Everyone knows the original Smart, that little two-seater EQfortwo that could squeeze into parking spaces normally reserved for motorcycles or shopping carts. Now the automaker is reborn as an all-electric brand and this is its first dedicated electric vehicle, the Smart #1.

It's an all-new compact crossover SUV, so it's also not as small as the original Smart or four-seat EQforfour, but the EV isn't huge either. We look at it closely and its size is reminiscent of, say, a slightly smaller Mercedes-Benz EQA or, perhaps, the Mini Countryman.

That's not surprising in a way, given that the Smart #1 was painstakingly crafted by designers at Mercedes-Benz. Meanwhile, Geely will assemble the car in China, as the two manufacturers have a 50% stake in the company.

In terms of potential European customers, the #1, or hashtag 1, is a practical family car, which should appeal to those considering models like the Kia e-Niro or Peugeot e-2008. The car won't come to the US since Smart exited the US market in 2019.

A whole new direction

(Image credit: TechRadar/Rob Clymo)

This car is smart's first all-electric model and is designed to take the company in a whole new direction.

If you've always loved the quirkiness of the Smart brand, there's a lot to love about #1. It's also built from the ground up on Geely's new SEA (Sustainable Experience Architecture) platform, so there's plenty to discover.

The 66 kWh battery pack in the Smart #1 launch spec offers 268 horsepower, 253 pound-feet of torque and a top speed of 112 mph in a rear-wheel drive configuration.

You will be able to charge CCS Type 2 AC from 10 to 80% with 22 kW in 3 hours. Super fast DC charging will cut that down to under 30 minutes, while the Smart #1 range should be in the 273-mile range.

hard on the outside

Close-up of rear window and roofline

(Image credit: TechRadar/Rob Clymo)

One of the biggest differences from the company's previous production Smart #1 is the space on offer.

The car measures 4,27 meters long, 1,83 meters wide and 1,6 meters tall with a 2,75 meter wheelbase, so it's certainly bulky enough to appeal to anyone with a family that needs extra space inside.

There are also big 19-inch wheels, which have been pushed to all four corners of the car because they sit on that purpose-built SEA electric architecture. This adds to the car's chunky yet upright appearance.

At the front, there are triangular-shaped LED headlights, a design theme that could also appear on later new models. The look is similar to the rear, with wraparound taillights.

In between, smooth lines are enhanced by recessed door handles. Meanwhile, a really nice design is the floating roof, which is made even more effective by being finished in a contrasting colour.

crazy inside

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View of center display and steering wheel from front passenger seat

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Cab view from driver's door

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Close-up of the driver's screen and vent

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Center display close-up

(Image credit: TechRadar/Rob Clymo)

The interior of the Smart #1 is certainly attractive. You're immediately drawn to the floating center console, which is funky enough to remind you that you're sitting in something Smart.

There are plenty of handy little covered storage compartments here, while the seats on either side look attractive and will come with vegan trim options.

There's a central 12,8-inch touchscreen with a 1920 x 1080 resolution and it looks great thanks to graphics that emphasize Smart's slightly goofy border. This provides access to a host of infotainment settings, including personalized driver profiles, navigation, climate and audio controls.

AI-based voice commands are also expected to be popular, as is the ability to use your phone as a key.

If you're sitting behind the wheel, you'll get a 9.2-inch Full HD digital instrument cluster, along with a 10-inch head-up display.

A suite of driver aids is also available, including adaptive cruise control with Stop & Go function, active lane keeping system, blind spot assist, motorway and traffic jam assist, as well as automatic parking assist only. and adaptive high beam assist for good measure. .

Family in every way

Rear view of Smart #1 on a podium

(Image credit: TechRadar/Rob Clymo)

The Smart #1 was designed to meet all your daily needs and definitely looks familiar, especially when it comes to entertaining passengers.

It's also an open and airy environment inside, which is always a plus if you're frequently transporting young children who get sick on a regular basis. The halo glass roof on the models we've seen helps on that front by enhancing the sense of space.

If you desperately need a distraction for fussy kids, you can easily entertain them with ambient lighting. This comes with a choice of 64 colors and no less than 20 different lighting levels, offering the possibility of improving the interior environment.

Useful if you're trying to lift your spirits on a long trip while having to make lots of bathroom stops along the way.

As you'd expect from a family-oriented car, the Smart #1's luggage capacity is solid, with a boot offering between 273 and 411 liters of space, depending on whether you need to fold down the seats or not.

The rear seats also slide forward for added flexibility. A 15-litre boot offers extra storage space in the front should you need it.

closeup of headlights

(Image credit: TechRadar/Rob Clymo)

An impressive start for Smart

We haven't had a chance to drive the #1 Smart yet, but the car is impressive. It should be available for purchase later in the year and based on presentations at the Berlin reveal, there could be other cars to follow.

Again, these will be based on the SEA platform, which offers scalability for smart designers. In theory, that could mean bigger or smaller models to help drive smart's all-electric renaissance.

However, there seem to be no immediate plans for smart to relaunch the brand in the US Perhaps that's too bad, especially as the Smart #1 seems perfectly suited to the future needs of American motorists.

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