It's hard to believe that the Smart ForTwo celebrates its eighth birthday this year. The diminutive model still looks every bit as futuristic as it did when the wraps first came off in 1998. Offering a fresh take on the city car class, it's proved to be more than simply a fad, despite the slower-than-expected sales.
It's no secret that the Mercedes-owned firm has experienced financial problems, but bosses at Smart now hope to leave those troubles behind.The next-generation ForTwo is currently being developed, and is described as the machine which will make or break the company. So could a futuristic hybrid variant lead to a brighter future? To find out, Auto Express got behind the wheel of this prototype version.
Fitted to an existing ForTwo forour test, the hybrid set-up sees a 27bhp electric motor work in tandem with an 800cc 40bhp rear-mounted diesel unit. And the big news is that the car can achieve an amazing 98mpg! As with Toyota's established Prius, the motor moves the vehicle from standstill, then the oil-burner kicks in as you build up speed and accelerate.
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