100% electric urban SUV/crossover
66 kWh battery
From 400 to 440 km of autonomy
Ordering is possible from October 18
It’s been almost 8 years since Smart released a truly new model. An eternity in the car world. So the year 2022 is a kind of rebirth. Because the brand therefore releases a new model, and also attacks, with #1 (pronounced “hashtag one”), an unknown part for it.
In fact, with a length of 4.27 m and a height of 1.64 m, this #1 is already, and by far the largest of the cars sold by Smart. But it’s also clearly a crossover. An urban SUV, competitor, for example, DS 3 E-Tense, Peugeot e-2008, Opel Mokka-e, or even electric Hyundai Kona.
But the brand is positioning it as a premium alternative. So? Well done yet? Better equipment? More powerful and efficient than its competitors? This is what we set out to prove during this test, in Portugal, in the beautiful region of Lisbon and Cascais.
A style off the beaten track
But let’s start with the style. Caradisiac regulars already know it, we’ve already discovered it in static April 2022. And it’s an understatement to say it’s unlike any other, even if it has elements of style seen elsewhere , in the form of a tribute of course.
Thus, the most striking element when knowing this #1 is its floating roof, the color of which can be different from that of the body, which seems to be completely different from the others. A hood that, at the rear, evokes the late Opel Adam. And the front lights, like the rear lights, which are connected to a light strip, are typical Mercedes, including the shape of those at the back, which is very Mercedes EQA.
Not so surprising, if you know that the exterior design, like the interior, is signed by the European-style offices of the star-studded brand. On the other hand, in terms of technique (platform, motor, battery and running gear), this new Chinese. In fact, it was co-developed 50/50 by Mercedes, and the Chinese manufacturer Geely, which has been associated since 2020 in a joint agreement separate from that which deals with the “old” ones. Smart models, the Fortwo and Forfour.
Let’s close the parenthesis to return to this particular style. Going against the trend, it is very smooth, without any harshness. A real stone polished by the sea. Note, despite everything, a good-sized grille, useless in practice and only there for aesthetics, because there is no combustion engine to fit under the front hood. It is framed by dummy air inlets.
The profile reveals the flush door handles, which unfold only when approaching the key (or the smartphone paired with the car) and remind you that Smart is the brand of your car (see portfolio) . Its large logo is placed on the rear pillars of the floating roof. The wheel arches are in raw plastic and under the doors, there are protections. Finally, the 19-inch rims on our test model in the Premium finish were very typical “aero”.
The rear part is equally smooth, but more bulbous, and the lower part of the bumper has a faux protective ski.
The set is inimitable. We either love it or we hate it, but clearly, it’s original, and it’s different from the rest of the production car. In traffic, we stand out, especially in the matte gray livery of our model.
A beautiful and very well finished interior
And if the exterior stands out, the interior is also far from classic. We see a dashboard treated in a horizontal way, with colored inserts (or imitation aluminum). In front of the driver, a small 9-inch digital screen that shows all driving information, but also materializes the surrounding vehicles, making the difference, like Tesla, between cars, trucks , or motorcycle. Above the central console, floating and reserving a beautiful storage space below, and three closed spaces above, sits a beautiful 12.8-inch touch screen. It embeds a new multimedia system, more responsive, but there are bugs in our test models (pre-series).
To brighten the customer experience, this system has an avatar in the form of a fox, which responds to the “Hello Smart” voice command, and can control many functions, which you tell it in “natural language”. It’s fun, of course, but we have, in general, preferred physical air conditioning control. Basically, like Teslas, this #1 is a bit of a geek car.
In any case, the quality of the assemblies is exceptional, and that of the materials is impressive. We may not be at the level of a Mercedes or a BMW, but the plastics are mostly foam, including on the door trims (front and back), an insert that is also soft and well arranged where the knee is usually . resting, on each side of the console.
In fact, this innovation claimed to be premium has a cabin with most characteristics, including equipment (see the dedicated page). It is in any case better made than the more general competitors, Peugeot 2008, Hyundai Kona, Kia Niro, etc.
Pampered passengers, less luggage
Rear passengers for their part have adequate space, whether at knee, head or shoulder level. They can also take advantage of a reclining seat in the back. The latter is a slide of 13 cm, which allows changing the volume of the trunk, and the privilege of luggage, or of passengers. When it is fully retracted, the holding volume is 323 liters for the entry-level Pro+ finish, 313 liters for the others (presence of the Beats audio system subwoofer). We must add, not to forget anything, the 15 liters of small space located under the front hood. Might be a bit fair, template related.
The forward seat volume and the folded seat volume are not announced. But we should be about 400 liters. That’s what a 2008 or a Renault Captur offers. But part of this volume is under the floor. And a C3 Aircross offers up to 520 liters in the front bench.
In any case, the practical aspects are not forgotten, with lots and lots of storage spaces (good-sized glove box, several door bins, storage in the center console, USB C sockets for to charge devices, etc.).
Strong motors, many kWh batteries
Technically, the #1 has a 200 kW engine, or 272 hp (and 343 Nm of torque), which is an ultra comfortable power, compared to the existing models (136 hp for an e-2008 or a Mokka -e, 136 or 204 hp for the Koreans, 156 hp for the DS 3), a 66 kWh capacity battery, which offers variable autonomy depending on the finish. It is 420 km for the entry-level Pro +, but 440 km for the Premium finish and the Launch Edition launch finish, which benefits from a heat pump as standard.
Finally for the Brabus finish, it is only 400 km. The reason? This ending is so powerful! It has a second 115 kW motor on the front axle, making it 4×4, for a cumulative power of 315 kW, or 428 hp (and 543 Nm). Its performance is much higher, with 0 to 100 km/h achieved in 3.9 seconds, against 6.7 s. to 200 kW versions. The maximum speed is limited to 180 km/h for all. Can Volvo be imitated? In comparison, an electric 2008 reaches 0 to 100 in 9 s. and tops out at 150 km/h, because it’s not that small… The Kona electric 204 hp is 7.9 s. and 167 km/h, for more!
Finally, let’s talk about charging. The entry level has a 7.4 kW AC on-board charger (10 to 80% charge in 7.5 hours), and some have a powerful 22 kW charger (10 to 80% charge in 3 hours). In a DC fast terminal, everything can go up to 150 kw, which makes it possible to recover 80% of the battery (still starting from 10%) in less than 30 minutes.
The Premium version of 200 kW promises to be one of the best sellers, it is our choice to take, on the beautiful Portuguese roads of the Lisbon region, passing through Sintra and Cascais.