Smart’s adorable-looking #1 SUV shows that it’s serious about EVs



For its entire existence, Smart is pretty much known only for its weird yet charming ForTwo microcar. But that Smart is no more, because the brand has undergone a complete reboot with the launch of the all-new Smart #1. And yes, that’s really its name.

The #1 is Smart’s first brand-new product in eight years, and the first since Geely signed a joint venture agreement with Mercedes-Benz to take over 50% of the company. It’ll be built on the former’s modular Sustainable Electric Architecture (SEA) – more specifically, the SEA2 designed for smaller vehicles.

In terms of dimensions, the Smart #1 measures in at 4,270 mm long, 1,822 mm wide, and 1,636 mm tall, with a 2,750 mm wheelbase, placing it around the ballpark of other B-segment SUVs, and quite a bit larger than the Smart models of yore – including the ForFour.

At launch, the #1 will be offered with only a single motor set-up on the rear axle, providing 272 hp (200 kW) and 343 Nm of torque. Electric power is provided by a 66 kWh battery pack underneath the floor, which gives the compact SUV a driving range of 420-440 km based on the WLTP scale.

For charging, the Smart #1 supports regular AC power of up to 22 kW, which can fill the battery from 10% to 80% in under three hours. DC fast charging is also supported at speeds of up to 150 kW, taking less than 30 minutes for the same amount of charge.

Smart did not provide any performance figures for the #1, although it’s claimed to have a top speed of 180 km/h. An all-wheel drive model will also be offered at some point in the future, although no further specifications were disclosed.

In terms of appearance, the production-ready Smart #1 looks virtually unchanged from its original concept that was first unveiled last year, characterised by its smooth and round pebble-like exterior silhouette. Other exterior highlights include the full-width head- and taillights, with its new twin Y-shaped light signature, floating “halo” roof, as well as aerodynamic-focused 19-inch alloys.

Don’t let its adorable appearance fool you, however, because the smooth curves are actually there for a purpose. Combined with the shut-off grille and concealed door handles, the Smart #1 actually manages a drag coefficient of just 0.29 Cd, improving its aerodynamic efficiency to ultimately provide increased driving range.

Inside, the Smart #1 again retains much of the concept’s interior design, although with a more conventional five-seater set-up instead of four individual chairs. Smart’s press release highlights on its “human-centric” technology within the #1’s cabin, where even the 12.8-inch floating infotainment display can be fully customised according to the driver’s wishes.

There’s even a fox avatar (with more characters to come in the future) that functions as the system’s voice assistant “intelligent companion”, and the entire system is also linked to a smartphone app to provide drivers with more functionality and real-time data when away from the car.

The fox “intelligent companion” avatar.

According to Autocar UK, the infotainment system is not based on Mercedes-Benz’ MBUX system, nor completely lifted from Geely’s other models, but rather built specifically for Smart to accommodate the specific needs and tendencies of European buyers.

Other interior highlights include a 9.2-inch digital instrument cluster and a 10-inch head-up display, a panoramic glass roof, 13-speaker Beats sound system, and over-the-air (OTA) software update capabilities that can supposedly update more than 75% of all ECUs within the car.

At launch, the Smart #1 will be offered in a 1,000-units only Launch Edition (pictured here in white), with a unique chequered-design wheels, unique white leather upholstery, as well as the gold exterior and interior trims from the original Concept #1.

Intrigued? Well for those of us in Malaysia, the good news is that the Smart #1 will also be imported and sold here in our country, thanks to a recent Memorandum of Agreement signed between Smart and by our national carmaker’s distribution arm, Proton Edar – so ready your chequebooks!


GALLERY



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