It was at the 2005 Frankfurt Motor Show where Smart originally toyed around with the idea of a crossover by unveiling the Formore concept. However, the small utility vehicle mechanically related to the Mercedes GLK never saw the light of day due to financial hurdles experienced by the defunct DaimlerChrysler company. Fast forward to September 2021, the Smart crossover is back.
Things have drastically changed compared to 16 years ago as Smart is now a 50:50 joint venture between Daimler and Geely to revitalize the struggling city car maker. The Concept #1 unveiled today not only signals an EV-only future, but also highlights Smart’s objective to launch considerably larger cars than the pint-sized ForTwo and ForFour.
How big is it? At 4.29 meters (168.9 inches) long, 1.91 meters (75.1 inches) wide, and 1.70 meters (67 inches) tall, the new Smart crossover concept is roughly as large as the Mini Countryman. Being developed from the ground up as an EV-only model with short front and rear overhangs, it has a remarkably long wheelbase for its still petite size, at 2.75 meters (108.2 inches).
The subcompact electric crossover will accommodate a third rear seat in production form to further signal Smart’s intentions to sell cars in superior segments. Other technical specifications beyond size and seat configuration have not been disclosed, but it goes without saying those rear scissor doors are strictly for the showcar in Munich.
Designed by Daimler and due to be built on Geely’s Sustainable Experience Architecture (SEA), the Concept #1 rides on massive 21-inch wheels and boasts LED light bars at the front and rear. It looks substantially different than all Smart cars before it, especially on the inside where the minimalist cabin is dominated by a massive 12.8-inch touchscreen.
Support for fast-charging tech and over-the-air updates is being promised, along with a long range and a next-gen infotainment system. Smart also says the production version will benefit from the “highest level of dynamic handling,” which goes to show Daimler and Geely want to give the troubled company the allure of a grown-up brand.
Made in China, the production-ready electric crossover is expected to go on sale locally next year and will also be available in Europe.