window edge, which runs into the front wing and the headlight. The rear window is slightly slanted, making the smart fortwo more sporty and elegant.
The rear view of the smart fortwo is adorned by four rear lights. The rear light, brake light and indicator are located at the top. The bottom lights are housed in a circular reflector. Here, the rear fog light is located on the left-hand side and the reversing light on the right. The rear window reaches across almost the whole width of the vehicle and is framed by two black panels.
Unique in the small car segment is the ultra-light yet high-strength polycarbonate panoramic roof. Another unique feature available worldwide is the soft top of the cabrio version, which is fully automatic and can be infinitely adjusted to any position.
The smart fortwo does not have to be stationary for the soft top to be opened or closed – this can be done at any speed. The rear part of the soft top can also be opened to the final position and closed again at the touch of a button - a prime example of the outstanding comfort of the small, open two-seat vehicle.
All that remains for the full cabrio experience is to remove the side roof bars. These can be taken out in no time and stowed in a special compartment in the tailgate. The soft top offers further added comfort and safety with the heated rear glass window.
The interior - more space than you would ever believe
One of the most outstanding aspects of the smart fortwo is its amazing feeling of spaciousness that is comparable with that of a standard-size sedan. Customers getting behind the wheel for the first time never fail to be surprised at how easy it is to get in and out of the car and just how spacious the smart fortwo is inside. Even tall people do not feel cramped. The passenger seat is positioned six inches further back than the driver’s seat to give the passengers optimum shoulder room.
The safety seats with integrated head rests are well contoured and offer pleasant lateral support. The upholstery has a high quality and a silk-matt sheen. Leather trim is available as an option. Longer objects can be easily transported, a lever on the inside of the passenger seat both reclines the backrest and enables it to be folded forward to a horizontal position. A pull ring under the seat enables the right adjustment (nine inches).
The instrument panel runs straight and is framed by two bows on the left and right-hand sides that represent a visual continuation of the structure of the tridion safety cell and support the upper and lower wings of the instrument panel. The lower wing also serves as a knee pad in the event of a crash. The suspended arrangement of the instrument panel conveys lightness and makes the interior of the new smart fortwo wholly unique. Added elements such as the external-mounted air vents and the rev counter and clock on the dashboard helped to give the original smart fortwo its unmistakable face.
The driver can see the centrally positioned speedometer through the two-spoke or sporty three-spoke steering wheel. The large display shows the fuel level, the gear engaged and the odometer. The daily mileage is shown below this and the driver can switch between the trip recorder and the exterior temperature indicator at the touch of a button.
The control unit for heating, air conditioning and ventilation has a central, ergonomic position at the top of the center console and is framed by two additional air vents. Slide controls regulate the fan levels and the temperature of the air conditioning. A control that can be rotated by 360 degrees distributes the air to where it is needed.
The large audio unit is located below the heating and air conditioning controls. Customers in Europe can choose between a standard CD radio or one with a CD changer for six CDs. Large buttons and a clear layout make operation child’s play.
The designers used the central space on the lower wing of the instrument panel for further ergonomically positioned control buttons, for example for the seat heating, front fog lamps and central locking. The ignition lock is not located at the top of the instrument panel, but rather and typical of smart behind the shift lever.
Given its compact size, it is amazing how much fits in the luggage compartment of the smart fortwo. 7.7 cubic feet of storage space is more than enough for everyday shopping. Customers who want to load their car to the roof even have 12 cubic feet of space at their disposal.
The level loading space is particularly user-friendly with no edges to get in the way of the level surface. The folding rear door is a further advantage and also can be used as a surface to put things on. In the bottom section of the tailgate, the developers integrated approximately two gallons of stowage space, accessible via a lid.
Furthermore, the twin-section tailgate requires very little space to open in tight parking spaces. Longer objects also fit in the new smart fortwo by simply folding the backrest of the passenger seat forward into a horizontal position.
The rear window of the smart fortwo coupé (like the cabrio’s flap) can be opened with an electric push button switch located in the handle recess above the license plate. This also allows remote unlocking using the key. The push button switch just needs to be pressed for approx. 1.5 seconds. Should the battery in the key be empty, the driver’s door can also be opened mechanically in an emergency.
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