Smart #1 Review & Prices
The Smart #1 is really comfortable to drive and looks great, but the boot is rather small
Find out more about the Smart #1
If you want a compact electric SUV that’s still pretty spacious inside, the Smart #1 should be right at the top of your shopping list. On top of this roominess it’s also comfortable to drive and has a sleek and stylish exterior.
There are plenty of other similar cars to choose from, though. The Hyundai Kona Electric is great value, while the Smart is similarly priced to the Kia Niro EV and Peugeot e-2008. Temptingly, the Volvo EX30 costs a bit less but has more badge appeal.
If you remember the teeny tiny ForTwo city car, you might be a bit surprised to see Smart building a spacious SUV. So Smart’s cars are a bit like the sportswear brand Castore, because they were small when they started but have recently become quite big.
While it could be argued that we don’t need yet another small family SUV to consider, we’re pleased to say this Smart isn’t just here to make up the numbers. The #1 has a genuinely characterful design, with the swooping full-width rear light matched by a similar design for the headlights. It looks great, almost as if it has jumped straight out of the pages of a space age comic.
Watch Mat review the Brabus #1
This theme continues inside with a modern, minimalist style. There are quality materials throughout and the scene is dominated by a large central infotainment display. This is incredibly quick and easy to use, and is one of the most tablet-like systems out there. The quirky graphics won’t appeal to everyone, though – the video game aesthetic is certainly unique.
Even if you’re not totally sold on the voice assistant being represented by a friendly fox, you’re sure to appreciate just how spacious the interior is. You get good adjustability in the wheel and seat, and because there’s loads of headroom you can sit high for that commanding SUV driving position.
It’s arguably even more spacious in the back. Even with a tall driver you can fit a six-foot-plus person behind with lots of legroom and you can slide your feet under the seat in front. There’s plenty of under-thigh support to make longer journeys more relaxing, but the middle seat has an odd ridge that feels like it’s pushing into your bottom.
Don’t need all that legroom? You can push the rear seats forward to maximise boot space, but even then you have less space than a Kia Niro EV or Peugeot e-2008. With the seats in their normal position the boot is considerably smaller than any alternatives offer.
The boot is a bit small but we’re impressed with just about everything else the Smart #1 has to offer
Something the Smart #1 does have over most of the competition, though, is a comfortable driving experience. Some electric cars can feel stiff and jiggly, but the #1 soaks up bumps in the road nicely. It’s not the most exciting car on a twisty road, but it’s quiet and refined everywhere else.
If excitement is your thing, the top-spec Brabus version is your best bet. With 428hp and all-wheel drive it feels properly rapid, though doesn’t get any suspension trickery to make it corner better. The two regular models – called Pro+ and Premium – are rear-wheel drive with 272hp and, like the Brabus version, use a 62kWh battery.
Premium models go furthest on a charge at 273 miles, which is a bit more than the Pro+’s 260-mile range and the Brabus’ 248 miles. The maximum charge rate is 150kW on all models, allowing for a 10-80% charge in 30 minutes.
The extra range and faster AC charging could be enough to tempt you up to the Premium, but the Pro+ is very well-specified for the price so you won’t feel like you’re missing out.
Whichever model you end up going for, get the best price by checking out carwow’s latest Smart #1 deals. You can also browse other used Smart models. And when it’s time to sell your car, you can do that through carwow, too.
The Smart #1 has a RRP range of £35,950 to £43,450. Prices start at £35,950 if paying cash. Monthly payments start at £419.
Our most popular versions of the Smart #1 are:
|Model version||carwow price from|
|200kW Pro + 66kWh 5dr Auto||£35,950||Compare offers|
Prices start at around £36,000 for the Smart #1 Pro+, while the higher-spec Premium model costs about £3,000 more. Although standard equipment on the entry car is great, that’s not a huge jump in price if your budget can stretch that far. You get some extra range, faster AC charging, and useful tech such as head-up display and Matrix LED headlights. The Brabus model starts around £43,000, and while it gets the same specification as the Premium, it adds some sporty styling touches inside and out, as well as an extra motor for all-wheel drive and extra power.
The non-Brabus models in particular represent good value. Only the Hyundai Kona Electric really undercuts it on price, while the Kia Niro EV and Peugeot e-2008 cost a similar amount. The Peugeot feels a bit posher inside, but both have bigger boots than the Smart.
You’ll have to pay a bit more to get a Volkswagen ID3, which isn’t as fancy inside, has a worse infotainment system and is similarly impractical. It’s a similar story with the BYD Atto 3 – though it does have a bigger boot than the Smart, it doesn’t feel as polished inside.
