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Expert Rating

Smart EQ Forfour

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Expert Rating

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Summary


The Smart EQ Forfour is effectively a four-door, four-seat version of the Smart EQ Fortwo. The current model was first launched as a petrol car in 2014, with an electric model (initially known as the Forfour Electric Drive) joining the range in 2017.

This is the second generation of the Smart Forfour. The first one appeared in 2004 as a joint venture with Mitsubishi, and was a short-lived dismal failure. This second attempt is a joint venture with Renault, as part of a collaborative programme between Smart’s owner Daimler and Groupe Renault, and shares much of its DNA with the (now discontinued) Renault Twingo.

As part of Smart’s switch to being an electric-only car company in 2019, the Smart Forfour Electric Drive was rebranded the Smart EQ Forfour as seen here.

On the face of it, the EQ Forfour is tempting for those wanting to embrace electric motoring. Prices start from under £20,000 even before you factor in a Government plug-in grant, which is relatively cheap for an electric car.

That is fine, reviewers point out, so long as you want to go very far – even with a facelift carried out in 2020 the car’s range between charges is quoted at 95 miles. But according to Autocar a range that drops to about 50 miles with less than very careful driving “could be hard to tolerate even for drivers who never stray beyond the city limits.”

The car offers very little in the way of fast-charging either – using a public charger you can get to 80% battery capacity in around 40 minutes but the likely buyers will be those who travel not too far to and from work each day and can plug the car in overnight. A full recharge takes around six hours on a wallbox at home – rivals offer much better options.

The Forfour is fun to drive around town, with brisk acceleration and smooth progress. It “feels very nippy when pulling away from traffic lights and junctions,” says Carbuyer. Fit and finish of the interior, and its space for occupants also earns some praise from the reviewers. But not for their luggage – the boot is very small.

The Smart EQ Forfour currently holds an Expert Rating of 43% (as of August 2021) from only eight UK reviews. That’s a country mile behind the best small electric cars on the market, and one of the lowest scores for any small car we’ve analysed. The fact that there are so few reviews published for a car that’s been on sale for four years now suggests that Daimler doesn’t want journalists driving it…

EQ Forfour highlights

  • Affordable in EV terms
  • Smooth and refined around town
  • Swift getaway for nimble urban driving
  • Reasonable interior space

EQ Forfour lowlights

  • Very poor battery range
  • Little in fast-charge options
  • Tiny boot
  • Surpassed by newer rivals

Key specifications


Body style: Small hatchback
Powertrain: Electric motor, battery-powered
Price: From £19,795 on-road

Launched: Summer 2017
Last updated: Spring 2020
Update due: TBA


Media reviews


Reviews, road test and comparisons from across the UK automotive media. Click any of the boxes to view.

Auto Express

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Autocar

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Business Car

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Carbuyer

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Carwow

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Honest John

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What Car?

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Which?

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Safety rating


No safety rating

The petrol Smart Forfour was tested by Euro NCAP back in 2014 and awarded a four-star rating, which was then extended to include the electric model in 2018. However, this rating expired in January and is no longer valid, as the EQ Forfour no longer meets the criteria for a four-star car in 2021.

The car comes with an Active Brake Assist system which warns of a possible collision and initiates some autonomous braking assistance.

Eco rating


No eco rating

The Smart EQ Forfour has not been lab tested by Green NCAP. This is a new initiative, launched in 2018 as a sister organisation to Euro NCAP. As yet, very few new cars have been tested for environmental impact by Green NCAP. Inevitably the testing programme was halted in early 2020 by the coronavirus pandemic, before resuming later in the year with an enhanced testing process.

The Green NCAP programme measures exhaust pollution (which is zero for an electric car) and energy efficiency. Electric cars are much more energy-efficient than combustion cars, so the EQ Forfour is likely to score very highly in Green NCAP testing if it ever takes place. Check back again soon.

Similar cars


If you’re looking at the Smart EQ Forfour, you might also be interested in these alternatives

BMW i3 | Fiat 500 Electric | Honda e | Peugeot e-208 | Renault Zoe | SEAT Mii Electric | Smart EQ Fortwo | Vauxhall Corsa-e | Volkswagen e-Up

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Best car rankings

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Best car rankings

Want to see how this car ranks against its rivals?

The Car Expert has the ultimate ranking of the best and worst new cars on sale, based on scores from 25 of the top UK motoring websites