Smart #1 long-term test: report 5

The #1 is the first offering from the reborn Smart brand. We’ve already given it a five-star rating, but what’s it like to live with day-to-day? We're running one to find out...

Smart #1 rear cornering

The car Smart #1 Premium Run by Mark Pearson, used cars editor

Why it’s here To see if the trendy #1 cuts it in everyday use and how it stacks up against its many polished competitors in this growing class

Needs to It’ll need to dispatch commuting, work and family life without any range anxiety issues and cope with a wide variety of duties

Miles covered 3295 Price £38,950 Target price £38,950 Price as tested £38,950 Official range 273 miles Test range 220 miles

6 December 2023 – More than just a pretty face

So far, all who have eyed up my Smart #1 like its looks. I think there are hints of the Mercedes EQA about its flanks, and that’s not wholly surprising when you discover that the #1 was styled by a team led by Kai Sieber, who previously penned models for Smart’s co-owners, Mercedes

Smart #1 front three-quarters

I had the chance to speak to him recently, and he told me how good design must touch the heart as well as the brain. He said the #1 is more premium than any Smart before it, and its design embodies love, in the form of attraction, purity, through its clean shape, and unexpected details, to please onlookers.

I'm not quite sure what all of that means but, if the evidence of the people I’ve met is anything to go by, it certainly seems like the #1 appeals to the heart. 

Smart #1 journey display

It appeals to the head, too. I’m impressed by its range, which in the real world I’d put between 217 and 245 miles. Its efficiency, which you can think of as the electric equivalent of miles per gallon, equates to around 3.8 miles per kWh in everyday use, which by modern standards is good. 

Having said that, a recent and rather taxing 55-mile motorway dash saw that figure drop to just 3.0 miles per kWh, with an indicated 77 miles of range used up in the process. Then again, such journeys are not going to elicit the best figures from any electric car, and nor would they from a conventionally powered one. Fortunately, most of my motoring is urban.

Smart #1 Mark driving

Mind you, that my #1 isn’t even more efficient generally might be down to its weight; it's actually a little heavier than EVs like the similarly-sized Volkswagen ID 3 and, more surprisingly, the larger Tesla Model 3

However, despite the avoirdupois, driving it is always a pleasant experience, made better by a recent over-the-air update that seems to have removed the driver-attention alert that would bong incessantly if you took your eyes off the straight-ahead for even the merest moment. I had become afraid to move my head at all, for fear of setting it off, but now I am once again free to converse with my passengers and catch the glances of pedestrians as they admire my car’s clean lines. 

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