Smart Gets Sensible with the New 2023 #1 (Hashtag One)


Sensible left the U.S. market in 2019, having established the bounds of our enthusiasm for its quirky, gawky metropolis vehicles. But the corporate’s American misadventure was solely a small a part of the model’s wider business failure, one which had led to the lack of a reported $3.6 billion earlier than it was absolutely absorbed into the Daimler empire in 2006.

Sensible, subsequently, is taking a radically new route and is being relaunched as a three way partnership between Mercedes-Benz and the Geely Group in China (which owns Volvo, Polestar, and Lotus, amongst different manufacturers). Going ahead, Sensible will supply solely EVs, and the primary of those—the #1—makes use of Geely’s SEA electrical platform and shall be in-built Xi’an, Shaanxi Province. It is going to be bought in China and Europe, however there are not any plans to carry the model again to the U.S. However as we figured you’d wish to know what you are lacking out on, we drove one in Portugal.

Let’s begin with the title. The #1 actually is supposed to be stated as Hashtag One, which is each ridiculous and unusually catchy; we’re advised to count on future Sensible fashions to maintain the identical format. Though a lot bigger than any earlier Sensible, and practically twice as heavy because the Fortwo, the #1 is smaller than the phase common, a 168.1-inch size undercutting the Volvo XC40 Recharge and Mercedes-Benz EQA. There’s something positively Mercedes-like concerning the full-width rear gentle bar, however the remainder of the styling has an plain cute appeal.

The inside is spectacular, each by way of area—it’s far greater inside than it feels prefer it ought to be—and likewise in design. There may be sufficient room for full-size adults to take a seat behind one another, and though the roofline’s stroller-hood profile cuts into the rear-door glass, the cabin feels gentle and ethereal. The massive middle console affords a charging tray, cupholders, and a relaxing storage field. Baggage area is proscribed, although, with simply 11 cubic toes behind the rear seat, plus a tiny frunk beneath the hood.

Match and end within the cabin is nice, and there are some fascinating touches, equivalent to the best way LED illumination is built-in into the metallic air vents and the door panels. Virtually all bodily switchgear has been culled, with features managed by the massive 12.8-inch touchscreen within the middle of the dashboard. The display screen seems good, however the user-interface of our take a look at vehicles appeared unfinished, with spelling errors and a extra regarding failure: Toggling the tab for the stability-control system to what gave the impression to be its “on” place truly turned it off. Whereas Volvo and Polestar each use the Android Auto working system, the Sensible’s is predicated on Geely’s personal ECARX, which doesn’t assist both Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. It does, nevertheless, characteristic a cutesy animated fox that roams the submenus.

2023 smart 1 premium interior


All #1s will use the identical lithium-ion battery pack, which we estimate ought to present 59.4 kWh of usable capability. The bottom model directs the battery’s power to a single 268-hp rear motor, whereas the range-topping Brabus provides a second 154-hp entrance motor for a complete output of 422 horsepower. All fashions assist DC fast-charging at speeds of as much as 150 kW, and all however the base model have a 22.0-kW onboard charger, which is more and more frequent in Continental Europe. Vary beneath the optimistic European WLTP take a look at cycle varies from 273 miles for essentially the most environment friendly rear-drive model all the way down to 248 miles for the Brabus.

These numbers are all towards the higher finish of phase requirements, and the #1 delivers a composed driving expertise. Regardless of a claimed 3942-pound curb weight, acceleration within the rear-motor model is brisk, particularly low down, and though the #1’s Continental EcoContact tires typically scrabbled for traction off the road, the automobile felt safe as soon as shifting. At 80 mph, the cabin stayed hushed and refined.

Though the #1 has selectable drive modes, it lacks the adaptive dampers that will permit these so as to add self-discipline to its smooth suspension. Experience consolation was good on Portugal’s usually easy asphalt, however corners introduced a lot of physique roll, and the low-rolling-resistance tires meant there was restricted cornering grip and a bent for the entrance finish to run huge at modest speeds. The chassis additionally felt floaty over rougher surfaces—this is not a automobile that encourages the driving force to push tougher.

The #1 does supply a one-pedal driving mode, though it requires the driving force to take a seat by way of a nine-second authorized disclaimer earlier than it may be switched on. This proved to be very timid, slowing the automobile at such a gradual charge that it was exhausting to not additionally use the brake, and in Sport mode, it could not truly carry the automobile to a halt on a downhill slope.

Whereas the rear-drive Sensible #1 usually feels as much as phase requirements, the dual-motor Brabus model is, frankly, a dynamic mess. The arrival of a second motor brings practically 60 p.c extra energy, however little or no else is modified. Sensible engineers say the Brabus’s spring charges have been altered solely to take account of the additional mass of its second motor (which provides a claimed 247 kilos). It additionally rides on the identical EcoContact tires because the common automobile—not the kind of rubber you count on to see beneath one thing with extra energy than an Audi RS3.

The Brabus is the trendy equal of a straight-line-hero muscle automobile. It is in a position to chirp all 4 tires at launch, and its acceleration makes Sensible’s declare of a 3.9-second dash to 62 mph really feel solely believable. However like a naughty pet, it actually sulks in corners, the place the traction-control has to battle to maintain any degree of self-discipline; we continuously encountered each understeer and oversteer in the identical bend. This was with contemporary tires and on a heat, dry floor—the prospect of driving one on chilly, moist tarmac is barely terrifying.

One may argue {that a} automobile with extra go than grip is solely certified to put on Brabus branding, the all-wheel-drive #1’s predominant objective appears to be to exhibit the larger abilities of the common automobile. Europeans will be capable of purchase each beginning subsequent yr, priced from round $32,500 at present change charges. The Brabus shall be about $10,000 extra.

The Sensible Fortwo at all times struggled within the U.S., its demographic principally the small overlap between hypermiling misers and circus clowns. The #1 ought to have considerably wider enchantment.



2023 Sensible #1

Automobile Sort: rear- or front- and rear-motor, rear- or all-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door wagon


Base: $32,500; Brabus, $42,500


Motor(s): permanent-magnet synchronous AC

Energy: 268 or 422 hp

Torque: 253 or 400 lb-ft

Battery Pack (C/D est): liquid-cooled lithium-ion, 59.4 kWh

Onboard Charger: 7.4 or 22.0 kW

Peak DC Quick-Cost Fee: 150 kW

Transmission(s): direct-drive


Wheelbase: 108.3 in

Size: 168.1-169.3 in

Width: 71.7 in

Top: 64.4 in

Curb Weight (C/D est): 4000-4200 lb


60 mph: 3.8-6.6 sec

100 mph: 9.4-12.2 sec

1/4-Mile: 12.3-15.0 sec

Prime Velocity: 112 mph


Mixed/Metropolis/Freeway: 105-115/115-130/95-105 MPGe

Vary: 210-230 mi

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