What's the used Smart ForFour EQ hatchback like?
In some ways it’s the small city and urban runabout cars that should benefit the most from the ongoing electrical revolution. Those cars designed to cover short distances in towns, often in dense traffic, are just the sort to need and to benefit from zero emissions powerplants, and provided you have access at either end of your journey to a charging point they seem to make excellent sense to the consumer too.
The Smart ForFour is the lesser-known sibling of the Smart ForTwo, that diminutive two-seater city car that comes in at under 2.7m in overall length - about the size of an iPhone. The ForFour adds two more seats and two more doors, with a resultant and inevitable growth in size but an increase in overall usefulness. Usually, it is powered by the same engine options as the smaller car, a choice of two petrol units. However, the recent introduction of an electric ForTwo paved the way for the electrically powered ForFour, known initially as the ED but more recently as the EQ. Its claimed range is 99 miles, which is a lot less than the figures quoted for rivals such as the Renault Zoe and Nissan Leaf, but of more interest is its real-world range: when we tested the car as part of our Real Range procedure it managed just 57 miles.
To drive, the ForFour EQ is nippy around town, and its turning circle is wonderfully tight. Its steering is light, and it’s easy to park. It’s not the last word in dynamism, though, despite having a lower centre of gravity than other ForFours, this brought about by having its battery pack low down in the car’s chassis. It actually rides better than the standard petrol-engined cars, too, but alas its ride can still be both bouncy and jiggly over broken surfaces, and it doesn’t really ever settle down.
Inside, the driving position suffers for not having an adjustable steering wheel. The cabin is solidly constructed, with an attractive array of glossy plastics set against a fabric dash, although it’s difficult to ignore some of the cheaper-feeling, Renault-derived switches that are dotted about. Space up front is plentiful, even for taller drivers, but the rear has limited room for two passengers, especially if they’re lanky. The optional panoramic sunroof can also eat into head room. Boot space is fairly poor, less than you’d get in rivals like the Zoe and the Volkswagen e-Up. The rear seats do fold in a 50/50 fashion, though, and the floor is nicely flat with all the seats down.
Find a used Smart ForFour in the What Car? Classifieds here