Space efficiency: Ultra compact on the outside, spacious inside

Jun 30, 2015
A major advantage of the hallmark smart rear engine concept is maximum space packed into minimal dimensions, as documented by the excellent body space index. Additional highlights include the rear doors that open by almost 90° on the smart forfour and the folding front passenger seat backrest which comes as standard for all variants.
Short overhangs, minimal length, high steering angle: the smart models have everything it takes to manoeuvre elegantly into any parking space – and around every corner, too. When it comes to the turning circle, the smart fortwo sets a new benchmark: at 6.95 m (from kerb to kerb) and 7.30 m (from wall to wall) it makes turning manoeuvres extremely simple. And the smart forfour turns almost as compactly as the previous fortwo (wall to wall: 8.75 m). Its statistics are 8.65 m (kerb to kerb) and 8.95 m (wall to wall).
And because the strengths of the short length are really only shown off when optimum use is made of the space available, both models boast excellent space efficiency. The smart engineers have developed the body space index (BSI) to describe how efficiently space is used. It describes the ratio of interior to exterior length, whereby the interior length is measured from the accelerator pedal in unused position along a horizontal line to the rear end, as a simple means of comparison between different vehicles. Both the models from smart attain top ratings for this criterion: 75% (smart fortwo) and 77% (smart forfour).
The key dimensions of the two smart models:
smart fortwo
smart forfour
Length (m)
2.69
3.49
Width (m)
1.66
1.66
Height (m)
1.55
1.55
Wheelbase (mm)
1873
2494
Turning circle (kerb-to-kerb) (m)
6.95
8.65
Turning circle (wall-to-wall) (m)
7.30
8.95
Interior length (accelerator pedal to rear end) (mm)
2011.6
2707.3
Body space index (ratio of length to interior length) (%)
75
77
Luggage compartment capacity (behind front seats) (l)
260
730
Luggage compartment capacity (behind front seats to roof) (l)
350
975
Luggage compartment capacity (behind rear seats) (l)
-
185
Luggage compartment capacity (behind rear seats to roof) (l)
-
255
 
Even the first smart had an astonishing amount of space for passengers who certainly didn't feel cramped like in a normal small car. And the cargo carrying capacity was also impressive for the extremely compact dimensions. As both the new-generation smarts come with a passenger seat backrest that folds forward fully as standard, it is also possible to transport long items.
The smart forfour naturally offers the greater loading capacity. The rear seat backrests can be folded down to produce a level load surface of at least 1285 x 996 mm with a cargo volume of up to 975 litres – the benchmark in its segment. The loading length with the front passenger seat backrest folded forward is also exceptional, at 2.22 metres.
And on top of all this, reversible cushions are optionally available for the rear seats in the forfour. The "readyspace" seats in the rear can be converted in next to no time to produce 12 cm more loading height, which is very simple to make use of thanks to the rear doors which open to an angle of almost 90°. Furthermore, the "readyspace" seats include a removable cargo box between the two rear passengers.
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