Smart EQ ForFour interior and comfort

Smart EQ ForFour boasts a well trimmed and generously appointed interior

Smart's parent company is Mercedes, and it's fair to say the premium German brand's eye for detail has influenced the EQ ForFour's interior. In most respects, it's identical to the petrol ForFour inside, but both versions feel a cut above the Smart's Renault Twingo sister model.

Yet this has been achieved without any of Mercedes' much-touted 'soft-feel' plastics putting in an appearance. All the ForFour's interior plastics are rigid to the touch, with either a rough textured finish or a glossy, decorative look. The upper sections of the dashboard and door panels, though, are covered in a man-made fabric that puts you in the mind of a neoprene wetsuit. It's an intriguing and effective approach to creating a pleasing interior atmosphere.

What may come as a surprise, considering how short urban journeys are the EQ ForFour's speciality, is the number of luxury features that are either standard or optional. There's a lengthy options list, too, enabling you to customise an EQ to your taste.

What does detract from comfort is the EQ's firm ride – a consequence of the stiffer suspension required to handle its electrical system's extra weight. And, while the motor is virtually silent, it means wind noise and roar from the tyres are all the more noticeable on faster roads.

Smart EQ ForFour dashboard

Take a seat behind the wheel of an EQ ForFour and you could be forgiven for wondering if you were in an electric car at all. Its dashboard is virtually identical to that of the petrol models, with only the unique right-hand-mounted 'dashboard instrument' giving the game away.

It takes the place of the petrol car's rev counter, and incorporates a battery charge meter and efficiency dial, whose needle spins around into the red sector when you're driving range-depleting fashion, but stay in the green when you're using power sparingly. It'll swing into the CHG sector when the regenerative braking system is in operation.

The instrument cluster, with its big semi-circular speedometer and colour information display, is unchanged from petrol models and is clear to read, and the retro-themed heating and air-conditioning controls are mounted separately to all other controls, so it's easy to determine the functions of all its buttons and sliders.

The controls on the steering wheel are rather bigger and more clearly labelled than you'll find on most other cars, which makes it quite instinctive to figure out how to use the cruise control, for instance, or change the radio station.

Equipment, options and accessories

The EQ ForFour is remarkably well equipped, particularly when you take its diminutive size into account. Not only is there the remote control central locking, electric windows, cruise control and air-conditioning that we take for granted these days, but also heated front seats, 15-inch alloy wheels, autonomous emergency braking (AEB), a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system, rear parking sensors and a panoramic roof with manual front and rear blinds.

The Premium Plus package adds ambient interior lighting and a centre armrest, automatic headlights and rain-sensing wipers, LED tail-lights and an LED 'light guide' to the headlights, front foglights with a cornering function and a reversing camera. There's also a Winter Pack available that adds heating to the rear seats, additional interior heat insulation and a heated steering wheel.

The rest of the options list is mostly devoted to the many different combinations of colour you can choose for the car's body panels, interior and 'safety cell'. However, lane-departure warning, DAB radio and heat-resisting rear privacy glass are all available, too.

Infotainment, apps & sat nav

The EQ Smart ForFour comes with a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Bluetooth connectivity for placing phone calls and streaming music, MirrorLink and Android Auto smartphone compatibility – but no Apple CarPlay. There is sat nav, though, with 3D mapping, a charging-point finder and three years' subscription to TomTom Live traffic services.

Smart also provides an EQ Control app, which enables you to remotely monitor your ForFour's charging rate and level, download information about your driving efficiency and operate the climate control so your car is ready for departure in advance.