100% electric urban SUV/crossover
66 kWh battery
From 400 to 440 km of autonomy
Order possible from October 18
It’s been almost 8 years since Smart hadn’t released a real new model. An eternity in the automotive world. The year 2022 is therefore that of a kind of rebirth. Because the brand is therefore releasing a brand new model, and is also attacking, with the #1 (pronounced “hashtag one”), an unknown segment for it.
Indeed, with 4.27 m long and 1.64 m high, this #1 is already, and by far the largest of the vehicles marketed by Smart. But it’s also clearly a crossover. An urban SUV, competitor, for example, of DS 3 E-Tense, Peugeot e-2008, Opel Mokka-eor Hyundai Kona Electric.
But the brand positions it as a premium alternative. So ? Better finished? Better equipped? More powerful and efficient than its competitors? This is what we set out to verify during this test, in Portugal, in the beautiful region of Lisbon and Cascais.
A style that goes off the beaten path
But let’s start with the style. Caradisiac regulars already know him, we had already made you discover it in static in April 2022. And it’s an understatement to say that it looks like no other, even if it takes up elements of style seen elsewhere, in the form of a tribute of course.
Thus, the most striking element when discovering this #1 is of course its floating roof, the color of which may contrast with that of the bodywork, which seems completely separate from the rest. A cap which, in its rear part, evokes the late Opel Adam. And the front lights, like the rear lights, connected by a light strip, are typical Mercedes, including even in the shape of those at the stern, which are very Mercedes EQA.
Not so surprising, when you learn that the exterior design, like the interior, is signed by the European style offices of the brand with the star. On the other hand, in terms of technique (platform, motors, battery and running gear), this novelty is Chinese. Indeed, it is co-developed 50/50 by Mercedes, and the Chinese manufacturer Geely, who have been associated since 2020 in a joint venture separate from that which deals with the “old” Smart models, the Fortwo and Forfour.
Let’s close the parenthesis to return to this very particular style. Going against the trend, it is very smooth, without any roughness. A real pebble polished by the ocean. Note, despite everything, a good-sized grille, useless in practice and only there for aesthetics, since no combustion engine will ever fit under the front hood. It is framed by dummy air inlets.
The profile reveals flush door handles, which only unfold when approaching the key (or the smartphone paired to the car) and remind you that Smart is the brand of your car (see portfolio) . Its large logo is embedded in the rear pillars of the floating roof. The wheel arches are in raw plastic and at the bottom of the doors, protections are present. Finally, the 19-inch rims of our test model in Premium finish are very typical “aero”.
The rear part is just as smooth, but more bulbous, and the lower part of the bumper features a faux protective ski.
The set is inimitable. We love it or we hate it, but clearly, it’s original, and it stands out from the rest of automotive production. In traffic, we stand out, especially with the matte gray livery of our model.
A nice and very well finished interior
And if the exterior stands out, the interior is also far from classic. We find a dashboard treated in a very horizontal way, with colored inserts (or imitation aluminum). In front of the driver, a small 9-inch digital screen which displays all the driving information, but also materializes the surrounding vehicles, making the difference, as on the Tesla, between cars, trucks, or motorcycles. At the top of 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 brand new multimedia system, very responsive, but which still had some bugs on our test models (pre-series).
To brighten up the customer experience, this system features an avatar in the shape of a fox, which reacts 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 would have, as often, preferred physical air conditioning controls. Basically, like the Teslas, this #1 is a bit of a geek car.
In any case, the quality of the assemblies is remarkable, and that of the materials is astonishing. We may not be at the level of a Mercedes or a BMW, but the plastics are for the most part foamed, including on the door trims (front and rear), an insert that is also soft has been cleverly arranged to where the knee usually rests, on either side of the console.
So indeed, this novelty claimed to be premium has a cabin that has most of the characteristics, including the equipment (see dedicated page). It is in any case better made than those of more general competitors, Peugeot 2008, Hyundai Kona, Kia Niro, etc.
Pampered passengers, less luggage
The rear passengers have for their part a suitable space, whether at the level of the knees, the head or the shoulders. They can also take advantage of a reclining bench seat back. The latter is sliding on 13 cm, allowing to vary the volume of trunk, and to privilege either the luggage, or the passengers. When it is pushed back fully, the volume of the hold is 323 liters for the entry-level Pro+ finish, 313 liters for the others (presence of the Beats audio system subwoofer). We must add, so as not to forget anything, the 15 liters of the small space located under the front hood. It may be a little fair, in relation to the template.
The forward seat volume and the folded seat volume have not been communicated. But we must be around 400 liters. That’s pretty much 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 forward bench.
In any case, the practical aspects have not been forgotten, with numerous and voluminous storage spaces (good-sized glove box, generous door bins, storage in the center console, USB C sockets for charging devices, etc.).
Powerful motors, generous kWh battery
Technically, the #1 has a 200 kW engine, or 272 hp (and 343 Nm of torque), which is an ultra comfortable power, when compared to that of existing models (136 hp for an e-2008 or a Mokka -e, 136 or 204 hp for the Koreans, 156 hp for a DS 3), a 66 kWh capacity battery, which offers variable autonomy depending on the finishes. It’s 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’s only 400 km. The reason ? This finish is much more powerful! It has a second 115 kW motor on the front axle, making it a 4×4, for a cumulative power of 315 kW, or 428 hp (and 543 Nm). Its performance is of course much higher, with a 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 everyone. Could Volvo have been emulated? By comparison, an electric 2008 achieves the 0 to 100 in 9 s. and tops out at 150 km/h, for not much less… A 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 the others have a beefy 22 kW charger (10 to 80% charge in 3 hours). On a DC fast terminal, everyone 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 the one that will be the most sold, it is the one that we have chosen to take in hand, on the beautiful Portuguese roads of the Lisbon region, passing through Sintra and Cascais.