The best place for electricity is a city. The best city car is a very small one. This is the prima facie case for the electric Smart Fortwo.
Not that Smart didn’t see it coming. When Mercedes and Swatch teamed up and produced a prototype two-seater city car a quarter of a century ago, electric power was in the forefront. But the batteries weren’t up to the task. Even so, there have been electric versions of all three generations of the Fortwo, making it the first electric car to hit the market in Europe. Stick it on your Tesla Roadster and Leaf.
Smart doubled down, making its last combustion-engined cars in 2018. It went all-electric, using Mercedes’ EQ sub-brand.
Now she has had a makeover. A new facelift lowered the grille, becoming a mouth instead of a nostril. This is expected to continue until the new program scheduled for 2022. Mercedes will design and sell it again, but with a change designed and built by Geely in China.
The performance of the Fortwo EQ is beyond question. The electric drive still meets the nifty and smooth demands of city driving. An instant 82 hp engine is more than enough for a 1,100 kg car.
But range? Where do they fit a large battery? Answer: they don’t. That’s just 17.2 kWh net. Many plug-in hybrid SUVs match this and have an engine too.
But being small, the Smart can pull off a decent average with some power. WLTP range is 84 miles (75 with larger wheels and options).
This may not seem like a stretch, but again, think about how it will, or should, be used. In a big city, average speeds are so slow that you could drive a Smart all day and then charge it overnight.
The rest of the Fortwo’s recipe remains from previous petrol versions. Room for two in the cabin, but an exterior imprint of Lego Technik. The engine is behind your butt. The rear-wheel drive allows for precise steering lock-up and, combined with the short wheelbase, provides a hilarious turning radius. Nothing could be easier to park. That said, it’s 2.7m long, so unlike the Mk1, you can’t park upside down on pavement.
In addition to the hatchback version, there is also a Convertible. To enjoy the aerial view of the city, if not the diesel fumes from other road users.
Our choice of the range.
What’s the verdict?
The Fortwo is like a hypercar. And not just because it’s a two-seater. We mean that it’s great in its chosen setting and pretty bad elsewhere.
On busy streets, it’s as agile as a kitten, as easy to park as your shoes, clean, and as cheap as the coffee you drink on the way to work.
But stray far beyond the ring road and it’s slow, wobbly, and short-range.
The idea of going electric fits the Smart perfectly. Use it as intended, an admittedly limited circumstance, and you won’t find many bugs in the run.
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Source : topgear.com
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