Smart ForTwo Electric Drive Vs BMW I3 Vs Renault Zoe: Review & Comparisons
Review Of The Smart ForTwo ED
The new Smart ForTwo ED is ideal for anyone who needs just two seats, super duper low running costs and who wants to do their bit for the environment. It’s smartly styled, easy to drive and fully electric.
For the commute to work and back, it looks absolutely perfect. The fact that it’s so small means you’ll never need to worry about negotiating tight city streets ever again, while its 0-62 time of 11.5 seconds is more than enough to keep up with traffic.
OSV takes a closer look at what it’s all about with our 2018 Smart ForTwo ED review.JTNDY2VudGVyJTNFJTNDaWZyYW1lJTIwd2lkdGglM0QlMjI1NjAlMjIlMjBoZWlnaHQlM0QlMjIzMTUlMjIlMjBzcmMlM0QlMjJodHRwcyUzQSUyRiUyRnd3dy55b3V0dWJlLmNvbSUyRmVtYmVkJTJGeXhyOUVyOVpRV0UlMjIlMjBmcmFtZWJvcmRlciUzRCUyMjAlMjIlMjBhbGxvdyUzRCUyMmF1dG9wbGF5JTNCJTIwZW5jcnlwdGVkLW1lZGlhJTIyJTIwYWxsb3dmdWxsc2NyZWVuJTNFJTNDJTJGaWZyYW1lJTNFJTNDY2VudGVyJTNF
On The Road
The Smart ForTwo ED is going nose to nose with some very good electric cars. It’s somewhat handicapped by the fact that it has just two seats, but if that’s all you need, its actual driving experience is on par with what some of the best four and five-seaters can offer.
Without a gearbox, its electric motor delivers all of its power in one fell swoop. This means that, despite an official 0-62 time of 11.5 seconds, the Smart ForTwo ED actually feels even quicker.[vc_single_image image=”68212″ img_size=”article-image”]
With a rapid-fire burst of acceleration, the car is able to sprint away from traffic, junctions and roundabouts. It nips in and out of gaps with ease and feels right at home in the city.
The suspension setup impresses. This may only be a very small car, but it holds up well on even rougher surfaces. Ride quality is thoroughly acceptable.
However, as fun, agile and easygoing as the car is in the towns and cities, it’s a different story on motorways and on exposed country lanes. It’s deficiencies become exposed, and its modest electric motor will feel overwhelmed.
Moreover, insulation gets worse the further out of town you venture, with road and wind noise becoming a lot more noticeable.
That said, the Smart ForTwo ED isn’t a total wet lettuce on the motorway. It has a top speed of 81mph, which makes for brisk acceleration. If you’re not intending to use the motorway too often, there’s no reason why the car can’t ferry you along on shorter slogs.
Smart ForTwo ED Interior, Design & Build
[vc_single_image image=”68211″ img_size=”article-image”]The car’s interior is much the same as the standard model, which means it’s smart, stylish and modern. However, it’s a bit funkier and gets a pod-like dial that displays the battery status and a neat-looking colour screen.
Overall, interior quality is good but it won’t take you long to notice the presence of scratchier plastics here and there.
Comfort is decent, thanks to a suspension setup that carries the extra weight of the batteries well without firming up the ride too much. Both the driver and their passenger should be perfectly comfortable. They’ll be well-insulated too, at least in urban settings, where the car is as quiet as a mouse. On exposed areas and the motorway, however, and exterior noises become more noticeable.
Is the Smart ForTwo ED practical? It’s got just the two seats, so its limitations are already obvious. Again, if two seats are all you need, this is unlikely to bother you. The doors open nice and wide to make access easy, while the elevated driving position ensures good visibility.Combined with the car’s diminutive size, this makes it super easy to park.
On the other hand, the petrol-powered variant is bigger.
The boot, meanwhile, measures 260-litres if you fill it to the parcel shelf and 340-litres if you fill it to the roof.
Equipment & Safety Of The Smart ForTwo ED
Standard kit for the car is still being finalised, but what we do know is that the Smart ForTwo ED will come with alloys, pre-programmable air conditioning and LED daytime running lights, a 7” infotainment system, sat-nav, Bluetooth, cruise control, a leather multifunction steering wheel and all the charging cables you need.
A Brabus performance package is expected to cost an extra £2,500 and comes with technology that makes the car faster and more performative.
In terms of how safe the car is, it shares its structure with the standard Smart ForTwo, which scored 4/5 when it was crash tested by Euro NCAP. That’s hardly the most reassuring score in the world, but buyers need to bear in mind that the crash test is now stricter than ever. Moreover, the car scored very well for child and adult occupant ratings, with a lack of sophisticated safety kit likely being its downfall.
Its standard safety kit includes tyre pressure monitoring, an electronic stability programme, ABS, crosswind assist and Active Brake Assist.
Costs Of The Smart ForTwo ED
Prices for the new car start out from £21,275 and rise to £21,880. For more information on our leasing deals, check out our page here.
