Smart Forfour EQ review

Costs & verdict

Smart Forfour EQ front space
Review continues below...

Costs & verdict

Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is

The Smart Forfour is actually one of the cheapest routes into electric car ownership, beaten only by the smaller Fortwo. It will save you a few thousand pounds over the Volkswagen e-Up, and while the Renault Zoe isn’t that much more than the Forfour if you lease its battery, it’s a lot more if you wish to buy it outright (click here to read our Zoe review for a better understanding of battery leasing versus buying outright).

Although the Zoe has a much bigger range, that’s simply down to its larger, 41kW battery (the Smart’s is 17.6kW) and not because the Forfour is any less efficient. In fact, according to our tests, the Forfour EQ uses energy at an identical rate to the Zoe, so while you’ll be charging it more often because it can hold less charge, the amount you’ll spend on electricity should work out very similar.

How long does it take to charge the Forfour EQ? That depends on whether you opt for the 7kW charging version, which takes two and a half hours from a home wallbox, or the slightly more expensive 22kW option, which will charge in just 40 minutes. We’d opt for the latter to get the extra flexibility.

Standard equipment is pretty good and includes LED rear lights, 15in alloy wheels, a leather-wrapped gearlever and steering wheel, leather seats, electric door mirrors, heated seats and electric windows.

The Premium Plus equipment line package isn’t too expensive and adds some useful extras, such as the rear-view camera we mentioned earlier, so it’s worth considering.

The Forfour isn’t rated as highly for safety as the Renault Zoe. It received a four-star rating from Euro NCAP, compared with the Zoe’s five stars, with a far weaker score for adult occupant protection and weaker child occupancy protection. You get automatic emergency braking as standard, though, while lane-keeping assistance is a reasonably priced option.

A three-year, unlimited-mileage warranty is standard on the Forfour, and the EQ’s battery is covered for up to eight years or 62,500 miles – longer than the five years or 60,000 miles you get with the Zoe.

Smart Forfour EQ infotainment
Smart Forfour EQ front cornering
Open Gallery12 Images

Verdict

The Smart Forfour has undoubted plus points. For a start it's one of the least expensive electric cars on sale to buy outright, undercutting both the Renault Zoe (if you don’t lease the battery) and the VW e-Up. It's also zippy and easy to drive in town, thanks in part to its super-tight turning circle, and it's pretty well equipped, too. However, it's not all rosey. The ride and handling aren't very good, the boot is tiny, there's not a vast amount of space inside, but worst of all for an electric car, the range is very poor next to its best rivals. Unless you literally need an electric car solely for town, the range issue is the biggest reason that we’d suggest going for the Renault Zoe instead.

  • Cheap to buy outright
  • Tight turning circle
  • Relatively well equipped
  • Poor range
  • small boot
  • Bouncy ride and iffy handling