All-electric Smart #1 SUV available to order from December

Tiny city car firm launches biggest ever model with 273-mile range and seating for five as it repositions itself in all-electric segment

Smart has officially lifted the wraps from the car which signals its transition to an all-electric manufacturer - the Smart #1 SUV.

Order books for the rival to the VW ID.3 and Hyundai Kona electric will open in December and while prices are still to be confirmed, it’s likely to be start at just over £30,000 to match those competitors.

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The first 100 which will arrive in the UK will be the Launch Edition models. These feature bespoke design details inspired by the Concept #1 that debuted in Munich last year. As was the case with the German show car, the Smart #1 Launch Edition — which is based upon the range topping #1 Premium — is painted white and comes with a contrasting gold roof featuring a unique chequered pattern. Those same graphics have also been incorporated into the 19-inch alloys. Inside the cabin of the Launch Edition, there’s bespoke interior trim colours and two-tone leather upholstery, all of which distinguish it from the standard #1.

What about the rest of the #1 range?

The most affordable #1 looks set to be the Pro+ model. It’s pretty well specced, with an autonomous parking feature, adaptive cruise control, matrix LED headlights, a wireless smartphone charging pad and a 13-speaker Beats stereo. So pretty well specced.

#1 range and charging

Based on an all-new electric architecture from Geely, called SEA — which will form the platform for all subsequent models in Smart’s forthcoming new range — the #1 is fitted with a 66kWh battery. Smart says that will be good for up to 273 miles on a full charge. That said, in the future the model range is likely to include models with even more affordable battery options.

As for charging, because the #1 is fitted with 150kW rapid charge capability, you’ll be able to top the car’s 66kWh from 10-80% in under 30 minutes. Alternatively, plug it into a 22kW AC charger and 10-80% will take around three hours.

Power from the battery is sent to a single rear-mounted motor which produces 268bhp and 253lb ft of torque. Smart has confirmed the #1 will top out at 112mph, but it is yet to confirm a 0-62mph time. But safe to say it’ll be no slouch.

How big is the #1?

Remember when Smart cars used to be titchy? Well this isn’t. The #1 is 4.27 metres long, making it the largest Smart ever. What that confirms is Smart will expand beyond its city car roots into more larger segments.

And not surprisingly, unlike the four-seat Concept #1, the production #1 is a full five-seat SUV. As you would expect, it also places an emphasis on practicality as well as style. Given the car’s overall length, its 2.75-metre wheelbase is relatively long. That in turn will help to maximise passenger space inside the cabin.

And here’s where it gets interesting from a space perspective. Although the #1 is similar in size to a Mini Countryman, Smart say there’s as much space inside as a Mercedes E-Class executive saloon. If, indeed, the designers have managed to pull that off, well hats off.

As for storage, while the conventional boot offers up to 411 litres of stowage, there’s also an additional 15 litres in the front storage area.

Smart #1 Styling

The production model is very close to that of the Concept #1, and highlights Smart’s future design direction. That means a lot of smooth surfaces, allied to a simple lighting signature at the front and the rear, and rounded off by a sleek roof design that swoops down over the car’s C pillars. Inside, there’s a similarly contempory and minimalist design. A central 12.8-inch touchscreen dominates the dash. As you’d probably expect, this also acts as a focus on connectivity as the infotainment can be upgraded through over-the-air software updates. Alongside this screen is a 9.2-inch full HD digital dash and a 10-inch head-up display.

Price and ordering

No price has been announced but an educated guess would be that the Smart #1 will start at around £32,000, based on Smart indicating the #1 will go head-to-head with EVs similar to the Volkswagen ID.3 and Hyundai Kona Electric.

That £32k figure is likely to be close to entry level at initial launch in December, with the Launch Edition commanding a premium. Lower priced models, with smaller batteries and shorter range, are sure to follow. As for ordering, buyers will be able to do it all online through Smart’s website.

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