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In-depth reviews

Smart EQ ForTwo Coupe review

The Smart EQ ForTwo Coupe was refreshed in 2020, and while the updated version retains all the model's charms, significant drawbacks also remain

Smart EQ ForTwo
Overall rating

3.0 out of 5

Price
£22,225 - £23,375
Fuel Type:
Electric

Pros

  • Great fun to drive
  • Cute, stylish image
  • Competitive starting price

Cons

  • Very short range
  • Only room for two
  • 22kW max charging speed
Car typeRangeWallbox charge timeFast charge time
Electric83 miles2hrs 45mins (0-100%, 7.4kW)55mins (0-100%, 22kW)

There have been plenty of changes at Mercedes’ quirky sub-brand Smart in recent times. It stopped making petrol-powered cars back in 2020 and there’s now a Smart #1 family SUV in its range, with a larger-still #3 model also heading our way. That’s not to say everything’s all-new at Smart nowadays; at the time of writing, you can still buy an ‘EQ’-branded version of Smart’s long-running ForTwo two-seater city-car.

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As well as the EQ ForTwo Coupe, there’s also a Cabrio version with a folding fabric roof – although, much like the Fiat 500C electric, it’s more a glorified sunroof than the traditional drop-top you’ll find in something like a Mini Electric Convertible. The current car benefits from the changes made in its minor mid-life update in early 2020, although the electric powertrain under the metal was left unchanged, meaning the models' underwhelming driving range and charging times remain. 

For the time being at least, the Smart EQ ForTwo does have the USP of being the UK’s most affordable new electric car. With rivals like the Volkswagen e-up and Seat Mii Electric no longer being on sale, the EQ ForTwo also has little direct competition at this price point. However, far cheaper electric quadricycles such as the Citroen Ami may be worth looking at if you’re only looking to make short trips around town. While prices haven’t been confirmed yet, it’s expected the upcoming four-seater Dacia Spring city car will cost around the same as the Smart when it goes on sale in 2024.

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The Smart EQ ForTwo hasn’t had any major design changes since its 2020 facelift, though the car’s smooth nose, fancy tail-light graphics and stylish alloy wheels help to disguise the car’s age. Likewise, the curved centre console (complete with its new-for-the-update smartphone tray and pair of cupholders) injects a bit of flair into the cabin. What hasn’t stood the test of time as well is the somewhat clunky infotainment system: it dates back to Smart’s collaboration with Renault, and feels badly out of date next to rival systems.

To drive, the revised ForTwo is almost the same as its predecessor, which is unsurprising given there were no changes to the drivetrain. It's rear-wheel drive and gets from 0-62mph in a leisurely 11.6 seconds, but a relatively light weight, a turning circle tighter than a London taxi's and instant electric-motor torque make it a fun and satisfying car to dart about town in.

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The electric motor is pretty quiet and the ForTwo is generally comfortable, but its short wheelbase means it's prone to bouncing around on bad roads; it's a good idea to use its agility to dodge potholes instead of driving over them. The car isn't completely out of its depth on the motorway, but realistically its range will shrink even further at sustained high speed; this should be seen as a vehicle for urban commuting or suburban shopping and social trips only.

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With charging speed limited to 22kW by the on-board charger, overnight charging at a home wallbox or daytime top-ups at work if possible are your best options, as the Smart can't charge any faster at high-speed 50kW or 100kW stations.

In better news, the Smart ForTwo surely takes the crown as one of cheapest cars to run there is. There’s no road tax to pay – all electric cars are exempt – and company-car drivers pay just 2% Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) tax until at least April 2025. If you charge at home and make use of a domestic electricity tariff, it’ll cost only a few pounds to top up the batteries, as well.

There are two trim levels: ‘premium’ and ‘exclusive’, but the best value is probably found with the entry-level version, because the higher trim just adds features like ambient interior lights, leather seats and LED headlights. Even the standard-fit rear parking sensors and reversing camera feel like overkill in a car as small as the Smart.

Overall, the Smart EQ ForTwo seems ideally suited to serve as a household's second car, taking in commuting, shopping or station car-park shuttle duties, and sitting alongside a longer-range electric car or plug-in hybrid for trips further afield. On its own, though, it seems pricey for what you get compared to other small electric cars like the Volkswagen e-up! and considerably longer-range Renault ZOE.

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