New Smart #1 electric SUV: UK prices and specs announced

Smart has unveiled the value proposition of its crucial #1 small SUV and we have all the details…

The new Smart #1 electric SUV is here with prices starting from £35,950, and the first deliveries are expected in summer 2023. The launch of the Smart #1 represents the first step in Smart’s transformation into an all-electric car manufacturer, 25 years after the launch of the original two-seater Smart city car. 

The Smart #1  has been developed under Smart’s joint Daimler-Geely ownership and the first 100 #1s destined for the UK will be Launch Edition models, featuring bespoke design details inspired by the Smart Concept #1 that debuted in Munich in 2021. Beyond that, customers can choose from Pro+, Premium and high performance Brabus versions. 

Like the Munich show car, the Smart #1 Launch Edition is painted white with a contrasting gold roof, which also features a unique chequered pattern. The same graphics have been added to the 19-inch alloy wheels, while bespoke trim colours and two-tone leather upholstery distinguish the cabin of the special edition. It costs £39,450. 

That Launch Edition comes in at £500 more than the #1 Premium model on which it is based. Like the Premium, it’s equipped with matrix LED headlights, a 13-speaker Beats stereo, a wireless smartphone charging pad, adaptive cruise control and an autonomous parking feature.

The most affordable #1  is  the Pro+ model starting from £35,950. It includes LED exterior lighting, a 12.8-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, heated seats, a 360-degree camera system and a panoramic sunroof - all features that are present across the range.

At the pinnacle of the line-up we have the high performance Smart Brabus #1, which starts at £43,450 and features a full bodykit for sportier looks to back-up the sportier performance from its 4x4 powertrain.

Smart #1 battery and powertrains

The Smart #1 is based on an all-new electric architecture from Geely, called SEA. This will underpin Smart’s forthcoming new range of electric cars, including the Smart #3, while the #1 also sets the template for the brand’s future design direction. Auto Express understands that all of the firm’s future cars will use the same ‘#’ numbered nomenclature, which will position its products chronologically rather than by size or sector.

From launch the #1 is installed with a 62kWh (usable) battery, for a claimed headline range of up to 260 miles on the base Pro+ models. Premium and Launch Edition cars have a range of 273 miles thanks to the inclusion of a heat pump and a silicon carbide inverter to boost efficiency. The higher performance of the Brabus version reduces the range to 243 miles.

With 150kW rapid charge capability, the car’s battery can be topped up from 10-80 per cent in less than 30 minutes, while plugging in to a 22kW AC charger will return a 10-80 per cent charge in around three hours.

The battery feeds a single rear-mounted motor in the standard models, which weigh 1,820kg. It produces 268bhp and 343Nm of torque, enough for a 0-62mph time of 6.7 seconds and a top speed of 112mph. In the Brabus, the dual-motor system delivers 422bhp for a 0-62mph sprint of 3.9s.

Design and practicality

At 4.27 metres long the #1 is the largest Smart ever, highlighting that the brand is ready to expand beyond its city car roots into more larger segments. Unlike the four-seat Concept #1, the production #1 is a full five-seat SUV, and it places an emphasis on practicality as well as style. 

This is helped by a 2.75-metre wheelbase, which is relatively long given the car’s overall length and should help maximise passenger space inside; Smart claims that although the #1 is similar in size to a MINI Countryman there’s as much space inside as a Mercedes E-Class executive saloon. The #1 also features a 15-litre front storage area in the nose and a conventional boot that offers up to 411 litres of load space.

One area where the Smart #1 stays very true to the Concept #1 is the car’s styling. This new SUV highlights Smart’s future design direction, with smooth surfaces, a simple lighting signature at the front and the rear, and a sleek roof design that swoops down over the car’s C pillars. 

According to Gorden Wagener, Chief Design Officer for Mercedes-Benz, Smart’s part-parent company, “The new Smart #1 stands for the restart of the brand and showcases our new design DNA of Sensual Product. 

“It is grown up, cool and embodies beauty with smart solutions. It is new, fresh, and enchanting.”

Interior and technology

This contemporary look has been a big focus for Smart, and the same is true inside, with a minimalist design and feel. The dash is dominated by a central 12.8-inch touchscreen that also places a distinct focus on connectivity as the infotainment can be upgraded through over-the-air software updates. It’s joined by a 9.2-inch full HD digital dash and a 10-inch head-up display.

Level 2 autonomous driving capability comes as part of an Advanced Driver Assistance System package, offering adaptive cruise control with stop and go tech, lane-keep assist, blind spot, highway and traffic jam assist, automatic parking and adaptive high beam headlights. Seven airbags are also included.

The Smart #1 is set to compete against rival EVs such as the Hyundai Kona Electric, Jeep Avenger and Peugeot e-2008. Volvo, a fellow Geely brand, will produce a small electric SUV of its own on the same platform, and the Smart will be positioned as a cheaper alternative to that model. Customers can order their car entirely online or through the physical Smart dealer network, with each car arriving with an 8-year, 100,000-mile warranty for the electric powertrain.

Click here for our list of the best electric cars on sale right now...

Group website editor

Steve looks after the Auto Express website; planning new content, growing online traffic and managing the web team. He’s been a motoring journalist, road tester and editor for over 20 years, contributing to titles including MSN Cars, Auto Trader, The Scotsman and The Wall Street Journal.

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