Smart EQ ForTwo Cabrio (2014-2019) electric motor, drive & performance
The Smart EQ ForTwo Cabrio is great fun to drive around town, but the small batteries and limited range mean it quickly runs out of puff
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The Smart EQ ForTwo Cabrio is neither the fastest or the most fun car to drive. However, with a weight of just over 1,100kg, it feels light on its feet and pleasantly quick around town. Furthermore, those wind-in-the-hair thrills are just the flick of a switch away, adding to the thrill of the punchy electric motor.
The rear-wheel-drive layout is the same setup favoured by the finest vintage and modern sports cars, and while the Smart won’t challenge a Mazda MX-5 or Porsche 718 Boxster for driving fun, it’s more entertaining than you might think.
The best bit about the EQ ForTwo Cabrio is that it offers all the performance and usability of a normal city car, in a totally silent electrified package. It glides around town with minimal effort, and will continue to hold its own on the motorway, too. Beware, however, that faster driving will see your predicted range plummet.
Smart EQ ForTwo electric motor, 0-62mph and acceleration
The Smart EQ ForTwo Cabrio is around 30kg heavier than the fixed-roof coupe, which – on paper, at least – blunts performance somewhat. There’s only one battery and electric motor combination to choose from, so you can’t add extra performance by splashing extra cash.
All that means the 17.6kWh battery and 81bhp electric motor will propel the Cabrio from 0-62mph in 11.8 seconds – or around three tenths of a second slower than the coupe. Unless you raced the two side-by-side, however, you’re unlikely to notice the difference. The motor’s instant torque ensures there’s plenty of zip around town, with lots of boost away from traffic lights and junctions.
Top speed is limited to around 80mph, which is identical to the coupe. If you plan to use the EQ ForTwo Cabrio for nipping to and from the shops or into the office, then that’s unlikely to bother you. It does mean the car runs out of puff on faster roads, however, making it unsuitable for motorway commutes.
The EQ ForTwo Cabrio’s short wheelbase (the distance between the front and rear wheels) means it feels very agile and darty around town. While this makes nipping in and out of traffic a doddle, it can make the car feel a bit twitchy at higher speeds. Rivals with a longer wheelbase are more secure on the motorway.
The 17.6kWh battery gives it an impressive turn of speed, which only adds to the fun factor, letting you sprint away from traffic lights and junctions with ease. Take the Smart out of town and the motor does start to run out of puff above 50mph, but the 80mph top speed ensures it's more than capable of the odd motorway run.
Furthermore, the standard Smart’s tight body control and sharp steering remain intact, making the EQ a surprisingly fun car to drive on a winding road. Be careful you’re not too liberal with the accelerator, however, as high-speed driving will see your predicted range plummet.
But the best bit about the EQ ForTwo Cabrio is that you get all the fun of the standard car but with a folding electric roof. Nothing quite compares to feeling the wind in your hair on a sunny summer’s day.
In This Review
- 1VerdictThe Smart EQ ForTwo Cabriolet is the only convertible electric car on sale, but the Coupe version’s compromises apply here, too
- 2Range, battery & chargingTopping up the Smart EQ ForTwo Cabrio’s batteries is easy, but the result is a limited real-world range
- 3Running costsAs with any small electric car, the Smart EQ ForTwo Cabrio will cost mere pennies to charge and run
- 4Electric motor, drive & performance - currently readingThe Smart EQ ForTwo Cabrio is great fun to drive around town, but the small batteries and limited range mean it quickly runs out of puff
- 5Interior & comfortPerceived quality is on par with other electric cars in this part of the market, but can’t match models from Mercedes
- 6Practicality & boot spaceIf you want a small electric convertible, there’s nothing else quite like the Smart EQ ForTwo. But be prepared to pack light, because practicality is limited
- 7Reliability & safetyThe Smart EQ ForTwo is a tough city car, with decent reliability and an impressive crash-test score