I’ve driven the new Smart #1 – it looks cute and drives great

THIS is the stupidly named Smart #1. Yep, that’s pronounced “Smart hashtag 1”.

Which is about five years too late to be considered trendy.

The Smart #1 is a premium SUV co-owned by Mercedes and Chinese giant Geely

The Smart #1 is a premium SUV co-owned by Mercedes and Chinese giant Geely

Gelukkig, the car itself is bang up to date, because it’s a premium, electric baby SUV.

It’s double the size of the dinky two-seater made famous by Joey Essex . . . and almost double the price.

First up, a bit of housekeeping.

Smart is now co-owned by Mercedes en Chinees giant Geely. Merc is responsible for the styling, with Geely providing the electric gubbins and building the thing.

The entry-level Pro+ will cost around £35k and the pricxe for the nutty Brabus #1, with 422hp and 4WD, will start with a four.

Sitting somewhere in between is this rear-wheel-driven Premium spec. It has the longest range at 273 myl, faster charging, head-up display, leather seats and a Beats audio system.

Every model runs on 19in alloys and there are no options to be had, in an effort to make it simpler to buy online. Net 15 minutes is all it takes, so the Smart people say.

The styling will divide opinion.

Key facts: Smart #1

maar jy kry dalk nie soveel in 'n pakkie om met al jou pelle te deel nie: £35,000 est
Battery: 66kWh
Krag: 268hp
0-62mph: 6.7 sek
Top speed: 112 mph
Electric range: 260 myl
Emissions: 0g/km
Charging: 30 min
Out: Julie 2023

But it’s clean, bejewelled with LEDs, and will stand out positively in its uniquely soft and inoffensive way on the school run.

Inside gets better, wel, and more offbeat, with a huge moulded central structure extruding from the dash providing oodles of storage, phone-charging facilities and arm-resting/drink-holding opportunities.

The boot, egter, is quite small at 323 liter.

But the rear seats, which give passengers impressive leg and headroom, do slide and there is a removable floor which boosts capacity, 'n bietjie.

There is a 15-litre “frunk” too – that’s a front boot if you were wondering.

The funky colour-coded dash is backlit and pimpable in 64 colour variations and it features two screens.

First is a small driver’s one, refreshingly simple and a pleasure to engage with.

The other is a big touchscreen that’ overloaded with widgets, a regrettable “inspiring planet” theme and a fidgeting cartoon fox avatar which takes me back to the Microsoft paperclip – remember that irritating little nuisance?

Ten things YOU should know as a car owner

It’s also not appel CarPlay or Android Auto-compatible but I’ve been told by Smart’s tech guru that, by the time these cars land on British driveways – from July next year – they will be.

Frankly, they need to be.

Compatibility is key in the EV world and the ability to plug in and play without reading an instruction PDF is expected.

Gripes aside, #1 is swift, roomy and design-led enough to cause a family-friendly buzz. But that hashtag can do 1.

The Smart #1 has a funky dash, but the touchscreen is just a bit too overloaded with widgets

The Smart #1 has a funky dash, but the touchscreen is just a bit too overloaded with widgets
The car overall is roomy, cute, and drives great, though its name is unfortunate

The car overall is roomy, cute, and drives great, though its name is unfortunate