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Smart EQ ForTwo Coupe (2014-2019) electric motor, drive & performance

A peppy electric motor and low weight mean the Smart EQ ForTwo is quick off the mark, making it fun to drive around town

Overall rating

3.0 out of 5

Electric motor, drive & performance rating

3.0 out of 5

Price
£22,225 - £23,375
Fuel Type:
Electric
0-62mphTop speedDriven wheelsPower
11.5s81mphRear82bhp

While the EQ ForTwo isn't the fastest car in the world, a 17.6kWh lithium-ion battery and 81bhp electric motor mean urban performance is brisk enough. It weighs little more than 1,000kg, too, which translates to peppy acceleration and a 0-62mph sprint of 11.5 seconds.

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The clever packaging has allowed Smart’s talented engineers to stick with a rear-wheel-drive layout; a setup favoured by the finest modern sports cars. It gives the sensation you're being pushed rather than pulled, making the Smart decent fun to drive around town. It’s perhaps a little short and top-heavy to be considered truly entertaining, however.

Smart EQ ForTwo electric motor, 0-62mph and acceleration

Regardless of which trim you go for, there’s only one battery and electric motor combination available on the ForTwo. The 17.6kWh battery and 81bhp electric motor ensures the EQ will accelerate from 0-62mph in 11.5 seconds. That’s slower than the standard 89bhp petrol car and range-topping Brabus versions, but considerably quicker than the entry-level 70bhp cars.

Like many electric cars, the EQ ForTwo feels quick off the mark, if not quite as fast as some of its more expensive rivals. Placing the car in its Eco mode (to save some of the all-important electric range) significantly affects acceleration. As the EQ is a car designed mainly for town driving, the limited top speed of 80mph is unlikely to trouble many buyers. Providing you have enough charge, it’s happy enough on faster roads and motorways, too.

Handling

As this is a car built for urban driving, the Smart EQ excels in town. Its short wheelbase (the distance between the front and rear wheels) means it feels agile and sharp to drive. It’s incredibly easy to thread through traffic thanks to its dinky dimensions, while the short front and rear overhangs (the distance between the wheel and the edge of the bumper) and tight turning circle ensure it’s a doddle to park.

The instant acceleration gives it excellent performance away from the lights, and although it starts to run out of puff above 50mph, its 80mph top speed is enough to make it feel accomplished on the motorway.

Take the ForTwo onto faster roads, and it’ll never feel out of its depth, although the darty character that's so welcome around town makes the car feel a little twitchy at higher speeds. Still, the body doesn’t lean too much in corners, and the sharp steering ensures it’s not devoid of entertainment.

Of course, being an electric vehicle, there's no engine noise. While that may throw up unwanted creaks and rattles, the Smart’s solid build quality ensures these are few and far between. However, wind and tyre noise is noticeable at higher speeds.

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Richard is editor of DrivingElectric, as well as sister site Carbuyer.co.uk, and a regular contributor to Auto Express. An electric and hybrid car advocate, he spent more than five years working on the news and reviews desk at Auto Express and has driven almost every new car currently on sale.

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