Smart begins new era with premium electric compact SUV

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smart concept 1 exterior e1630873738672Smart is embarking on a radical product strategy under new 50% co-owner Geely and has shown the Concept #1 at the Munich motor show as a preview of its first SUV model.

The near-production-ready concept takes the form of a compact electric crossover with premium aspirations and an emphasis on advanced technology. Measuring 4290mm long, 1910mm wide and 1698mm tall, it’s a close match in size terms for parent company Mercedes-Benz’s EQA electric crossover.

It’s the first bespoke EV from Smart since it became the first ‘legacy maker’ to ditch internal combustion engines completely in 2019.

smart concept 1 high angle shotThe SUV will herald the beginning of an important new era for the brand, during which Geely will manage the engineering side of model development and Mercedes the design.

It’s clearly recognisable as a Smart but has evolutionary design elements that seek to promote a “cool, grown-up” brand image, according to design boss Gorden Wagener.

smart concept 1 rearview

Its defining features include short overhangs at each end, a panoramic sunroof, frameless doors and contrasting black lower body elements that emphasise its “robustness”.

The rear-hinged doors are opened by touch-sensitive light panels, rather than handles, which, along with distinctive LED clusters at each end and a unique interior lighting set-up, contribute to the concept’s “attention-grabbing light display”.

smart concept 1 headlightSmart says that the wheels being pushed out to the very corners of the car and the 2750mm wheelbase allow for an “extremely spacious” interior, which will gain a fifth seat for production.

Elbow room, leg room and storage space are all said to be on a par with vehicles in higher segments, while the ‘floating’ centre console, lack of B-pillars and glass roof air out the cabin.

smart concept 1 interiorTechnical details remain under wraps, but future Smart models will sit on a Geely-developed bespoke EV platform that promises “the highest level of dynamic handling and passive safety”.

Felix Page

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