A perennial underachiever during its time under Mercedes-Benz ownership, small car specialist smart is entering a new era as a joint venture between its former parent company and Geely. It has just revealed its first new model in eight years, and this time it’s not a two-seater microcar, but an electric SUV – the smart #1.

Pronounced rather embarrassingly in official materials as the “hashtag one”, the #1 is the first smart to be developed by Geely; it’s also the company’s first SUV and the first new product in its portfolio since the forfour was added in 2004. It is built on the Chinese conglomerate’s Sustainable Electric Architecture (SEA), which is promised to offer greater modularity and versatility for building different models.

In the case of the #1, it uses the smaller SEA2 platform and measures 4,270 mm long, 1,822 mm wide and 1,636 mm tall, with a 2,750 mm wheelbase. At launch, the car will be offered in rear-wheel-drive form only, producing 200 kW (272 PS) and 343 Nm of torque from its single motor. No zero-to-100 km/h sprint time was quoted, but smart did claim a top speed of 180 km/h. An all-wheel-drive model will be offered at some point, although no details were given.

Under the floor sits a 66 kWh lithium-ion battery that provides a range of between 420 and 440 km on the WLTP cycle. The #1 accepts up to 22 kW of AC charging power, which can fill the battery from 10% to 80% in under three hours. Alternatively, you can use a DC fast charger with an output of up to 150 kW, which will top up the battery in less than 30 minutes.

The pebble-smooth exterior carries over plenty of the design cues from the Concept #1 that previewed the car. These include full-width LED head- and taillights (with X-shaped light strips and optional quad headlight projectors), a trapezoidal front air intake with contrasting surrounding trim, flush door handles and a “floating roof” with an inset smart badge.

Also fitted is an active grille shutter and flat-faced wheels that measure up to 19 inches in diameter, enabling the #1 to deliver a drag coefficient as low as 0.29. The car also comes with four frameless windows, which is a nice touch.

Inside, the #1 retains the show car’s minimalist interior, albeit with five conventional seats instead of the fanciful four individual pews. Highlights include a pill-shaped dashboard that flows into the tall “floating” centre console and a large 12.8-inch touchscreen, which features a globe-style interface and even a fox as an avatar. The climate controls are built into the display.

Aside from the big centre screen, there’s also a slim 9.2-inch digital instrument readout as well as a ten-inch head-up display. A panoramic glass roof, a 13-speaker Beats sound system, park assist and a sliding rear bench are available. The boot measures just 273 litres but can be expanded to 411 litres, while the front boot is tiny at only 15 litres.

Safety-wise, the #1 is offered with seven airbags and a full complement of driver assistance features, including autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go, lane centring assist, lane change assist, lane keeping assist and blind spot monitoring.

The #1 will initially be offered in a Launch Edition, limited to 1,000 units. It gets a unique chequered motif on the wheels, glass roof and the unique white leather upholstery, plus the gold exterior and interior highlights that were first seen on the Concept #1.

Like what you see? Well, time to prepare your chequebooks, then, as the smart #1 will be sold in Malaysia under Proton Edar. The national carmaker’s distributor signed a memorandum of agreement earlier in the year to become the brand’s official importer, distributor and dealer in Malaysia and Thailand.



GALLERY: smart #1 Launch Edition
GALLERY: smart #1 Premium