We ran a Smart ForTwo for a couple of years, and despite the quirky semi-auto gearbox and slightly bouncy ride we absolutely loved it. As a second-car urban runabout it was difficult to beat for ease of parking and generally nipping about. The spec was high as well, with climate control, leather heated seats and full length glass roof. We used it for 90% of journeys including the daily commute and preferred driving it rather than our ‘premium’ German estate car.
Smart have recently tranisitioned to an all-electric range, but it’s fair to say the current generation of cars have not engaged the public. The exterior design has become fussy and the fundamental issue of a small battery (16kWh) can’t be avoided. It’s not difficult to see why buyers have opted for the more conventional VW e-Up / Seat Mii which offer twice the range for similar money.
But in a change of direction Smart has released teaser images of its new ‘eSUV’. The first-ever smart SUV will be targeted especially towards young families who “seek sustainable electric transportation but want to remain urban avant-garde trendsetters”. It’s based on Geely’s modular SEA high-tech platform (Sustainable Experience Architecture) and offers the perfect blend of innovative design and cutting-edge technology. The iconic exterior design, for which Smart is known worldwide, comes from the Mercedes-Benz Design Network and remains recognizable – but with a completely renewed look. Design of the UI (user interface) and the UX (user experience) will also feature unique and even extravagant elements. Among those are details such as concealed door handles, illuminated elements and a large panoramic roof. The design language will be that of a high-tech battery-electric vehicle with a large, modern interior space and premium look and feel.
“The new smart SUV will be instantly recognizable as smart: ultra-modern, sophisticated and advanced in connectivity solutions,” said Daniel Lescow, Vice President Global Sales, Marketing & After-Sales smart Automobile Co., Ltd. “Most importantly, it will possess the ‘smartest’ of all characteristics: super-compact on the outside and big on the inside.”
Gorden Wagener, Chief Design Officer Daimler Group, added: “We took this great opportunity to restart the brand, and our eSUV concept embodies all of the new DNA of smart. It’s a visionary approach that creates a new identity for the brand. More beautiful, sportier and of course, much cooler than before. Icons like this concept have all the potential to turn smart into a leading design brand.”
We really look forward to seeing the full vehicle on its release.