Smart EQ ForFour (2017-2019) practicality & boot space
'More of a handy urban tool than a family workhorse' sums the Smart EQ ForFour up
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The Smart ForFour and its near-identical Renault Twingo twin were unlike any other cars on the market, with a long, narrow frame and rear-mounted engine. The EQ ForFour is the same, only exchanging the petrol engine for an electric motor and heavy battery pack.
Words like 'useful' and 'handy' come to mind when describing the EQ ForFour, but we'd stop short of saying 'practical' or 'versatile'. As an all-round beast of burden, a small hatchback like the Volkswagen e-up! is far more adaptable, but the Smart had a few tricks up its sleeve to make the ForFour easy to live with.
Smart ForFour interior space, storage & comfort
The Smart EQ ForFour has an upright driving position that makes it easy to find a comfortable posture, thanks to surprisingly generous amounts of seat adjustment. The driver's seat is adjustable for height, as is the steering wheel, although the latter offers no reach adjustment.
Thanks to the shape of the dashboard, kneeroom is generous for driver and passenger alike, although the car's narrow shape means occupants sit closer together than in most other cars. The rear doors open unusually wide (Smart claimed an 85-degree angle), and the aperture is essentially rectangular to allow easy access to the back seats.
There's only space for two, with a fixed console in the centre that provides storage and cup-holders. Headroom is in more generous supply than legroom, particularly if the driver or passenger are on the tall side. The rear side windows only open as hinged vents, too, so claustrophobia might set in. Front-seat passengers get fixed cupholders, too, and there are oddment trays front and rear, small door pockets all round and a decent glovebox.
There's no escaping the fact that boot space is tight in the EQ ForFour, although it's no more limited than in petrol-powered versions. There's 150 litres of room for luggage in a flat-floored boot situated above the EQ's electric motor and battery pack – rather less than the 250 litres offered by the Volkswagen e-up! and nothing like a match for the 338-litre Renault ZOE. If you go looking for extra storage at the front end of the car, you'll not find any.
However, there are solutions if you want to carry bulky loads. The rear seats flip down to form an extended load bay, with 975 litres available in total – actually beating the e-up!'s 951 litres if not drawing close to the 1,225-litre ZOE. The boot opening is quite narrow, though, and although there's no real loading lip to speak of, the boot floor is quite high with that motor lurking beneath. A clever touch is the provision to fold one or both of the rear seats in such a way that tall items can be carried in place of passengers.
In This Review
- 1VerdictDespite mediocre battery range, modest carrying capacity and a firm ride, the Smart EQ ForFour is a likeable electric city-car package
- 2Range, battery & chargingWith a real-world range of less than 70 miles, the Smart EQ ForFour really is best suited to city use
- 3Running costsSmart EQ ForFour running costs will be very low, particularly if you charge up at home
- 4Electric motor, drive & performanceThe EQ ForFour offers nippy acceleration and is easy to drive, but it's no electric 'driver's car'
- 5Interior & comfortSmart EQ ForFour boasts a well trimmed and generously appointed interior
- 6Practicality & boot space - currently reading'More of a handy urban tool than a family workhorse' sums the Smart EQ ForFour up
- 7Reliability & safetySmart EQ ForFour reliability is unproven, and although it's well equipped, its safety rating is so-so