New Smart #1 and BYD Atto 3 vs Kia Niro EV: practicality

The #1 is a new type of Smart: an electric SUV. But it faces competition from another fresh face and an established favourite...

Smart #1 rear seats

Space and practicality

Front space, rear space, seating flexibility, boot

The Smart #1 is the shortest by around 15cm, so surely it’s the least spacious inside? Well, in one important aspect it is (and we’ll come to that), but it’s actually the most accommodating for rear passengers. A couple of six-footers will fit absolutely fine, with more leg room than in the other two cars, plus plenty of head room.

Tall side windows provide a good view out, and there’s even enough space under the front seats for a pair of size 10s. Foot space in the Kia Niro EV is less impressive, but in other respects it’s almost as roomy in the back as the #1 and, like its rivals, has a flat floor to make life easier for a middle rear passenger.

BYD Atto 3 rear seats

Surprisingly, despite being the longest of the trio, the BYD Atto 3 has the least rear space. This isn’t a deal-breaker (a couple of taller adults will still fit), but it certainly isn’t a selling point.

Fortunately, boot space is more impressive in the Atto 3. Six carry-on suitcases fit below the parcel shelf, and the boot floor is height-adjustable; in its highest setting, there’s only a small lip at the entrance. The Niro has a height-adjustable floor, too, and its boot is even bigger than the Atto 3’s, swallowing one extra suitcase.

Kia Niro EV rear seats

The #1’s boot floor doesn’t adjust for height, but there is a sizeable amount of storage underneath for the charging cables and a few other odds and ends. That’s a good thing, because the main boot compartment can hold only a paltry three cases. True, the #1 is the only car here with some extra storage under its bonnet, but this is about the size of a lunchbox.

To help make up for this, you can slide the rear seats forwards (the backrests can be inclined, too) when you need to carry lots of luggage. The #1 is also the only one with a ski hatch, allowing you to slot long items through from the boot between two rear passengers.

Boot space

Smart #1

Smart #1 boot

Boot capacity 273-976 litres (r), 15 litres (f) Suitcases 3

BYD Atto 3

BYD Atto 3 boot

Boot capacity 440-1338 litres Suitcases 6

Kia Niro EV

Kia Niro EV boot

Boot capacity 475-1392 litres Suitcases 7

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