autoevolution

2020 smart EQ fortwo Review

BODY TYPE: Hatchback
For a while now, German carmaker Daimler has been advertising its smart brand as the “world's first automotive manufacturer to switch from combustion engines to electric powertrains across the board.” And for all intents and purposes, that is so.
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When smart was born way back in 1972, it was envisioned as an electric car. Because of the way things sat in the industry, it switched to internal combustion engines until 2007, when Daimler began offering one electric version for each generation.

Now, the brand is solely electric, and so is the new version shown extensively by the Germans at the end of January 2020. It is also described as a complete visual and digital revision of both the fortwo and forfour models.

1Exterior design & features

This complete revision of the smart line is not at all extensive, but it is effective. Over the years, the cars sold under this name have grown increasingly muscular, and have for long surpassed their condition of uninteresting city cars. 

The bulky look of the otherwise small car is due to the design of the wheel wells, the very short front overhangs, and the overall shape of the rest of the body.

For this new version, for the first time, smart opted to offer the front grille of the cars in the same color as the rest of the body. 

Another thing smart did for the new version was to simplify the choices available for customers. As of this year, people will be given the choice of three equipment packages - Advanced, Premium or Exclusive - a number of colors, and four new rim designs.

2Interior design, features
and passenger space

The interior has been upgraded too, but not in terms of space or materials used in the smart. What the car did get are a new infotainment system and a new center console.

Daimler decided it’s time to rid the smart of the hidden drawer at the side of the console and replaced that with a storage compartment in front of the selector lever. It should be large enough to accommodate the “largest smartphones” but can also double as a cup holder.

3Gadgets

smart debuts in the new variant the “future infotainment generation,“ a suite of technologies that allows for smartphone integration. And it all revolves around an 8-inch touchscreen located smack down in the middle of the dashboard.

Smartphone integration is achieved by means of a revamped app called EQ, just like the car. It allows anything from checking charging status to locating the vehicle in the parking lot or help with recovery in case the car gets stolen.

4Performance

Regardless of the variant, the entire smart range is powered by an 82 hp electric motor that also develops 160 Nm of torque. Linked to a battery pack, the motor can push the car forward for up to 159 km (NEDC, smart fortwo, or the equivalent of 99 miles) on a single charge. It also provides an acceleration time of 4.8 seconds.

Small in size, the battery can be recharged in certain conditions - three-phase charging – from 10 to 80 percent in 40 minutes.

5Safety

As with any other car on the market today, smart too complies with all the required rules and regulations and is fitted with the usual range of passive safety systems. What Daimler brings as an extra to the table is the range of high-tech features that should make a smart impossible to lose.

The feature the carmaker is particularly proud of is the theft recovery one. Although not a revolution in itself, it is incredibly easy to use and effective to have around.

Simply put, cars can be geofenced, and as soon as the app detects the smart left the designated area without its owner, a push notification is sent to a phone. The notification comes with “step-by-step instructions on activating recovery mode.”

6Conclusion

In the not so distant future, all smart cars will be manufactured in China. The change comes as a result of the deal struck between Daimler and Geely. Until then however, these smarts will continue to roll off assembly lines in Hambach, France.

In essence, this latest iteration of the nameplate is meant to bridge the gap between Daimler-made smarts and the ones to be assembled by the Chinese.