Drive with us: Test driving the new smart EQ forfour

Always a brand to make bold decisions, smart made the move to a fully electric lineup at the start of 2020. Their cult following remains unperturbed, but for those newcomers wanting to make a jump into an economical, practical and fun little car, then the smart EQ forfour should be a serious consideration. 

Although the initial cost for these vehicles may be higher, the savings you will be making on fuel costs over your lease term are substantial - as well as having a hugely positive environmental impact. Let's take a more detailed look at what we thought of it...


What did we drive? 

Colour: Bodypanels in black and tridon safety cell in black
Upholstery: Black fabric with white contrast top-stitching
Transmission: Single-speed automatic
Model Line: Pulse Premium
Wheels: 16" alloy wheels 5-twin-spoke painted black with high-sheen finish
Power: Electric motor (60 kW/82 hp), 22 kW on-board charger, High-voltage battery (17.6 kWh)
0-62: 12.7 seconds
On the road price from: £17,285

Find out more about the smart model range. 



The Smart range has evolved into a series of cars that are both quirky and good looking. The ForFour is no exception – although now it's badged with a bold blue EQ emblem and features LED headlights, a big speckled grille and luxuries such as a multi-spoke leather steering wheel.

The drivers display is really simple and much like the previous smarts – a semicircle shape with your MPH going up around the outside, and then a digital display that toggles between your speed, driving efficiency, mileage and a few other options. Over to the right you have another smaller circular display which I thought was very reminiscent of that in a MINI, which details your charging information.


In terms of the rest of the cabin, the layout and design is actually really simple. You’ve got your central 7 inch touchscreen and tactile buttons for on/off, home and volume. Below this you have controls for air con and windscreen. There's also the heated seats... it's worth noting that these don’t come as standard, but are as part of the optional Winter Pack that this car was fitted with.  However, a real selling point is that this is heated seats in the front AND the back. The rear heated seats are a real luxury, and I wanted to make sure to mention that even in much more premium vehicles, the option for heated seats in the back isn’t always offered so this is a massive plus for the ForFour.

Pulse Premium models come with a panoramic sunroof that offers a ton of additional light to the cabin and stems from the front to the back (not quite to the extent of the Range Rovers), with 2 separate manual sunblinds for the front and the back. Now, being a Smart its anything but conventional, so the rear windows don’t open up and down, but rather open on a hinge – which could offer peace of mind when travelling with young kids or perhaps even jumping-prone pets.


The Drive

Unlike the petroleum Smarts we’re used to, when starting there’s no engine noise - the only indication that the car is on is a small *click* and a green pop up saying ‘Ready’ on the drivers display. Okay then… off we go.

When you set off, there’s a real kind of low ‘hum’ of the electric motor, highlighting the fact that this isn’t going to be like driving the previous petrol Smarts. As you pick up speed this hum seems to either dissipate or get lost under any road noise – which to be honest isn’t too bad at all. 


The EQ is powered by a 60kW electric motor and its high-voltage battery (17.6 kWh). It goes from 0-62 in 12.7 seconds and has a top speed of 81 miles per hour. Whilst these numbers don’t sound particularly rapid, the Smart goes incredibly well; with instantaneous acceleration and light handling making for a really enjoyable drive akin to a (much more premium) Go-Kart.

The centre armrest gets a little bit in the way when you’re putting the handbrake on and off, so I found it more comfortable to just raise the armrest out of the way whilst I was driving. Summer tyres are fitted as standard for increased comfort and a sportier drive, and the automatic single-speed transmission is smooth and makes the whole experience even easier. 


For those wondering what is meant by a single-gear transmission; when driving a conventional petrol or diesel automatic vehicle you will still feel (even if just infinitely) small change as the car moves up and down gears – but with an electric vehicle there is no risk of stalling meaning no clutch and therefore no need for various gears. This is true for most electric vehicles regardless of the make –so drivers of a Tesla, Jaguar I-PACE and even a Peugeot e-208 will all experience the same. 

Pulse Premium models also benefit from a reversing camera which is good overall – but rest assured the car is small and the visibility is great – so it’s certainly not something you should worry about being without and even entry-level models benefit from rear parking sensors.