In terms of its running costs, the Smart ForTwo ED is more affordable to run than the standard variant because there’s no need to pay for petrol and diesel anymore. However, a slight dampener is that buyers will still be paying £130 a year in road tax, despite the car emitting zero emissions.
Pros and Cons Of The Smart ForTwo ED
Quick Charging Time
It takes just 2.5 hours to charge the battery 100%.
100 miles will be perfectly fine for city dwellers and commuters. Everyone else might need to look elsewhere.
Perfect for the City
With two seats, low running costs, a lively engine and a tight turning circle, this car was born for the city streets.
£21,000 + seems like a lot of money for a two-seater city car, despite those long-term savings.
Let’s face it, there isn’t much this car can do and you might find yourself outgrowing it.
Smart ForTwo ED vs BMW i3 vs Renault Zoe
Let’s see how the car fares against its rivals in the comparison section of our 2018 Smart ForTwo ED review.
Smart ForTwo ED vs BMW i3
The new BMW i3 a premium electric car that’s visually striking and lots of fun.
Born for the city, the i3 looks like no other car but drives a lot like a conventional supermini. It comes with rear-wheel-drive as usual for a BMW and an elevated driver’s seat that makes it easy for you to negotiate your way through traffic and tight turns.
Its electric motor packs a punch and can whisk you from a standstill to 62mph in just 7.3 seconds. That makes the car considerably quicker than the Smart ForTwo ED, and because all its power is available in an instant, it feels even faster![vc_single_image image=”68013″ img_size=”article-image”]
An i3s model is faster still. It benefits from larger tyres than usual and an enhanced stability control system and can complete the 0-62 dash in just 6.9 seconds.
Both models can’t offer as much grip as a petrol or diesel-powered BMW, and this is due to the special skinny tyres.
Also distinguishing the i3 from a conventional car is a regenerative braking system that saves energy, boosts range and which means you only need to use the brake pedal when absolutely necessary.
Running costs? There’s no doubting the fact that the i3 is one of the priciest cars of its type but it’s super affordable to run. The standard i3 has an official range of 195 miles, while the i3s has a range of 183 miles. Both figures should be taken with a pinch of salt, of course, because they will vary depending on conditions.
Inside and out, the BMW looks more like an electric car than most of its rivals. Inside, buyers are treated to eco-friendly eucalyptus wood finishes, a driver’s seat and the steering wheel that offers plenty of adjustability, and the brand’s excellent iDrive system.
Hi-tech screens take the place of conventional dials and the i3 looks and feels as upmarket as you’d expect from a BMW.
Is the BMW i3 practical? It’s a compact car, but because it’s purpose-built BMW have been able to get as much space and usability out of it as possible. That upfront certainly won’t be complaining about space, while rear seated passengers are well looked after.
Storage spaces include a couple of cup holders and a lidded glovebox, while the boot measures 260-litres. Fold the rear seats and you can increase it to 1,100-litres.
Smart ForTwo – £21,275 – £21,880
BMW – £34,070
Smart ForTwo ED vs BMW i3 vs Renault Zoe
The new Renault Zoe is a lot like a regular supermini – but greener.
On the road, it drives much the same as a regular car. It’s lively and quiet, its steering is light and accurate, and it’s well suited to the towns and cities.
On the whole, it offers a relaxed driving experience, but it’s got a fair amount of zip, too. 0-30mph is dispensed within 4.0 seconds flat, while the 0-62 sprint is covered in 13.5 seconds. That makes it the slowest car in this review, but – like all electric cars – all of its power is delivered in an instant, and this means it feels faster than those numbers suggest. As a result, it keeps up with traffic well.[vc_single_image image=”67909″ img_size=”article-image”]
On the motorway, it’s a different story. The Zoe will feel less confident and its battery will drain away faster.
Body roll is a bit of a problem too, while the regenerative brakes are too abrupt.
Running costs? Buyers can choose to pay for the car and its batteries upfront, or you can pick up the car for a reduced fee and pay on the monthly for the battery lease. How much you pay depends on the length of your contract and expected annual mileage. Coverless than 4,500 miles per year and you’ll pay around £65 per month.
Inside, as always with an EV, the Renault Zoe is as quiet as cars come. The electric motor emits a faint buzz at speeds of less than 20mph but insulation, on the whole, is good, as is ride quality.
The dashboard has a futuristic vibe going to it that matches the BMW i3, but buyers are either going to love or hate the light greys and white plastics. It’s going to feel a bit too sci-fi-esque for some of you.
Is the Renault Zoe practical? Renault has positioned the batteries underneath the rear seats, which means that, despite being as big as the Clio, the Zoe uses its dimensions better. Rear legroom is fine, while that upfront will have plenty of space.
The boot measures 388-litres, which is very impressive for a car like this. As well as being bigger than the Clio, its boot is also bigger than the Smart ForTwo ED. It has a low loading lip, but the rear seats don’t fold completely flat.
Renault – £22,670 – £30,520
Verdict Of Our 2018 Smart ForTwo ED Review
There’s a lot to measure up with this one. It’s a fantastic way to potter about the city if two seats are all you need, and it does its bit for the environment. It’s cute, a piece of cake to drive and and cheap to run, too.
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