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The famously tiny runabout with a phobia of capital letters has an interesting backstory: It was originally going to be a hybrid city car known as the Swatchmobile. The ideas that became the smart coupe originated with the Swatch company. After partnering with Mercedes-Benz to produce it, Mercedes slowly transformed (and bought out) the Swatch part of the partnership to produce the smart fortwo we're familiar with. A bit player in the U.S., the car resonated in Europe, where the compactness of the first-generation coupes was more important than its rather disappointing fuel economy. In the U.S., it was a curio, perhaps more a way to decrease Mercedes' environmental footprint than a serious sales contender. The current-generation coupe shares bones with a Renault, so it's about as French a car as you can get in this country. As of last year, the gas-powered models have been discontinued, but BEV versions of the coupe and convertible are still available.

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