Space and Practicality

Whilst still compact, the ForFour offers more space for luggage and (as the name suggests) room for up to 4 people. There’s a good amount of room in the front, and again a fairly decent amount in the back. The front seats are sporty and comfortable and easy to get in to; however the rear seats slightly lack under-knee support and it might be a bit snug for anyone over 6ft. 

Again shying away from convention, the rear seats fold completely flat in a 50/50 configuration – meaning a really useful bit of space for luggage if you’re not carrying passengers. Door bins aren’t massive, but they actually have a really nice curved design with netting meaning that you can fill them up higher without the risk of everything toppling out. You’ve also got a couple of cup holders and some additional storage with a sliding cover that can be hidden away.

The Smarts battery is in the boot – meaning that it eats into the boot capacity (as do the charging cables even when stored in a bag). But when you open up those rear seats and remove the parcel shelf, the space again does become quite practical.

Charging and Range

So all of the EQ Smarts have a 22kW on-board charger, which when connected to fast charger smart Wallbox, will charge from 10-80% in less than 40 minutes. You can also get a charging cable package which provides the cables for any charging situation; domestic sockets, wall boxes or public charging station. Full charging times for the full Smart EQ range are as follows:


The claimed WLTP mileage at full charge is between 71.4 and 80.7 miles. We started off our journey with just shy of a fully charged battery and a 77 mile range. The Smart has always thrived in city driving and the EQ is no exception – especially with the use of ECO mode, the smart held on to the miles well. It was also more than happy nipping about at 40 during a drive on wide, winding lanes - It was just when we ventured out on to the motorway (and to a notoriously steep and long hill near Carparison HQ) that we noticed a bigger drop in miles.


Technology and Safety

All models get cruise control with a speed limiter as standard, alongside automatic climate control, automatic wipers, and rear parking sensors. There are also standard safety and assistance features such as Hill Start Assist, heated rear window and Active Brake Assist - which is a forward collision warning system with antonymous braking intervention.

Most importantly for many, all of the models also get what is known as Cross Wind Assist – which is a safety system designed to protect drivers from sudden gusts of wind on the road. This is a really reassuring piece of technology for those who are worried that the Smart car is too small for everyday driving.

The car we drove was also fitted with an optional Winter Package – featuring:

  • Extended interior insulation on the door paneling and cockpit
  • Heated seats for front and rear passengers
  • Heated steering wheel
  • Energy-efficient climate control system with enhanced air recirculation function
  • Function for pre-entry climate control, programmable via the on-board computer or via the Smart EQ control app

Model Lines:

Here are some of the main features of the Smart ForFour lineup…

Passion Advanced

  • 15” 4-spoke alloys
  • Halogen headlamps with integrated LED daytime driving lights
  • Rear parking sensors
  • Comfort Pack – Height adjusted steering wheel and electric mirrors
  • Front armrest
  • Android Auto and MirrorLink
  • 7” touch display
  • Navigation
  • Upholstery in black fabric with double-stitching in white, dashboard and door centre panels in black fabric and accent trim in black/grey

Pulse Premium (in replacement/addition to passion advanced)

  • 16-inch 5-spoke high sheen black alloys
  • Electric heated door mirrors
  • Colour coordinated door mirror caps (to match tridon safety cell colour)
  • Panoramic roof with sun-blinds
  • Retainer belt on passenger seat
  • Storage net on centre console
  • Brushed stainless steel sports pedals
  • Review camera

Prime Exclusive (In addition/replacement to pulse premium)

  • 16" 8-Y-spoke alloy wheels painted black with high-sheen finish
  • Full-LED headlamps with main & dipped beam plus integral indicator & daytime running lights
  • Rain/light sensor
  • Ambient lighting
  • Automatically dimming interior mirror
  • Door openers on the inside in matt chrome
  • Velour floor mats in black
  • Heated seats for driver and passenger
  • Leather seats

Edition One

  • Selected colour package asphalt grey: bodypanels in asphalt grey, tridion safety cell in asphalt grey
  • Radiator trim in black
  • High-gloss black car film at the sides specific to edition
  • BRABUS front spoiler and side sills
  • High gloss back accents and red air intakes
  • Rear apron in asphalt grey with high-gloss black rear diffuser insert specific to edition with red highlights
  • 16" alloy wheels BRABUS Monoblock XI wheels
  • BRABUS shift knob specific to edition
  • BRABUS black velour floor mats