What would you like in the next generation fortwo?

The car is on its way, being developed on a shared Daimler/Renault chassis.  What features would you like to see on the new fortwo, and what do you NOT want to see?

For me:

1. Keep it small, light and uniquely styled.

2. A speedometer that is marked in both mph and kph.

3. Adjustable steering wheel.

4. Add a rear fog light (as on the current EU models)

5. Improved heater and A/C.

6. Keep the removable body panels.

7. Replace the Makralon material in the panoramic roof.

8. Six speed transmission.

9. At least 50 mpg on the highway.

10. Improve the ride over bumps and ruts.

Don't:

1. Make it larger, plusher and more expensive.

2. Add a bunch of expensive creature comfort gizmos.

3. Change any of the electronic safety features.

4. Remove any of the Mercedes-Benz quirks.

5. Eliminate the dash mounted pods - those are smart icons.

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Great discussion topic, jwright. We'll definitely keep an eye on the user comments.

I'll second jwight's list and emphasize or add my own items (not necessarily in order of importance):

1. A 50 MPG + highway rating with the latest GDI engine tech and 6-speed auto, dual clutch, and/or fully manual transmission and/or a 65 MPG + highway diesel with 6-speed transmission. If it still requires premium fuel, it should more than return the difference in mileage compared with the crop of larger 40+ MPG cars now available.

2. Body panels that are more easily changed with no small and fragile bits and pieces. Ideally, twist lock type fasteners that are easily accessible and no weirdness about having to remove a side view mirror to change a door panel. This is the most unique facet of the car and it should be accentuated.

3. Improved suspension setup for rougher roads.

4. Same size wheels/tires front and rear to enable tire rotation. We want to be earth friendly and not wear those tires out too soon!

5. The panoramic roof material should be crystal clear for 7-10 years (minimum) without crazing or other breakdown (just like headlight lenses, windshields, etc.).

6. The ability to easily disable the traction control system/ESP if needed (stuck in snow).

7. A hair more width for us broad shouldered folks would be appreciated.

8. Lose the "auto" climate control stuff that doesn't really work and just give us standard controls. And, the A/C should be more robust and affect driveability less.

9. Keyless entry with push button start system (it's almost there anyway with the computer controlled startup).

10. Doors/hatch should be able to close without slamming (often repeatedly).

11. Purge valve that doesn't make so much noise and/or better insulated engine compartment.

12. If a similar single or dual clutch transmission is used, eliminate the "creep" function that tries to simulate an automatic - just engage the clutch when I hit the gas. Or, if it must be there, kill it when I'm in manual mode (which I always am) and only do it when in auto mode.

I agree with most of what jwright said.  I'd like to add:

-a diesel engine option (surprise!) 

-KEEP a 3-cylinder engine option...I like it!  

-Better MPG would be great, but that's what the diesel option could be.

-I'm used to the single-clutch transmission and it didn't keep me from buying a Smart, obviously...but the new generation should offer a dual-clutch transmission or something smoother shifting than what we have now to appeal to a broader market of buyers that don't want to adapt to the current transmission. 

-Stronger emphasis on Mercedes-Benz/Smart connection...maybe even add small badges that say "by Mercedes-Benz" or something on our cars near the Smart name...or. just add Mercedes-Benz name on the window stickers at the dealerships a la BMW-MINI.  

-I LIKE the creep function with the current transmission. I'd hate to have it taken away. 

-Last, but most important to me, it HAS to be rear-engined, RWD!  This is something that is really cool and sets the Smart apart from everything else, I totally dig it! 

XCAPEPOD - though I, too, would like to be able to remove and exchange panels quicker, without having to disassemble things like the side-view mirror, I would point out that the VW Thing had doors that were easily exchangeable, and they were forever getting stolen.   "Easy to remove" generally either means "Easy to remove by anyone", or "much more expensive, elaborate system to prevent theft"  The panels are easy enough.

I would not want to see anything from smart that would drive the price up beyond what I can have done third-party.  So if it drives base-cost up to offer other options, keep them.

I would love to have a tilt steering wheel. Like the older Nissan Sentra's had (hinged at the floor board, only moved two or three vertical inches, wheel kept pretty much the same orientation)

Competitive fuel economy (that may be the thing that causes the car to decline, more than anything else, now that there are more other options with the same, or close, ratings. People, for some odd reason, couldn't care less about operational expense, so long as they have high mpg bragging rights)

Smoothing out the shifting would be a good sales point.

Other than that, I am happy with the car as-is.

Fair point on theft, but my thought was that the twist lock fasteners would be on the inside edges of the openings or interior so that you would need access to the inside. Of course, panels like the hood could be easily stolen now. I still think there are some evolutionary changes that would improve the owner's ability to change panels while balancing the possibility of theft. :-)

Gary Bryers said:

XCAPEPOD - though I, too, would like to be able to remove and exchange panels quicker, without having to disassemble things like the side-view mirror, I would point out that the VW Thing had doors that were easily exchangeable, and they were forever getting stolen.   "Easy to remove" generally either means "Easy to remove by anyone", or "much more expensive, elaborate system to prevent theft"  The panels are easy enough.

1. Better auto transmission and/or a true manual option (6-speed would be nice)

2. Better suspension. I know the wheel base is small but there has to be a way to do it.

3. Better mileage (like the rest of the world's smarts get)

That's about it. I love this car!

Anybody else?

I'D LIKE TO SEE...

a better ride...I understand some of the other manufacturer's of small cars have accomplished it

maybe a better transmission, but it doesn't really bother me if they can't/don't

that's all

 

One other comes to mind - grab handles.  Why is the smart one of the few European cars without them?

My wife is always grabing the grab handles in my truck when she thinks I don't see something.  I catch it in my periferal vision, and it bugs me.  Back seat driving without the words!  My smart is just fine without them.

Sales restricted to smart people only, who don't spend their life sniveling about not buying a Toyota...

Alan. Loretta does that too. It can cause a person to over react.  'You think she sees something coming that you don't see'.  One time I did that when she was driving. Then she said, 'Now I know how you feel'.  She still does it though.  It doesn't matter what vehicle we are in either.

As for improvements:

A better insulator for the engine area that won't crack and is stiffer (won't flop), and a sturdier handle (no more 'rubber band').

MJB

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