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New Smart #1 vs used Tesla Model Y: costs

You might be tempted by a brand new Smart #1, but a year-old Tesla Model Y for sub-£40k is hard to refuse. So, which of these electric SUVs should you choose?...

Smart #1 side view

Buying and owning

Costs, equipment, reliability, safety and security

In Premium trim, the Smart #1 costs £38,950, while our year-old, used Tesla Model Y Long Range comes in at around £39,000 – for that you can expect a car in great condition that's done less than 20,000 miles. 

Alternatively, if you'd rather buy on PCP finance, the #1 will set you back £591 per month as part of a 36-month contract that also involves a £4000 deposit and an 8000-mile annual limit. If you'd like to keep the car at the end of the contract, that'll be an extra £21,935.

For the Model Y, we were quoted £670 per month as part of a 36-month contract. The deposit was also £4000 and the mileage was the same, too. At £17,862, though, the optional final payment was less, because it's expected to depreciate more slowly.

Tesla Model Y 2022 side

The #1 sits in insurance group 31, which led to us being quoted £835. The Model Y will be significantly more expensive; it's in group 48 and we were quoted £1154. 

As for servicing, every #1 comes with a free package that covers inspection and maintenance work for the first year. The model also gets a three-year/1,000,000-mile warranty and an eight-year/125,000-mile warranty for the battery. Tesla doesn't offer service packages for any of its vehicles, but we've seen independent companies charging around £180 for an interim service and £235 for a major. Every new Model Y comes with a four-year/unlimited-mileage warranty, so you'll have what's left of this with a used example. 

The #1 hasn't been around long enough to appear in our annual Reliability Survey, and the Smart brand also proved too niche to feature last year. However the Model Y placed third out of nine cars in the electric SUV class, while Tesla came 10th out of 32 manufacturers. 

Smart #1 alloy wheel

Both of these cars are generously equipped, getting adaptive cruise control, climate control and electric, heated front seats. The Model Y adds a heated steering wheel, while the #1 has a head-up display.

The #1 can charge at a maximum rate of 150kW, which is good in the grand scheme of things. However, the Model Y can charge at 210kW and it gets full access to Tesla's impressive charger network, meaning you're less likely to have to queue for a top-up.

It's also worth noting that during safety testing conducted by the independent experts at Euro NCAP, both cars received the maximum five-star rating.


New rivals, used rivals

Kia Niro EV front cornering

The Kia Niro EV is a compelling alternative to a new #1. It'll cost you similar money to buy and will go a similar distance on a single change. It's not quite as quick, plus its interior isn't as plush, but the Niro EV has a larger boot. 

Believe it or not, £39,000 grants you access to quite a few great used electric SUVs. A used BMW iX3 is an easy one to recommend, because it's great to drive, luxurious inside and can manage a respectable 253 (in summer) between charges.