Smart is the first Mercedes-Benz brand to have its cars adorned with the new ‘EQ’ nomenclature and is also one of the only car makers in the world to offer its entire range in electric form. Jonathan Musk drives the current generation to find out what it’s all about.
The latest generation of smart cars, ranges from the diminutive two-seat “fortwo”, to its convertible counterpart and the four-seat variant, the for four. While the old smart electric drive was fettled by Tesla, this time around smart teamed up with Renault to co-produce the for four and the Twingo in the same factory.
Naturally, this causes either concern or pleasure. On the one hand, the Twingo is a fine small car, sporting an unusual setup by way of rear engine and rearwheel drive. However, its lacklustre petrol engine isn’t wonderful, its gear-change is pretty dire and what might have been a relatively practical boot, or opening space up-front due to no engine, was quashed by the rear engine setup and somehow stuffing a load of equipment under the bonnet meant there was no additional passenger storage there either.
In electric form and with a smart badge, however, it’s an altogether different proposition.
Basic is about as luxurious as it gets. However, there are neat little design tweaks to be found all over the cabin and there was never a feeling that it needed more storage space. The cabin is adequately appointed for the type of car that it is, with a soft material-topped dashboard, decent-sized central touch screen straight from Renault, but with some rebranding to become a smart – and there’s nothing wrong with any of that. The rear seats might have been better designed so as to offer more ‘smart’ flexibility, but generally speaking they weren’t bad and certainly offer more practicality than the for two. Buyers can choose between a continuous rear bench or optional “readyspace” seats that fold into the footwell before the backs fold down, adding extra load lugging ability if needed.
The nav is, as mentioned, straight from Renault, but it has everything you might want including battery and charging information, road stats and figures, sat nav and the usual infotainment too. The design is fun and functional and does the job needed of it, but doesn’t really go beyond.
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