Smart calls this car the Fortwo Electric Drive, but they shorten Electric Drive to an acronym (ED) on the side of the car and in some of their literature. Now ED doesn’t always have the most positive connotation in my books, and I was fearing that driving an electric car from Smart could be the automotive equivalent of erectile dysfunction. I’m here to tell you it wasn’t a limp experience at all.
While the Fortwo has received some mildly revised bodywork, the car obviously remains instantly recognizable. The Fortwo’s body panels are polymer – yes, you can deform them by pushing on them gently with your hand – just like the Saturns of yesteryear. However, you can see the metal safety cell, which is highly engineered and structured to keep the driver and passenger safe.
There’s a front “hood” – it simply pops off and hangs there from a nylon strap – to access vehicle fluid reservoirs. Try as I might, I could not get that panel to pop back into place properly after I opened it. You can see the misalignment in my headlight picture – consider that user error on my behalf, not a car fault.
There’s no getting around the tallish design, though it’s just an illusion as the Smart is actually a relatively short car, height-wise. It’s just that much shorter in length than virtually anything else out there (2.69 m!), and that gives it a taller appearance. Up front, it gets signature LED driving lights and a handsome set of white 15-inch rims complete the package.
The Fortwo feels remarkably spacious inside, and once you’re in, it’s easy to forget the actual external dimensions of the Smart Fortwo. Fit and finish lean toward entry level. The plastics and textures feel cheap, the fabric on the dash gives the interior a strange rental-car/hotel lounge aura, there are plenty of sharp edges and interesting gaps between some panels, and to top it all off, there is a large exposed bolt head under the dash. The whole thing is simple, straightforward, basic and none too pretty – but somehow it all works.
Need a bit more room? Quick Spin: Kia Soul EV
The Smart’s fabric seats are heated and quite comfortable, but are not very well bolstered. Perhaps this is Smart’s way of telling us to take it easy around corners? We’ll see. Straight ahead is a speedometer and a very crunchy-looking amber monochrome driver information screen. Centrally mounted on top of the dash are two gauges – one for battery capacity and one for current energy usage (in percentage). There’s a manual climate control system – it works well, but the fan is irritatingly loud, even at the lowest setting – and a stereo system with an interface that feels like it is a couple of decades old. It feeds from AM, FM, USB and auxiliary sources.
There’s no centre console, but you’ll find a couple of cupholders, the “gear” selector, the ignition and a parking brake lever between the seats – there’s also a 12V plug under the dash.