Can we interest anyone in the idea of a rear-engine SUV? That’s what Daimler is reportedly considering for its Smart brand.
According to Autocar, a crossover could be the next addition to the Smart lineup. It would be based on the same architecture as the Smart Forfour and Renault Twingo, which are built on a rear-engine platforms that gives the steering rack up front more range of motion to provide the vehicle a tight turning radius.
Because the Smart and Twingo don’t share much with other products in either automaker’s stable, they’re said to be eagerly looking for ways to make the most of their investment, and spinning off a sport utility variant could be just the ticket.
The resulting crossover could end up a little longer than the Forfour and Twingo, with more rugged bumpers, but would likely pack the same three-cylinder engines and choice of five-speed manual or six-speed dual-clutch transmissions. Whether the platform could be modified to accommodate all-wheel drive as well remains a big question mark, but we’d point out that Audi managed to squeeze its Quattro system into the A1 even though the VW Polo platform on which it was based was never designed for it.
Renault could prove eager to get in on the project as well with a version of its own, giving both automakers a worthwhile challenger to the nimble little Fiat Panda 4×4. The bigger question is whether it would ever make its way to US showrooms.
Currently the smaller Fortwo is the only Smart being offered in North America, with the Forfour not earmarked for these shores – and Renault of course doesn’t market here altogether.