Electric Car Experts Review the Smart EQ ForFour Add Your Review
Look and Living
Size matters and the new Smart EQ ForFour is only 3.49m in length. Claims of super tight turning circles were touted confidently during our test drive.
I’ve owned a re-booted 3-door Fiat 500 so I was looking forward to the Smart EQ ForFour. Give me something stylish, nippy and cute. Size matters and the new Smart EQ ForFour is only 3.49m in length. Claims of super tight turning circles were touted confidently during our test drive. While it has some attractive duo colour combinations, Black, White and Red come as standard. You’ll pay £200-300 extra for the cooler colours. But no Fiat 500 racing stripes I’m afraid. Could the EQ ForFour achieve the practicality of a small four door whilst retaining it’s Smart City Car look and feel?
Inside the Smart EQ ForFour
There’s just about enough space inside for a (young) family of four but it is going to be very cramped for adults in the back. The backseats are small by design – they neatly fold flat when more boot space is needed for a weekly shop. Leg space is extremely limited if the drivers seat is fully extended back. The front seats are sports style and fully adjustable, and, as in the EQ ForTwo they are very comfortable. So four doors for easy access but not for grownups.
Dash and Steering
The dash is fabric which makes a change from the plastic feel of many EV cars and the unique wood veneer interior of the BMW i3. I quite liked it. The air vents also stand up in the middle of the dash, a quirky feature, giving the style a retro feel but they look in the way. And while trying hard, they don’t quite measure up to Fiat 500 pop design I’m afraid.
The steering wheel is leather and adjustable with standard cruise and audio controls. You can get it heated but not as standard. There’s a media-only central touch screen but it doesn’t come as standard. Mercedes Smart are chasing a price point so your EV technology feed is limited to the basic speedo console.
To the right of the steering wheel above the dash, Smart EQ have a unique dial which displays battery charge status and power. A novel feature which is unusually located, it doesn’t provide the Starship Enterprise level EV data feed you get for other vehicles with a higher price tag.
The interior overall is quirky and sporty, the front seat space is adequate, the back seats are tight – but all to be expected in a small city car.
The boot space is OK for a city car at 185 litres, but the AV speaker options take up a good chunk of this space! The ability to completely fold the back seats flat gives you access to 975 litres when needed.
Smart EQ ForFour Technology
Technology is middle of the road with some driver assist and safety features available as standard, including:
- esp® – electronic stability program
- abs and Active Brake Assist
- Crosswind Assist
- Hill Start Assist
- Tyre pressure monitoring system
- Cruise control with limiter (variable speed limitation)
The Touchscreen is limited to Temperature and Audio controls and comes with an AUX/USB interface, Bluetooth interface with hands-free system and audio streaming. I would have liked the console to control more of the cars EV functions, similar to the e-golf, but the Eco Range control is just a button near the gear stick. It’s functional.
Smart Control App
With the Smart EQ ForFour you get to view the current status of your car functions via your smart phone. A great little tool that is included for free for the first 3 years (but Smart Mercedes, why just for 3 years?). You can check the charge level, charge time remaining, range and your driving efficiency. Set the car to warm up on a cold day from the comfort of your home with the pre-entry climate control. You can get a free demo of the app here.
Performance and Drive
Like all 100% Electric Cars I could barely tell when the car is switched on. Accelerate and go. Smart claim that although a 4 door they have not lost any of the driving fun of the original Smart 2-door. I enjoyed the drive.
It’s acceleration on hills is good, it doesn’t struggle, even with 3 adult occupants. It reaches 70 with ease on the motorway and it’s very responsive. It has the famous Smart small turning circle and as it’s 3.5m long, it’s going to be a breeze to park. If you need help getting your tiny car into even tinier spots you can add a rear camera as extra.
It gets typically sluggish in Eco Mode. If you know you might need to get a few extra miles and your running low on charge then you will use it. But if your typical journey is short and you charge at home/work, you won’t need to use it.
Range, charging and greenness
The Smart EQ ForFour has max power of 60KW compared to the Nissan Leaf and the Renault Zoe, producing 40kw. Range is quoted at 99 miles but as with all manufacturers max range the day to day usage will be less. We discussed 90 miles on a good day at the Smart garage. I’d be interested to hear what our Electric Car Experts experience.
The car comes with an on board charger of 7 Kw. Charging at a home wall box takes approx. 2.5hrs. Using a standard wall socket will take up to 6 hours. If you pay for the 22 Kw on board charger your charging time with a wallbox is less than 40 minutes. Included as standard are the charging cables for domestic power socket (4 m, coiled) and for wallbox and public charging stations (4 m, straight).
Specification and Extras
Prices start at £21,060 for the 7 Kw Prime premium model. and £21,335 for the 22 Kw Prime Premium model. These prices include the government grant.
The Premium Plus Equipment for an additional £595 gets you Ambient Lighting, Centre Armrest, Rear view Camera, Rain Light Sensor and more sophisticated LED lights. Will you need it?
For £495 you get the Winter package which includes heated rear seats. Remember, increased power consumption for climate control decreases range resulting in a tough decision for the UK driver.
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It's a Smart Electric City Car. Perfect for City Driving. Small and Compact with the benefits of four doors.
- Good acceleration
- Folding seats gives good boot capacity
- Quirky and Fun
- Limited space in the back
- Not enough technology for the price