The concept of the Smart car emerged in the early 1990s when the Swiss company Swatch, best known for its kitschy watches, sought to build an affordable city car that would fit into the smallest of parking spots and go easy on fuel. Not too long after, the company paired up with Mercedes-Benz to make the idea a reality. The car was later christened "Smart," an acronym for Swatch Mercedes Art.
The Smart Fortwo, originally dubbed the City Coupe, debuted at the 1997 Frankfurt Auto Show. Although the first generation never made it to the U.S., the tiny two-seater, which persevered through its parent company's financial troubles and an eventual buyout by Daimler-Benz, was later replaced by the slightly larger second-generation Fortwo. Not only is the reworked Fortwo newly available in the States, but an ambitious plan to launch several stand-alone dealerships in the U.S. makes it clear that the Smart brand is serious about competing in the American subcompact market. While its diminutive size and power entail certain on-road limitations, the Fortwo is a worthy candidate for urban commuters who want to maneuver through city congestion and save on gas without giving up the creature comforts of a car.
Used Smart Fortwo Models
The current (second) generation Fortwo debuted for 2008 and was the first Smart model to go on sale in the U.S. There have been no major changes since, though the Brabus trim level wasn't available for its first year.
Designed primarily for urban cities in Europe, the first-generation Smart Fortwo was originally known as the City Coupe and not sold in North America. It debuted for the 1998 model year and it came with a turbocharged three-cylinder engine that was either gasoline-fueled (initially 599cc of displacement and later 698cc) or diesel-fueled (799cc). The first-generation Smart Fortwo was discontinued after the 2007 model year.
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