The Smart Choice, Smart car review by Sam Clark
My young son and I stood in front of the new Smart car grinning like a couple of kids on Christmas morning. I tossed him the keys and we jumped in his new toy. He floored it and we took off into the horizon!
Of course, I didn’t really let him drive, I’ve been dying to drive a Smart car since their launch back in the care-free 1990s when the smart kids didn’t worry about space for children and the dog.
I’ve always liked the idea of this ingenious little car, created from the vision of horological royalty, Nicolas Hayek. He set out to do with the car what Swatch watches had done to timepieces. The late Hayek was co-founder, CEO and Chairman of the Board of the Swatch Group. He aimed to create a city car with the same sense of fun, individuality and pop style as the Swatch watches. The result squeezed, twisted and redesigned car conventions. Hayek partnered with Mercedes-Benz to develop and build the cars – the name Smart comes from: ‘Swatch Mercedes ART’. Together they found and successfully filled a gap in the vehicle market – albeit a fairly small gap.
There are two sizes available – the ForTwo an uncompromising two-seater and the larger ForFour which sacrifices some of the fastidious space-saving and generously adds two more seats so you can give a couple of friends a lift.
We chose fun over friends and opted for the ForTwo. But, it turns out that inside this little toy, it is actually all rather grown-up. The competent parents – Merceded Benz – have done a rather good job raising this little up-start. It’s well designed, feels solid and is surprisingly spacious. There’s plenty of elbow room and due to clever space-saving bits of mechanics slotted beneath the seats, the driving position has a rather lofty feel, so as you look down on other motorists, it’s easy to forget how small the Smart is. I was almost disappointed. However, my years of expectation were quickly rewarded as we turned out of the garage. The Smart has a spinning-top turning circle that makes a black cab seem like an ocean liner. Ignore all the talk of how you can park your Smart sideways into tiny spaces: instead, my young co-pilot and I highly recommend you find your nearest multi-story car park, preferably one with the fancy resin painted, squeaky floors. Then have the time of your life parking in the furthest away space you can find.
The Smart EQ
The new EQ range delivers electric power packaged in a redesigned exterior which includes the latest must-have for all the best-dressed cars, new LED lights. An 82 hp electric motor drives the rear wheels giving an extra zippy drive around town. The 96-cell lithium-ion battery is paired with a 22 kW onboard charger enabling it to be charged in less than 40 minutes by a rapid charger. A wall charger will take around 6 hours. The drive is agile, nippy and fun is its natural habitat, the city.
Smart enquires www.smart.com