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The smart fortwo is two-door front wheel drive micro car. The vehicle was first introduced to the automobile industry at the 1997 Frankfurt Motor Show as a concept car. The idea for the vehicle started in the 1990’s when Nicolas Hayek, the inventor of the Swatch watch came to Mercedes-Benz with his idea for a ‘ultra-urban’ car. The smart fortwo was the result. The vehicle went into production in 1998 in Hambach, France. Sales for this unique looking car have now reached 1 million units throughout 36 countries. With the popularity strong, smart added in the smart fortwo passion coupe and the smart fortwo passion cabriolet. The smart cars went on sale in the US in January 2008.

There were plans for a smart forfour car and roadster. These plans have now been canceled worldwide. A fully electric rechargeable model is the works and will be released in the UK by a separate company as a lease vehicle on a trial basis in 2010.

Under the hood of this micro smart fortwo car is a 1.0 L three cylinder engine that produces 71 horsepower. This engine is matched to a five-speed automated manual transmission for the base model. The top speed for this engine is 90 miles per hour.

One of the biggest advantages of the smart car is its fuel efficiency. The 2008 EPA fuel economy rating for the smart fortwo is 33 mpg in the city and 41 mpg on the highway.

The interior of the smart cars is surprisingly spacious. Attractive and ‘smart’ looking the vehicle has attracted the younger set with its unique dynamic personality, reduced environment footprint and fuel economy.

smart fortwo Features and Options

The smart fortwo comes nicely featured. Standard on the basic model are many convenience features like a central remote locking system, 2-spoke leather steering wheel, lockable glove compartment, outside temperature indicator, indicators with lane change function, speed-dependent interval wiping and wiper-wash function, electric rear window defroster, electrical tailgate release, and even a locking gas cap. The cabriolet offers a few more standard extras like air conditioning, power windows one-touch lowering function, electronic and heated side mirrors, and there is a central locking system with remote control.

Several stand alone options are available like air conditioning with automatic temperature control. The air conditioning also comes with dust and pollen filter. Also available are heated seats, power steering, alarm system and smart radio.

smart fortwo Safety

The challenge for any micro car is safety. For Mercedes-Benz’s engineers, the tridion safety cell was the answer to the problem. This safety shell is actually a hard shell like a nut that totally encompasses all occupants of the smart fortwo vehicle. After this initial design step, electronic stability control and ABS brakes were added to make the vehicle even safer.

Safety features that are included as standard equipment are full-size driver and passenger airbags, head/neck side airbags, electronic stability program with hill start assist, anti-lock brakes with electronic brake force distribution, hydraulic dual-circuit brake system, integral safety seat, panic button on key, drive lock - which is a auto-activation of the central locking when driving. There is even a tire repair kit included.