July 11, 2008

Smart forTwo to receive gas saving upgrade this fall

Already renowned for being stingy with gas, the nimble Smart forTwo will become more efficient with the introduction of auto-stop engine management beginning in October.

Despite being marketed by Smart as a "micro hybrid", the name is misleading.

The forTwo will not carry any batteries nor an electric motor as found in the Toyota Prius or Camry hybrid; there simply isn't room for either.

Instead, the auto-stop feature will save fuel by shutting down the forTwo's engine and shift to neutral as the car coasts to a stop. The engine will shut down when the car slows below five miles per hour and the brakes are applied. The engine will restart immediately when the brakes are released.

City fuel economy will rise by eight percent, to 36 miles per gallon in the US EPA drive cycle. Carbon dioxide emissions will be reduced to 103 grams per kilometer, according to preliminary tests by Smart.

The auto-stop upgrade will also come standard on the diesel-powered CDI Smart range when production restarts next year. However, the diesel models will not be coming to US shores.

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