Smart is about to be #blessed with its first crossover, the #1.
The small electric SUV has been spied conducting final winter testing.
Smart has confirmed its upcoming range of Chinese-built models will all feature a hashtag followed by a number, which it says is “evocative of trendsetting in the digital era”.
At this stage the Smart #1 is expected to make its global debut in April 2022.
Two prototypes were spied up close, giving us a look at the interior and exterior of the upcoming model.
Inspired by the Concept 1 SUV that was shown at the 2021 Munich motor show, the #1 retains the concept’s silhouette and design cues.
Compared to the Concept 1, the spied #1 prototype has larger headlights, as well as extra side air intakes.
Around the side, there are larger mirrors, conventionally-opening rear doors, thicker B- and C-pillars, as well as visible cutouts for flush-fitting door handles.
One of the prototypes also had red-painted braked calipers which potentially hints at a sportier variant.
At the back, the spied #1 prototype appears to be extremely similar to the Concept 1. Although it has a slightly different bumper design, it still has the full-width light bar.
If the Concept 1 is anything to go off, the #1 will measure around 4.3m long, 1.7m tall, and 1.9m wide, with a 2.75m wheelbase.
This would make it a comparable size to the Mercedes-Benz EQA SUV.
Although the spied prototype’s interior is mostly covered, we can see it’s largely the same as the concept albeit without the gold accents.
There’s a large, Mercedes-Benz-style centre stack with a number of storage cubbies, elliptical air vents and a large, covered touchscreen infotainment system.
The parked prototype even has red seat belts to match the exterior paint colour that can be seen on the inside of the exterior side mirrors.
The #1, as with all future Smart vehicles, will be electric-only, but details about the #1’s drivetrain options have yet to be revealed.
Smart was originally founded in 1994 as a joint venture between Daimler and watch maker Swatch.
As development costs rose for the brand’s first car, the Smart Coupe, Daimler took a majority stake and then full ownership of the brand.
Since its inception Smart has struggled to turn a profit, and in 2019 Geely purchased a 50 per cent stake in Smart.
As part of the joint venture, Smart’s new vehicles are designed by Mercedes-Benz and engineered by Geely. They’ll also be built by Geely in China, and exported around the world.
Smart’s original factory in Hamback, France, has been sold to the chemical firm giant Ineos, which is starting to build its Grenadier SUV there.
Smart left Australia after the 2014 model year when the previous-generation Fortwo was being replaced.
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