Smart ForTwo EQ review

Category: Electric car

Section: Performance & drive

Available fuel types:electric
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RRP £20,350What Car? Target Price from£19,000
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Performance & drive

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

Right, let’s answer that burning question right from the off: how many miles will you get out of a Smart Fortwo EQ on a full charge? Officially, Smart says 84 miles, but in reality you’ll struggle to match that, especially if you take it on the motorway. That's when the range drops rapidly: it's at its most efficient around town. We managed just 59 miles in our Real Range tests, which replicates real-world driving on a mix of roads. To give you some context, a Skoda Citigo e iV will officially do up to 170 miles, although it's also likely to be less in the real world.   

What about traditional performance figures? The 80bhp electric motor, juiced up by a 17.6kWh battery, is quiet, smooth and, in typical electric car fashion, effortlessly quick from the get-go. So, while the leisurely-sounding 0-62mph time of 11.6sec isn't a headline grabber (11.9sec for the Cabrio), it is faster than its main rivals (the Citigo e iV will do 0-62mph in 12.3sec). And the minute you put your foot down there's an instant hit of shove from the electric motor that makes it feel far zippier around town than the numbers suggest. It feels less adept at motorway speeds, though; its rate of acceleration drops off markedly the nearer you get to its top speed of 81mph.

Electric cars can feed energy back into the battery when you slow down, which is great because it's energy that would otherwise be lost. The side effect of this, though, is an often inconsistent-feeling, grabby brake pedal, and it's something that the Fortwo is not immune to. Mind you, it's not as bad as in some electric cars, so you find yourself adjusting to it with time.

Where the ForTwo drops behind the pack is in its handling and comfort. While the Seat Mii Electric manages bumps surprisingly well for such a little car, the Fortwo EQ jiggles and jostles about over pretty much every imperfection the road throws up. This is more an annoyance than it is a significant fault, but'll definitely notice the lack of comfort over sharp speed bumps. It does feel a better settled the faster you go, though.

The e-Up also exhibits greater dynamism along twisty roads, with more direct steering and less body lean, but the ForTwo pulls things back with its nimbleness in town. Its light steering and ultra-compact proportions allow it to nip through the smallest of gaps easily and slot into the tightest parking spaces. In the city, then, it’s hard to beat.

All electric cars offer near-silent acceleration due to their whispering electric motors, but as you pick up speed in the Smart, that’s all undone by the shrill wind noise, especially from around the roof of the Cabrio model. There's plenty of road noise, too.

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