Smart EQ Fortwo Cabrio: More then just a measurement
The 2020 Smart EQ Fortwo Cabrio is more then just a long name for a small car,
After the smartphone and the smartwatch, according to Mercedes, it is high time to take buy a Smart car. The small eccentric brand has officially switched to a fully electric line-up for 2020. Smart proudly announced that they are the first brand to completely switch from fossil fuel to electric. This piqued our curiosity and we decided to test the new generation. With the feeling of go big or go home, we obviously went for the smaller EQ Fortwo cabrio. Or Smart, as most people know it.
The city is its playground
A little history lesson
The first concept of the Smart is now almost as old as yours truly. In the early 1990s, the Swiss watch brand Swatch wanted to develop a city car for the public. They started with a concept that was developed in conjuction with Volkswagen, but after a couple of issues, the opted for Mercedes to prepare the conceptcar for production. The Swatch Mercedes would be developed with an electric or hybrid drive. However, these plans proved too far ahead of their time and the choice therefore fell on a small 599cc petrol engine. Two generations and a small growth spurt of 100mm latr, and the Smart is now only available with an electric motor.
3 for the price of 1?
As a car, the EQ Fortwo convertible promises to be quite a lot. When a salesman asks you if you are looking for a car, and your answer is simply yes... Then the EQ Fortwo Cabrio is probably his choice for you. To keep it simple, we only wanted to anwer three questions during this test. Is it a true convertible? Is it a true city car? And is it a true electric car?
Only takes up half a space, and half a picture!
Big thunder, little rain?
An important aspect of any electric car is of course its range. Today distances of 250-350 km are possible in a Corsa-e or an E-208 . For the Smart this number is a bit well, smaller.. After all, there isn't much battery space when a car is just 2.69 meter in length. Still, with a range between 120 and 135 km, we never ran into any problems. After a first drive from The Hague to Utrecht, it was clear that the Smart works fine over longer distances. When we arrived after our 80 km opening trip, which was mostly on the highway, 32% of the battery pack remained. The fact that we drove without airconditioning but with the roof open would have helped. But it's still a good first outing.
When your commute is longer then 100 km, a charging point at both locations would be our advice. However, this situation isn't very common a so this will rarely become a problem. With a 22 Kw AC connection, the battery pack can be charged from 10 to 80% in 40 minutes. There is no DC fast charging option, but for an electric city (or city to city) car, this AC connection is a great choice for the Fortwo.
What a relief to be able to open the roof of a car. After the folding metal roof explosion at the turn of the millennium was over, the amount of cars with folding roofs decreased dramatically. To such an extent that we ought to tell you a little secret. The Smart is the only fully electric convertible on the market at the moment! Yes, we were also suprised by that. Can the Smart call itself a convertible given its size? The answer turns out to be yes, because the Fortwo has no less than 3 unique convertible positions.
In position 1, the roof slides backwards by pressing a button. The roof can be opened up or closed over the entire “length” of the roof.
Position 2 lets the rear end, including the heated glass rear window, fold down. All this can be done while driving at highway speeds, which is ideal for the Dutch and British summers. We noticed that due to its unique shape. The first position ensures that you will be in the equivalent of a mini tornado at highway speeds. In contrast to position 2, when the air flow can run a lot smoother over and through the car.
Position 1 for the city
Position 3 is intended for the die-hard convertible driver. Those who want to experience the full wind through your hair moment. This can be done by simply disconnecting the 2 roof profiles on the Smart. Use the slider on the roof twice, and the roof profile can be lifted right out, but what then? Where do we leave the roof profile? In the tailgate of course! Smart has made a tailgate where you can safely store the 2 roof profiles. Remove 2 tensioning straps, place the profiles in them, fasten it all up and you're done! Considering that this hardly reduces the trunk space in full position 3 mode, just shows you that Smart is have been very clever with their convertible.
An excellent solution which C3 pluriel drivers would love to have!
Is the Smart a true city car, a question that before this test was about equal to the question, is water wet? However, it turns out that this might be the most difficult question to answer. With its 120 km range, it should be more than enough for the city. The turning circle is so small that it should be expressed in millimeters. But still, we noticed that one problem prevents us from giving it a full 3 out of 3, the blind spot. Its blind spot is simply too big, with the roof closed or in convertible position 1, the rear right visibility is quite poor. Normally this isn't a big problem and on the highway it is possible to drive on your mirrors. But in the city, with many cyclists and pedestrians around you at 90 degree turns, this is truly an oversight. Our natural reaction was to lower the roofand try to look over it, but this is far from ideal. Does this prevent us from saying that the Smart is a good city car, absolutely not! But does this prevent us from saying it's the perfect city car, unfortunately yes.
The perfect match?
To start with, the Smart EQ Fortwo Cabriolet is a very well thought-out car, the range will scare people away, but it shouldn't. With an electric range of 130 km, most trips aren't a big problem. The interior has a nice quality to it and some cool details such as a magnifying glass on the temperature gauge. However, the multimedia screen is a bit on the small side and you can't cancel your trip with just 1 button. We also found it unintuitive to press the eco button on the text rather then the hole which is shaped for your finger. The trunk space is of course small on a car of 2.69 meters. However, it is possible to lift the fabric roof to make it easier to store groceries in the back.
As a car, the Smart is familiar with its limitations, but the solutions it offers for these are well thought out and functional. At € 26,995 for the convertible and € 23,995 for the coupé, it isn't a budget model, but as an electric car the price it is quite low. As a car it has a lot of contradictions and for a practical runabout there are better cars. But as a way to get from A to B calmly and cheerfully on a summer day, it's unbeatable!