The Smart riquiqui, it’s a thing of the past! The German firm is indeed starting its revolution with a small, powerful and over-equipped electric SUV: the #1. Its price being lower than that of the Renault Megane E-Tech, would the French star have to worry about it?
Entered the era of 100% electric since 2019, Smart is now equally owned by the group Daimler-Benz and by Chinese Geely, already owner of Volvo. Above all, the mini-citadines that once made the reputation of the brand will no longer be the only ones to work within the range, which is now opening up to so-called “adult size” vehicles!
First stage of this great upheaval, which should include three new models by the end of 2024, the #1. It’s a 4.27m SUV, packed with personality. This Mercedes-style Mini does not do things by halves, since its synchronous motor with magnets permanent issues 272 ch ! Installed between the rear wheels, it also offers this Smart a propulsion behavior! His price ? 38 815 €, €5,000 bonus deducted, for the fully equipped Premium version. For comparison, the new restyled Peugeot e-2008, charged €40,100 in GT finish, develops “only” 156 hp maximum.
In reality, there is nothing truly comparable to the #1 on the market, at this level of size, engine and price. The beefiest of MG4 is content with 204 hp, like the Volkswagen ID.3 or Hyundai Kona, while the Cupra Born VZ peaks at 230 hp. THE Volvo XC40 Recharge of 252 hp seems to be the only one to be able to fight, its price puts it out of competition with more than 53,000 €! Reason ultimately led us to oppose #1 to Renault Megane E-Tech EV60 Techno Optimum Charge. This one is a little shorter with 4.20 meters long, a little more “sedan”, but of equivalent price with 38,700 € bonus deducted and reasonably equipped thanks to its 220 hp to defend its status as the most electric compact sold in France!
The Megane has the finest interior in its class. A strong argument when you discover the very flattering interior presentation of #1. However, some plastics clash on board, while the French does not commit any fault of taste. With his generous digital instrumentation, its large vertical shelf and its infotainment system at the top thanks to Google, we can even say that the Megane E-Tech throws. Without ignoring ergonomics, well studied overall, apart from this annoying proximity between the gearbox control and that of the wipers.
Very refined, the dashboard of the Smart is reminiscent of that of a Tesla. There are no buttons, just an XXL screen centralizing all the controls. Including adjusting the mirrors… Fortunately, you don’t need a degree in computer science to familiarize yourself with the system, which is quite intuitive and even fun with its fun video game-like animations. The German-Chinese SUV also benefits from plenty of storage, like the Megane. The large tray hidden under the central console, ideal for accommodating the handbag of these ladies, is however a real plus. We especially feel less cramped than in the French version, thanks to the generous glazed surfaces, its standard panoramic roof, and an overall greater living space. The presence of a sliding seat allows in particular to extend the legs in the back. In terms of trunk volume, on the other hand, the Megane retains a slight advantage…
Impossible for Renault to fight in the equipment chapter. The Smart is so generous that there is no option! Metallic paint, leather upholstery, seats electric heaters, signed audio system Beats, adaptive headlights Matrix Led, overseer blind spots, head-up display, semi-autonomous driving: to obtain even half of this equipment, the price of the French soars beyond 47,000 €. Farewell, then, to the precious bonus of €5,000…
Day Megane E-Tech picks up colors on the road, offering a perfectly balanced behavior, despite slight loss of traction when accelerating suddenly. Same phenomenon with the Smart, which accelerates even stronger. But as it is the rear wheels which are responsible here for transmitting the 272 hp and 343 Nm to the ground, its reactions on slippery surfaces may surprise. Even if the ESP constantly monitors the grain. Heavier by 100 kg, the Smart also tends to roll when cornering. The damping is, him, of the cozy kind, except on some speed bumps. Ditto for the Megane, which however does not offer optimal soundproofing (air and rolling noise). The regenerative brake of #1 lacks progressiveness: not ideal for taking full advantage of its One Pedal mode, active until a stop. Mode which does not bring much in terms of autonomy, this one capping at 355 km on average: only 5 km more than the French one…
|Smart #1||Renault Megane E-Tech|
|Habitability / trunk||11||10|
First attempt, master stroke for the Smart #1 ! One of the best price/performance ratio at this level of range in the electric clan. For a faultless, it would just need to gain a few kilometers of autonomy. The Megane does not demerit, but remains too narrow, and suffers above all from a poor price/equipment ratio.
Match: The Peugeot e-2008 / Renault Megane E-Tech
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