• Smart is updating the ForTwo's front and rear bumpers.
  • Other changes include a rear diffuser and new grille.
  • Smart hasn't announced changes to the interior or powerplant.

Smart is making several changes to its diminutive ForTwo city car for the 2013 model year. The automaker recently previewed the updates ahead of next month's Geneva Auto Show, where the revised ForTwo will make its global debut.

The most noticeable changes come to the 2013 ForTwo's front and rear bumpers. The new front bumper sits lower and includes a larger and wider air intake that gives the rear-engined hatchback a more aggressive stance, while a new rear bumper provides the ForTwo with a slightly updated look thanks to several new lines.

Other changes to the ForTwo include a newly available alloy wheel design and a rear diffuser that houses a new center-mounted exhaust added below its updated rear bumper. Smart also updated the ForTwo's grille to include the automaker's emblem, which had been previously affixed directly to the hatchback's hood.

Despite the litany of exterior changes, Smart hasn't announced any updates to the ForTwo's two-seat interior or its compact powerplant for the new model year. That means US models will likely soldier on with their standard 70-horsepower, 1.3-liter three-cylinder engine and 5-speed automatic transmission.

The tiny city car also recently became available with a 40-horsepower fully-electric motor for consumers looking to lessen their carbon footprint. Featuring a range of more than 80 miles, electrically-powered Smart ForTwo models are only available for lease to customers in Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and portions of California, Indiana and Oregon.

Although the Smart brand achieved rapid success upon its US launch in 2008, sales quickly died down due to the economic recession, stagnant gas prices and decreased demand after initial units were purchased by consumers who had seen the unconventional vehicles in use throughout Europe. Last year, the automaker sold just over 5,200 units in the United States, representing a decline of around 12 percent compared to 2010 and nearly 80 percent from its 2008 peak of more than 24,000 sales.

What it means to you: The new changes don't go far enough to turn around Smart's sliding sales, but we welcome the more aggressive stance nonetheless.

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Jeffrey Archer is fortunate to have turned a passion for cars into a career. His wide-ranging automotive experience includes work for automakers and dealers in addition to covering the news. When not writing, he spends his time searching for unique cars on AutoTrader.com.

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