Smart ForFour

At last, DaimlerChrysler’s Smart brand has the means to transport more than a dynamic duo. There’s no doubt the cheeky two-seat City has gained momentum in recent years, and the new Roadster-Coupe has the makings of a hit, but the ForFour promises to take the niche marque into the European mainstream. Despite its more conventional hatchback-sedan body style, the ForFour embodies everything that has made the City coupe a cult status symbol: Spartan-yet-cool cabin treatments, bare-metal structure with plastic body panels, and zingy-yet-frugal powertrain options (three- and four-cylinder engines, ranging from 74 to 107 horsepower, matched to either a traditional five-speed manual gearbox or a six-speed “Softouch Plus” manu-matic). The interior offers myriad configurations for passengers and cargo, and the pricing&#151starting at 12,990 euros&#151should make it a real player in a segment dominated by such heavy hitters as the Nissan Micra, the Mini Cooper, and the Volkswagen Lupo.

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