Something to consider, though, is the Volvo EX30, which is available to order now ahead of deliveries in early 2024. It’s a fraction less expensive than the Smart but arguably looks even more, well, smart. We’ll need to get behind the wheel ahead of its launch to see how they actually compare, but it could be worth waiting for.
Comfortable over bumps and quiet at higher speeds, but the Smart #1 isn’t particularly fun or engaging in corners
Electric cars have a tendency to be a bit jiggly over rough roads, but the Smart #1 is one of the most comfortable options. It deals really well with potholes and drain covers, soaking up sharp edges nicely.
Visibility is excellent looking forward, making it easy to squeeze through tight gaps and keep on eye on traffic around you. The rear pillars are quite chunky, but there are extra small windows in the back quarter that help improve your view over your shoulder.
The turning circle isn’t quite as good as a Renault Megane E-Tech, but the Smart shows a top-down view of the car on the infotainment display when you indicate, which helps you negotiate tight spots. Disappointingly, though, the reversing camera has a low frame rate, so it skips and jumps, making it harder to judge your manoeuvres.
There are three driving modes (and a fourth Brabus mode in the go-faster model). You’ll spend most of your time in Comfort; switching between modes does nothing to change the suspension, it’s just how the motor responds. The car feels quick and responsive to your inputs, even in Eco mode, and the brakes are easy to judge so you can come to a smooth stop.
On the motorway
When speeds increase the Smart #1 continues to impress. There’s a hint of tyre noise if we’re being fussy, but otherwise it’s very quiet when cruising along the motorway, feeling well-insulated and refined. When you also consider that the seats are soft and supportive, it’s a comfortable companion for longer drives.
In the regular models, performance is brisk without being particularly exciting, but it picks up speed more than quickly enough for slip roads or overtakes. The Brabus is rapid and you’ll have no trouble getting around middle lane dawdlers.
Adaptive cruise control, which can maintain your distance to the car in front, is included as standard. This is great, because it means those who do lots of motorway miles don’t need to spend more on a higher trim or optional extra. However, while it is useful, the lane-centring is quite intrusive, so you might have to fiddle with the settings to suit your preferences.
On a twisty road
If you’re a keen driver and like your family car to be a corner-carving hero on weekends, the Smart #1 might not be your first choice. It’s fine, it’s just not particularly exciting. There’s enough grip to have fun, and the car doesn’t lean too much, but you’ll never feel like you want to push its limits.
And that’s fine, because most of the competition offer a similar experience – though if you do want a car that does enjoy bends, the Kia Niro EV is worth a look.
The Brabus version goes some way to improving things by chucking more power at the situation. Without any other mechanical or suspension upgrades, it doesn’t change how it handles a twisty road, but it is at least more fun punching the throttle on the way out of a bend.
Interior passenger space is excellent, but the trade-off is that the boot is small, even in its most spacious configuration
Interior space is excellent. You have good adjustability of the wheel and driver’s seat, so it’s easy to get a good driving position, while the tall roof means you can sit nice and high like a proper SUV.
There’s plenty of useful storage to be found, too. Under the arm rest you’ll find a good-sized area to hide valuables, with two cup holders ahead of it with a phone holder. Further forward is the wireless phone charging pad with a couple of USB slots. Under this is a large area that will fit a bag.
Another neat touch is that you get ISOFIX mountings in the front, so you can safely carry little ones in the front where you can keep an eye on them.
Space in the back seats
It’s a similarly positive story in the back seats. There’s loads of knee room, even if you slide the seats forward to improve boot capacity. Again, the high roof means that even taller passengers will be comfortable, while good under-thigh support is good for long trips.
If you want to sit three across the back, it will be a bit tight but there’s an acceptable amount of shoulder room for a car of this size. However, the person in the middle pulls the short straw because there’s an odd ridge at the back that feels like it’s pressing into your backside. That could be annoying and uncomfortable for long trips.
All that space also means it’s easy to get set up if you’ve got young children. The doors are wide so getting a child seat in is a breeze and there’s loads of room to get the ISOFIX anchor points hooked up.
All of this roomy goodness does come at a price, though. The boot is small. In fact, with the rear seats in their kneeroom-friendly position, there’s just 273 litres of space. That’s not very much at all, being 30 litres down on a Ford Fiesta.
Slide the seats forward and you get a more respectable 411 litres, but even then, it’s easy to find alternatives with more space. The Kia Niro EV is one of the best at 475 litres, followed by the BYD Atto 3’s 440 litres and Peugeot e-2008’s 435 litres. The Volkswagen ID3 and Hyundai Kona Electric split the Smart’s two configurations at 385 litres and 332 litres respectively.
Folding the rear seats is easy enough if you do need more space. You just pull a latch on each seat and they fall flat, so you can push long items through without them catching on any ridge. However, with the seats down, the capacity is 986 litres, which is again disappointing when alternatives will fit comfortably over 1,000 litres.
