Smart #1: The New Giant Dwarf can do that

Smart #1: The New Giant Dwarf can do that

In its new direction, Smart has shifted its focus from small city cars to compact crossovers. The brand aims to regain momentum with the introduction of Smart #1, a crossover model produced in China. Unlike the previous short, small, and flat two- and four-seater cars, the Smart #1 is larger and offers space for up to five occupants. It bears a resemblance to the Mercedes EQB, as both models are part of the German-Chinese joint venture, with Mercedes responsible for design and European sales.

The Smart #1 stands out not only for its appearance but also for its practicality and functionality. With its sleek design (cd value: 0.28) and versatile features, it serves as a useful everyday car. It boasts a towing capacity of 1.6 tons, and even the base variant, called Pro+, comes equipped with a wide range of features such as two-zone climate control, a panoramic roof, 360-degree cameras, heated seats, and various assistance systems.

Smart #1 (2023) price and specifications - EV Database

Inside the SUV, which stands at almost 1.64 meters in height, occupants will find ample space, ergonomic design (including multiple shelves and a high-positioned 12.8-inch touchscreen), comfort-enhancing features (such as four-way adjustable lumbar support and adjustable backrests), and flexibility (thanks to the sliding and folding rear seat and variable loading floor). Additionally, the car includes a thoughtful cable compartment under the hood, although the supplied Mode3 cable can be a tight fit.

The seating experience in the Smart #1 is comfortable and well-integrated at the front, particularly in the premium equipment version, which includes a heat pump. However, rear passengers may find their legs slightly bent due to the limited distance between the floor and the bench. Nevertheless, there is sufficient knee and foot space, as there is no bulky center tunnel.

Smart #1 impresses with its quality construction. The test car, equipped with Conti EcoContact 6 Q tires known for their quietness, demonstrates good insulation. It features real leather covers, hydraulic hood lifters, frameless windows that seal tightly, and metal-coated buttons.

While some hard plastic elements can be found beneath the partly foamed and textile-covered interior panels, it is worth noting that hinged flaps would have been preferable over rubber covers for the charging connection at the rear. Overall, the first China-produced Smart is an electric vehicle (EV) with a focus on quality.

Underpinning Smart #1 is Geely’s modern and flexible SEA platform, showcasing the expertise of the Chinese automotive manufacturer. The test car, weighing approximately 1.8 tons, is equipped with a 200 kW PSM (Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor) from Geely’s Vremt brand on the rear axle (Brabus variants feature two motors).

The use of silicon carbide semiconductors in the motor promises enhanced efficiency by reducing heat losses and achieving an additional 20 km of WLTP range. At the start of the test drive, the onboard computer indicated a range of 424 km with a battery level of 97 percent.

After covering a mixed urban, rural, and highway route spanning over 110 kilometers, the vehicle recorded an average consumption of 16 kWh per 100 km, a state of charge (SoC) of 69 percent, and a remaining range of 305 km.

Features such as battery preconditioning and route planning with scheduled charging stops are expected to be available when the vehicle is launched later in the year. During the charging process (DC charging up to 150 kW, AC charging at 11 or 22 kW, available in premium equipment and above), the display will show the exact power in kilowatts as electricity flows into the 66 kWh battery.

The prismatic cells for the battery are supplied by CATL or Sunwoda. The manufacturer is also working on implementing a sailing function to allow Smart #1 to roll freely instead of recuperating, although the single-pedal operation is already possible.

Thanks to its well-balanced chassis and steering setup, the Smart #1 offers a pleasant driving experience and can be utilized in various driving scenarios. The front spring-damper elements provide sufficient sensitivity, but some rumbling may occur at the rear when encountering angular obstacles or joints. The vehicle exhibits dynamic cornering behavior but tends to understeer early and smoothly, with a slight rear-axle slip when entering curves under load.

While voice control may not yet be available in German, the touchscreen interface allows for convenient interaction, such as selecting the desired song on Spotify, as demonstrated during the test drive. Despite the departure from the traditional Smart brand identity, Smart #1 stands out as a well-built electric vehicle suitable for everyday use.

Technical specifications

Smart #1 Pro+
Basic price €41,490
External dimensions 4270x1822x1636mm
Trunk volume 323 to 986L
Top speed 180km/h
Consumption 0.0kWh/100km

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