Smart Fortwo Cabriolet

Smart Fortwo Cabriolet

Fortwo is 8.8 feet long and has 89 horsepower. But what doesn’t shine through on the spec sheet is how the latest Fortwo now feels almost like a real car. A full four inches of added width dissolves much of the previous model’s scrawny tall-and-narrow look while helping keep the car more planted to the road. No one can pretend the Fortwo cabrio suddenly looks butch, but the extra width and rectilinear headlights and taillights imbue it with a French bulldog’s confidence.Spanish roads in and around Valencia where we drove the Fortwo, scooters buzzed around the streets, the streets resembled sidewalks, and the sidewalks were filled with attractive people. One of them, a young woman, even smiled at us. Or maybe she just liked our Fortwo’s red-and-white, candy-cane-themed paint scheme.

 Anyway, we couldn’t detect any negative effects from the cabrio’s extra 88 pounds of underbody bracing and windshield pillar reinforcement, but there was precisely zero chassis flex, even on cobblestone roads and a curb we drove over for a photo. Speaking of curbs, we took advantage of the Fortwo’s 22.8-foot turning circle to perform several U-turns on streets narrower than the typical American two-lane.The 89-hp turbo three-cylinder engine trades linear response for punch—peak power is delivered in one great lump at higher rpm. Far smoother is the new six-speed dual-clutch automatic, which represents a huge improvement over the old Fortwo’s detestable single-clutch automated-manual transmission. The coupe’s five-speed manual isn’t available in this variant, but that seems appropriate given the cabrio’s mission. Languid initial response accelerating from rest and the occasional odd gear selection in Standard and Eco driving modes are the only flaws we detected in the dual-clutch ’box. Manually shifting gears using the console lever—or, on certain models, the steering-wheel-mounted paddles—adds some spice. While the shifts are satisfyingly quick, the computer automatically upshifts close to redline. Sporty the Fortwo is not, but it is agile and zippy.

Hyundai Elantra 2017

 The brand’s sales mix is 76 percent cars in a market that is running at 57 percent trucks, including ever-more-popular crossovers. “We need more trucks,” says Hyundai Motor America president and CEO Dave Zuchowski, alluding to the two medium and large crossovers coming for the new Genesis luxury sub-brand as well as the two sub-Tucson small crossovers coming for Hyundai.
Hyundai has reconfigured the rear twist-beam suspension with a longer and more vertical shock absorber for better impact damping, and conducted an extensive noise-reduction program. New sound-deadening material in the wheel wells, better subframe isolation, and smaller firewall holes combine with a thicker windshield and side glass to cut cabin noise. Greater use of high-strength steel, says the company, allowed it to hold the line on curb weights, with the lightest SE manual at just over 2750 pounds and the heaviest Limited arriving at just under 3000 pounds. That’s in line with Elantras we have tested in the past.


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