Say hello to…
…the all-new car from Smart. The manufacturer, which is now owned 50:50 by Mercedes and Chinese firm Geely, has called the car the (Hashtag) #1, but insiders expect everyone to simply call it (and search online) the Smart 1.
The 1 is far more inline with the Smart ForFour than the diminutive two seater with which the manufacturer first shot to fame. The new Smart 1 is small all-electric hatchback with a 62kWh battery and a 272hp motor powering the rear wheels. Smart also offers a hot all-wheel drive Brabus version with a whopping 425hp and a 0-60mph time of less than four seconds.
The ’regular’ Smart is available in two trim levels:
Standard equipment on the Pro+ includes a panoramic sunroof, adaptive cruise control, heated seats, a 360-degree surround camera, powered tailgate, 19-inch alloys and a 12.8-inch infotainment screen.
Premium adds head-up display, uprated stereo, park assist and matrix LED headlights.
Is The Smart 1 Suitable For My Fleet
Mid-size family hatchbacks are one of the staples of any fleet, so the Smart 1 fits right in as a rival to a VW ID3. The boot isn’t huge, but at a claimed 411 litres it’s very respectable. There’s also a small cable-storage cubby under the bonnet. Rear seat space is excellent, as is headroom, so carrying four or five adults isn’t an issue.
On the Premium trim level, the car also comes with 22kW AC charging capacity, which means that for those charging at work on a three-phase supply, charging should be relatively quick.
Smart is also including a three year, 30,000 mile service package with all cars – including fleet sales – which it hopes will reduce running costs.
Leasing A Smart 1
Intelligent Car Leasing is offering the Smart 1 for £580 a month on a 3+36 contract with 10,000 miles a year. Despite the service pack, Gensen Reports predicts a maintenance cost of £42 a month. As a comparison, a VW ID3 costs around £34 a month, according to Gensen.
Driving A Smart 1
The influence from both Smart’s owners is clear from the off. Mercedes, which was in charge of the car’s styling, has clearly put its usual quality stamp on the cabin. Overall the interior is light and airy and almost all materials used feel premium, which isn’t always the case for cars in this class and at this list price (the highly specified Premium model has a P11D of £38,895).
The Chinese influence can be seen in the technology and particularly the infotainment system which has a boggling amount of functionality. But the downside to all the functionality is that the operating system isn’t the most intuitive and until later in the year, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto won’t be available (a free over the air update is promised).
One way round the operating system is the use the voice control function, but while this is generally good, it doesn’t allow you to verbally turn off the overly noisy and intrusive safety systems such as speed warnings and lane keeping, this has to be done manually.
Out on the road, it’s immediately evident that the Smart 1 is a very well developed car.
The ride comfort is excellent and the car is stable and poised when cornering – even if the steering has a strangely inconsistent weight to it. Go a bit quicker and the Smart’s a fun car to use. This is helped by the 272hp power which means the car is genuinely fast if you want it to be.
One pedal driving is possible, although the function is very deep in the menu system. The Smart 1 is also competitively efficient. We saw a 4.15 m/kWh figure over mixed driving which would have given a real-world range of 257 miles.
Overall the Smart comeback is a success. The offer is well-judged for company car users with the high quality feel and feature overload making for a compelling package.
FleetandLeasing.com Verdict On The Smart 1
Impressively equipped, fast, efficient and good value. Still want that Volkswagen ID3?
- Model: 1 Premium
- Power: 272hp
- Torque: 343Nm
- Max speed: 112mph
- 0-62mph: 6.7s
- Official range: 273 miles
- Test range: 257 miles
- CO2 emissions: 0g/km
- BIK tax band 2022/23: 2%