More disappointment comes in the form of the front boot, which is so small at just 15 litres it almost feels pointless. You would be lucky to even fit your charging cables in there. Still, some electric cars, such as the Atto 3, don’t even have a ‘froot’. Better news is the fact that there is some under-floor storage in the rear boot, including somewhere to store your parcel shelf when it’s not needed.
Minimalist style and a brilliantly responsive infotainment system appeal, but the digital driver’s display isn’t great
If you’re drawn to the cool, funky exterior design of the Smart #1, the interior won’t disappoint. There’s a large centre console that swoops up and across in front of each front passenger. Darker colours look a bit more sophisticated, but the white does brighten up the cabin at least.
Speaking of sophistication, despite its reasonable price, there are plenty of quality materials aboard the #1. You can find some scratchy plastics if you really go looking for them, but most of what you see and touch every day feels expensive and well made.
Atop the dashboard sits the 12.8-inch infotainment display, and it’s really good. You get crisp graphics and it’s one of the fastest touchscreens in the business. There’s no delay in your touch being registered as you often see in other cars. It’s annoying that the climate settings are in the menus, though.
Although we’re sure you’ll love how fast the system is, the graphics won’t appeal to everyone. They feel like video game menus, and while there are some quirky features, they could be a bit fussy and distracting for a car, which should be simple to use on the move.
Speaking of quirkiness, the voice assistant is a fox that pops up and responds to your requests. Yep, really. If you ignore the odd talking animal, it works well and we never found ourselves repeating things.
One thing that should be noted is that, although the system does come with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard, it will not be available at launch. Smart says that it is delivering the first cars to customers without the systems, but once they are available, cars will be updated for free. October is the target.
While the main infotainment display is great, the driver’s display is a bit of a letdown. It’s a narrow screen with some basic information, with a little customisation available. It just doesn’t feel quite as high-tech as the main display. Premium and Brabus models have a head-up display that works well and reduces the need to use this smaller screen.
These models also get the upgraded Beats sound system. You lose a little bit of under-floor boot space, but it’s not much and is a worthy trade for the excellent sound quality you get.
There are three versions of the Smart #1, all of which have the same 62kWh battery. Pro+ and Premium models have a single electric motor on the rear wheels, which makes 272hp and 343Nm of torque. Both will go from 0-60mph in 6.7 seconds and onto a top speed of 112mph.
Although they have the same battery and performance, the Premium model gets a heat pump and more sophisticated motor, which help improve its range. As a result, official figures suggest a range of up to 273 miles, compared with 260 miles in the Pro+.
Opt for the Brabus and you get two motors, with one on the front wheels joining the one on the rear, providing all-wheel drive. The extra motor means power is up to 428hp and 584Nm, bringing the 0-60mph sprint time down to just 3.9 seconds. The top speed is unchanged at 112mph.
With all that extra power, the Brabus unsurprisingly has the shortest range at 248 miles. However, curiously, during our testing with the Premium and Brabus models, we got an identical (and respectable) 3.7miles/kWh efficiency figure, which would put both at around 230 miles in the real world.
Because it’s a zero-emission electric vehicle, the Smart #1 faces no charge for its road tax. The Brabus is currently the only model that incurs an extra charge in years two to six, because its list price is more than £40,000. It’s similarly appealing for company car drivers – as an EV the #1 gets the lowest benefit-in-kind rate.
The Smart #1 scored top marks in Euro NCAP safety testing. Its five-out-of-five rating was helped by impressive adult and child occupant scores of 96% and 89% respectively.
Its driver assist rating was also quite high at 88%, which is perhaps no surprise when you consider that you get some decent assistance tech as standard. All models have blind spot warning, lane-centring on the motorway, and adaptive cruise control with a stop and go function. Step up to the Premium and Brabus models, and you get an automatic parking system, too.
The Smart #1 is a new model, so it’s not clear exactly how reliable it will turn out to be. And with this car getting lots of new technology, we can’t even look at the brand’s previous reputation to get a good idea. Some reassurance can come from the fact that the relative simplicity of electric vehicle powertrains means there’s less to go wrong.
Each car comes with a three-year, unlimited mileage warranty, with the battery covered for eight years or 125,000 miles. You also get a service package that covers servicing and wear and tear items for three years/30,000 miles, and roadside assistance for up to eight years/100,000 miles if the car is maintained at a Smart aftersales partner.
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*Please contact the dealer for a personalised quote, including terms and conditions. Quote is subject to dealer requirements, including status and availability. Illustrations are based on personal contract hire, 9 month upfront fee, 48 month term and 8000 miles annually, VAT included.