Since the demise of the ForFour, the Smart lineup has effectively consisted of only one vehicle — the diminutive ForTwo. Parent company Daimler is set to change that, having explored a few aesthetic options for the next generation of Smart, the Fourjoy unveiled in Frankfurt was the first time we had a chance to clap eyes onto the proportions of a four-passenger contender.
The FourJoy concept follows on from Smart’s most recent show cars: the movie-projecting Smart ForStars unveiled at last year’s Paris motor show, the ForUS concept revealed at the 2012 Detroit auto show and 2011 ForVision concept created in collaboration with chemical maker BASF.
Based on a new rear engine/rear-wheel drive architecture jointly developed with strategic partner Renault-Nissan, the FourJoy’s compact dimensions (3494mm long, 1978mm wide and 1494mm high) fit the Smart ethos nicely, with minimal overhangs and a strong stance. The package has also been optimized to maximize interior space.
Though the FourJoy concept doesn’t preview much in terms of surface treatment (its bodyside is non-existent as Smart didn’t want to show its cards too early in the game) its minimalist plastic body panels and polished aluminum Tridon safety cell pay homage to the original car, as does its playful design aesthetic.
The most obvious and recurring design element are the hexagonal patterns, which adorn its minimalist exterior and product design-referencing interior. These not only appear as apertures in the grille, but are repeated in the headlamps, taillamps and also carry over to the interior.
The instrument panel and center console are covered in the pattern, which is again repeated on the hollowed out rear seatback. The element clearly marks out a new characteristic design identity that will be adopted by the next Smart production car.
The interior is the true showpiece here, and by presenting a ‘buggy’-like concept in the same ilk as the Fiat Jolly, the company lets the sculptural design speak for itself. Its lounge-like, minimalist seating is finished in contrasting colors outlined in blue, while the spherical instrument cluster speak to the design of DNA Daimler AG’s compact brand.
As one of the few true ‘concepts’ on show in Frankfurt, the designers also envisioned a story about the FourJoy’s potential customer to accompany the vehicle. Watch our exclusive video with exterior design manager Michael Gehhardt and interior design manager Peter Balko to find out more.