Smart EQ Forfour (2019 – 2022) Review

Smart EQ Forfour (2019 – 2022) At A Glance

Honest John Overall Rating
A small EV that can carry four people will be appealing to some, but the lack of range, small boot and mixed driving experience make the Smart EQ Forfour hard to recommend.

+Relatively inexpensive. Decent equipment levels. Good in the city.

-Very limited range. Poor ride comfort. Tiny boot space.

Smart has transformed itself from a maker of small city cars with petrol engines to one that solely offers electric vehicles. Following the introduction of the Smart EQ Fortwo, it was inevitable that this larger model would follow the same route and take on the same electric powertrain. But is it a better buy than the Renault Zoe or stylish Fiat 500 Electric? Our full Smart EQ Forfour review reveals all.

One of the smallest four-seater models on the market, the Smart EQ Forfour is barely 100cm longer than the ForTwo, which means it is ideally suited to those looking for a city car that takes up as little road space as possible.

It also continues the Smart approach to exterior design, with the familiar upright body, bold grille and headlight arrangement, and two-tone body colour on many models, giving an eye-catching appearance.

The Smart EQ Forfour also follows the same layout as on previous Smarts, with the majority of the powertrain housed at the rear to leave as much cabin space as possible.

In this guise, there is an 82PS single electric motor driving the rear wheels, while a 17kWh battery provides up to 81 miles of range according to WLTP testing.

This is considerably less than key rivals such as the Renault Zoe and Volkswagen e-Up. It also offers a maximum charging rate of 22kW, but because of the relatively small battery this means it can go from 10% to 80% charge in 40 minutes.

Inside, the Smart EQ ForFour offers seating for four – as its name suggests – which is impressive for a car of this size. Those in the front get the best treatment, with plenty of space, and the wide-opening doors mean access is decent, even for those with limited mobility.

There is less room in the rear, though, with smaller doors meaning tighter access, while headroom and legroom are more restricted. However, children will have few issues and adults of average height or below will find there is enough space.

The boot capacity is more of an issue, with just 185 litres available, less than the Volkswagen e-Up and Renault Zoe. The rear seats can be folded flat to give up to 975 litres of space, but this, of course, makes the car a two-seater.

In terms of the drive, the Smart EQ Forfour is much happier in the city than on the open road. The combination of a small footprint and tight turning circle, combined with the low-speed zippiness of the electric powertrain, makes it a fun car to pilot through urban environments. In this respect, it delivers what you would want from a small EV.

Less impressive is the ride quality, which at urban speeds seems to pick up road imperfections quite easily and takes something away from its appeal in cities.

At higher speeds, the ride settles down somewhat, but here the powertrain is less capable and reaching the top speed of 81mph is a drawn-out affair.

The Smart EQ Forfour is a decent small EV in the right conditions, but even within the confines of the city it is not perfect. Very limited range and indifferent higher speed performance mean it struggles out of town, making it a car that suits a pretty small audience.

Ask Honest John

Do EVs generate heat from the batteries to warm the cabin?

"Maybe a bit of a strange question: I have a Smart ForFour EV and I notice it has a cooling system the same as a conventional petrol/diesel car. I guess this is used to cool the traction motor. Is the heat generated from it just dissapated into the air, or is it used to help heat the car through the car's heater? I ask because when I turn on the car's heater my 'range' is immediately is reduced by about a third."
Most modern EVs do produce some heat from the battery, but this is rarely sufficient to heat the cabin. Some EVs are fitted with heat pumps, which operate in the opposite way to a refrigerator - taking cold air from outside, compressing it into a condenser which then radiates heat to warm either the batteries for efficiency or the cabin to warm the passengers. Unfortunately the Smart EQ is not available with this system, so you can only warm the cabin by using the main battery.
Answered by David Ross

Can I terminate a PCP early?

"I have a Smart EQ ForFour electric car which I leased Feb 2019. The lease runs for three years. I'm a year in and I’d like to hand the car back. I have only covered 1400 miles in the last 12 months. It is nothing to do with Coronavirus."
You will need to check the terms and conditions for a voluntary temptation of the contract in the PCP documents. Usually, you will need to be at least 50% though the agreed contract before you can end the contract early. It may be possible to do it sooner, but you will be asked to pay a penalty fee to do so. Speak with the PCP provider and explain your personal circumstances. They may be able to restructure the debt (and lower the monthly payments) or provide a payment holiday to give you the breathing space you need to assess your finances.
Answered by Dan Powell
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