Smart reinvents itself and lands in one of the hottest segments of the moment. With a friendly face and arguments to present, the newcomer is one of the highlights in the automobile market.
With such a name, one would think that the new Smart SUV has already conquered the audience passionate about engines.
The brand's first real novelty since the introduction of forfour in the range for 18 years (it remained in the catalog for a very short time), the model represents the rebirth of smart, which aims to wrest some market shares hitherto unexplored segments.
Because its moniker actually means that it's just the first element of a product plan that sees the establishment of a full range in the next few years.
At 4.27 m long and 1.64 m high, it is by far the most imposing Smart model ever on the market, even if its size really limits it to the B-SUV segment. Where it's very strong, however, is that it has a giant wheelbase of 2.75m, just 2cm shorter than a Volkswagen ID.4!
Enough to offer a very generous space to the rear passengers who can stretch their legs without fear of bumping into the front seats, as long as they are not occupied by NBA players.
And that's good, because the floor is a little high, which forces you to bend your legs to put your feet on the floor.
Rescued by this generous interior, the trunk is of the rickshaw type. There is certainly 313l of advertised load, but for that it is necessary to count the double bottom with the chiseled shape where you cannot accommodate objects that are too bulky.
At least the Smart played smart, automatically offering a 13cm sliding seat as well as 2/3 – 1/3 reclining and folding backrests.
See too: Mercedes will introduce the New EQE SUV
For the rest, the interior benefits from correct materials and adjustments that are not indecent in the Premium finish.
It's not so great on the ergonomics side, as many functions (including mirror adjustment!) go through the 12.8-inch touchscreen.
It benefits from Full HD resolution, is responsive and fluid, but the tree structure of its menus is not very logical.
Even being a geek, you really need to understand how it works so you don't spend hours looking.
It can be frustrating, but clumsiness becomes dangerous as some driving aids can only be set while driving.
Do you want to choose the intervention level of the lane departure warning, or even disable it? The car must be at least in the “Drive/Drive” position to do this. Incomprehensible!
The SUV comes in two versions, including one with the Brabus badge and boasting 428 hp from two electric motors.
And if our most reasonable test version only has one located on the rear axle, there's nothing to be ashamed of about its already exciting performance.
The claimed 271 hp is there, turning quick overtaking and insertion into a mere formality in just seconds.
You even have to be careful when coming out of a corner and in the wet, because the 343 Nm of torque drops a little without warning, making it difficult for ESP, which is doing its best to contain this passion.
We highly recommend not unplugging this life-saving electronic crutch!
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As for those who would be tempted to consider themselves racers given the power available, the Smart #1's chassis will soon dampen their enthusiasm.
First of all, Continental Eco Contact 6 Q tires with low rolling resistance are not grip champions, particularly at 1,788kg advertised deflated.
Second, the passive damping is of the loose type with slow movements, which induces pumping over the deformations.
Regenerative braking, on the other hand, requires real adaptation time because it is triggered with a noticeable latency when you release the accelerator pedal.