• Sun. May 19th, 2024

Smart #3 crossover moves the brand closer to the mainstream

Bynewsmagzines

Apr 17, 2023
Smart #3 crossover moves the brand closer to the mainstream

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Smart left the United States after the 2019 model year, but it still sells cars in numerous global markets including Europe and China. The little-car brand took a big step towards the mainstream by showing an electric, fastback-like crossover called #3 at the Shanghai auto show.

Visually, the #3 is characterized by rounded lines and a handful of styling cues shared with the #1, which is a more family-friendly electric crossover unveiled in 2022. The front end features a more aggressive-looking design with a splitter and additional vent-like trim pieces, while the back end gets a fast-sloping roof line and a light bar. Smart notes that buyers will have several vibrant exterior colors to choose from.

It’s a similar story inside: many of the #1’s features are carried over, including a tall, flowing center console and a 12.8-inch touchscreen for the infotainment system. A handful of details (such as round air vents and model-specific trim) underline the model’s sportier positioning. The list of available features includes multi-color ambient lighting, a 13-speaker Beats sound system and a panoramic roof panel.

Smart had nothing to say about what’s under the sheet metal. For context, the #1 (pronounced “number one” or “hashtag one” depending on your generation) is powered by a rear-mounted electric motor that draws electricity from a 66-kWh lithium-ion battery pack. It makes 272 horsepower, which is relatively impressive until you take the car’s 4,012-pound weight into account — it’s more than two times heavier than the original ForTwo released in 1998. There’s also a dual-motor, all-wheel-drive Brabus-branded model with 428 horsepower on tap.

Made in China, the Smart #3 will go on sale in some European and Asian countries in early 2024. Pricing information will be released closer to its on-sale date, but it’s of little interest to American buyers because nothing suggests that the crossover will be sold on our shores.

If you’re wondering: there’s no #2 yet, and we don’t know if one is in the pipeline or if Smart will skip this number. As for the ForTwo, the tiny two-seater that made Smart a household name, it received a round of updates in 2019 and remains available exclusively as an EV overseas.

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