- Petite range of city cars gets a mid-life refresh
- Revised trim structure said to be easier to understand
- Electric-only powertrain now works with more charge points
Feast your eyes on this trio of facelifted city cars from Smart: the EQ Fortwo Coupe, EQ Fortwo Cabrio and EQ Forfour. Mid-life makeovers aren’t what they once were, so if you’re immediately struggling to tell the difference between these newcomers and the models currently gracing your nearest showroom, bear with us while we explain all.
Right now, Smart continues to have the two-seater city car market essentially all to itself with the Fortwo twin, with arguably Renault’s idiosyncratic Twizy being the natural rival. With the ForFour it’s a bit different, but the forthcoming SEAT Mii Electric and Skoda Citigo-e will soon be in its crosshairs along with the existing Volkswagen e-Up. Remember its sister car, the Renault Twingo, is no longer sold in the UK.
What’s changed in the facelift?
It really is a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it refresh – at least until you get around the back. Up front are tweaked headlamps with a full LED option, which now incorporate the front indicators, a more prominent grille – that’s either smiling or gurning depending upon your perspective – and a wider front bumper with neat air-smoothing slots in the outer edges.
Round the back the changes are far fewer, but the glitzy tail lamps smack a little of being aftermarket specials.
Elsewhere there are new alloy wheel designs and a fresh palette of colours for both the bodywork and Smart’s hallmark Tridion exoskeleton.
Inside details are more scant as we’ve yet to see any photos, but we’re promised revised trims and a much-improved multimedia package – whether this owes more to Mercedes than the previous Renault-based system remains to be seen.
Simple range structure isn’t that simple
Now there’s just the electric EQ models it suggests the latest line-ups are easier for buyers to get their heads around. We’re not so sure.
Firstly, there are for trims to choose from: standard, Passion, Pulse and Prime, but each of those is available with an Advanced, Premium or Exclusive package that includes bundles of different extra-cost options. Essentially that’s 12 different combinations before you start deciding on what colour to have and whether to have the Tridion frame in a contrasting colour.
Whether this revised model hierarchy makes it to the UK intact remains to be seen, but what’s immediately clear is there’s no overtly sportier version yet announced that would be appropriately powerful enough to wear the Brabus badge.
How long does it take to charge?
Smart offers a 22kW on-board charge facility to make battery replenishment even easier. Whether this is standard-fit for British models is to be confirmed, but with it installed recharging at a public rapid charge facility will take an EQ model from 10%-80% in under 40 minutes.
Recharge rates for the 17.6kWh battery on a domestic wallbox have yet to be confirmed, but under the outgoing NEDC efficiency tests Smart claims a range of 91-98 miles for a Fortwo Coupe and 87-95 for a Forfour. Expect these numbers to drop when the more realistic WLTP testing measure is employed.
Official figures suggest 0-62mph acceleration times of 11.6 seconds for the Fortwo Coupe, 11.9 for the Fortwo Cabrio and 12.7 for the ForFour. Top speed for all three is pegged at 81mph. Clearly these are EVs designed primarily for urban life, not long B-road adventures.
How much will it cost?
British market prices are yet to be confirmed, but as a yardstick the outgoing EQ Fortwo Coupe Prime Premium cost £21,195 before the £3,500 plug-in car grant was deducted, but that price included the 22kW on-board charger as standard.
First deliveries of the refreshed range should be in early 2020 with order books opening in autumn 2019.
We’ll be among the first to test the revised Smart EQ Fortwo and EQ ForFour ranges in the coming weeks so check back with is for our full reviews