Review: Smart EQ Fortwo (2018)


Affordable electric car. Very low running costs. Fun to drive around town.

Two seats and a tiny boot. 70-mile range. Expensive compared to a petrol Smart Fortwo.

Smart EQ Fortwo (2018): At A Glance

The Smart EQ Fortwo is an electric two-seater capable of covering just 70 miles between charges. Almost a polar opposite to the Mercedes-Benz EQC, the electric Smart is ideal for those who want to bimble around town with minimal running costs without the requirement for any great practicality.

A rival to the Renault Zoe and the Skoda Citigo-e iV, the EQ Fortwo starts at around £16,500 following the Government's plug-in car grant, making it considerably more expensive than a petrol-engined Smart Fortwo. It's more affordable than many electric cars though and will be extremely cheap to run. It's also exempt from the London congestion charge, while road tax is also free.

Unlike the Zoe, you buy the battery with the car - which means no monthly battery rental fees. Charging takes 2.5 hours using a standard 7kW home charger, which a 22kW fast charger will take it to 80 per cent in around 40 minutes.

You get the same funky looks as the standard Smart Fortwo, while buyers can choose from coupe or cabriolet versions. The latter is unique - there are no other electric convertibles on the market, meaning it's the ultimate choice for eco wind-in-your-hair motoring.

Inside, you'll find just two seats, and a tiny boot. It's a fairly basic yet quirky cabin, with everything logically laid out. The seats are comfortable enough and access is easy thanks to wide opening doors.

The EQ Fortwo is powered by an 82PS electric motor positioned in the rear of the car, driving the rear wheels. Instant torque (all 160Nm of it) means it will surge forward around town, taking 11.5 seconds to reach 62mph. It's really good fun in an urban environment, with good visibility and a tiny turning circle allowing you to dart in and out of traffic easily.

Top speed is limited to 80mph, although the electric Smart soon starts to feel out of its depth at higher speeds.

As one of the cheapest routes into an electric car, the Smart EQ Fortwo is a likeable choice. Its limited range will put off many buyers, as will its restricted practicality. But for its niche audience - urbanites who lives and work in the city - it's a strong choice.

What does a Smart EQ Fortwo (2018) cost?

Smart EQ Fortwo (2018): What's It Like Inside?

There's plenty of room in the cabin for two people, with two comfortable seats providing a fairly high and upright seating position. The wide-opening doors make access easy, although the steering wheel can be adjusted for height but not reach. It's worth trying for size before parting with your money.

It's all pretty basic inside, feeling more like the Renault Twingo on which it's based rather than a Mercedes-Benz city car. There's little in the way of premium finishes, although there's a reasonable amount of kit as standard - including a seven-inch navigation system.

The navigation is a bit frustrating to use, but Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard - meaning you can use navigation apps on your phone instead.

A large speedometer positioned behind the steering wheel gives you no excuse for speeding, while a small pod positioned on the dash tells you how much electricity you have left. Buttons on the steering wheel allow you to control the audio and cruise control.

It's a strict two-seater. Buyers with even the occasional need to carry more than two people should look at alternatives like the Smart EQ Forfour or Renault Zoe.

There's a reasonable amount of storage, though, including two useful cup holders, a tiny glovebox and some small door pockets. An official 350 litres of boot space (340 litres for the convertible) sounds pretty good compared to conventional city cars like the Volkswagen Up, but it's an awkward shape, leaving little room for shopping bags. 

Standard specification (from launch):

The Smart EQ Fortwo Prime Premium features heated seats, leather upholstery, cruise control, 15-inch alloy wheels, rear parking sensors, smart media system with navigation.

Opting for the Prime Premium Plus pack adds ambient lighting, a centre armrest, LED head and taillights, front fog lights, automatic lights and wipers and a rear-view camera.

Child seats that fit a Smart EQ Fortwo (2018)

Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.

Which car seat will suit you?

What's the Smart EQ Fortwo (2018) like to drive?

If you've never driven an electric car, you'll be pleasantly surprised by how easy and fun the Smart EQ Fortwo is to drive around town. It has a single-speed gearbox with maximum torque available as soon as you press the accelerator - meaning it surges forwards with no hesitation... no seeking for the right gear, no waiting for the revs to build, it will just go.

There's little in the way of noise and the Fortwo's compact dimensions means it slots into gaps easily while parking is a breeze. A tiny 6.95-metre turning circle helps - although you might be surprised at how poor rear visibility is, especially on the convertible model when the roof is left up. Fortunately a rearview camera is available as part of the Premium Plus pack.

The Fortwo's compact dimensions results in a rather harsh, jiggly ride - picking up lumps and bumps in the road and passing them into the cabin.

Once above 30 or 40mph, the EQ Fortwo soon starts to run out of oomph - and on the motorway it feels well out of its comfort zone. Its tridion safety cell means it will be more safe than you'd expect in a high-speed collision, but it still feels unnerving when you're in front of a lorry with very little car between you and it.

Driving at high speeds will see the remaining range drop at an alarming rate. It's safe to say that this isn't a car intended for the motorway commute.

Charging the EQ Fortwo is simple, using a charging port positioned where you'd find a fuel filler cap on a normal car. A four-metre-long charging cable can be plugged into a conventional three-pin socket and will charge the car to 80 per cent in around six hours.

For faster charging, a five-metre cable enables faster 7kW charging, topping it up in around two and a half hours. A public rapid charger - such as those used at motorway services - can charge it to 80 per cent in less than 40 minutes.

Smart offers a mobile phone app which lets you monitor the EQ Fortwo's charging status remotely, as well as adjust climate control settings.

What have we been asked about the Smart EQ Fortwo (2018)?

Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.

Ask HJ

What is the smallest EV car available?

What is the smallest EV car available? Closest in size to a Hyundai i10 preferred.
The Smart EQ Fortwo and EQ Forfour are the smallest along with the Renault Zoe. Or there's the Volkswagen e-Up, SEAT Mii Electric or Skoda Citigo-e iV. There is also the new Honda E.
Answered by David Ross
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