Smart Cars Coming: Roadster (maybe), the ForTwo+2, and Electric Drive

January 31st, 2011

Smart Roadster 2

If you read this blog often, you know we like Smart cars, despite their problems and despite their critics. One car we especially like is the Smart Roadster, produced from 2003 to 2006 and never available in the U.S.

Now there is talk that it might be revived, possibly with the assistance of Renault, and if the company is smart, it will sell the Roadster, finally, in the U.S. With good performance and mileage, the car could expand Smart’s base, and the development work has already been done.

I’ve seen one of these babies in my neighborhood in Mexico, and it is stunning, like a Lotus Elise, and should cost a lot less.

Smart ForTwo+2There has also been recent talk about the ForTwo+2, a four-door Smart that has been spy-photographed—in a 1:4 scale model, that is. Maybe when born it will look something like this rendering (at right). Auto Express says the car will be rear-engined with, one hopes, a new transmission, to go on sale in early 2012.

Price in England will be around £12,000, or $19,215 U.S. If Smart wants to penetrate the American market, it would be un-smart not to bring this car to it.

Major Kimball and Roger PenskeSmart Chairman Roger Penske delivered the first ForTwo electric drive to a customer in Maryland. She is a U.S. Army Major and, along with 249 other customers around the country, will be leasing the car and providing feedback until full production comes in 2012.

We wrote about the electric drive and its New York City leasing program by Hertz in December. As we said, the car has about an 84-mile range and recharges in less than eight hours.

The cost of the lease is $599 a month, plus security deposit, tax, title, license and dealer fees. The MINI E, an electric two-passenger Cooper, leases for $850 a month. Not cheap in either case, but these are still experimental cars, and prices would have to drop for production versions to sell.

Would you like to be one of the first to lease and test a Smart electric drive—or a MINI E?

—jgoods

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Used Smart ForTwo

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