Is this how Smart can finally succeed in the USA?
Smart cars were officially available in the USA from 2008 to 2019. Daimler finally pulled the plug due to poor sales, but only after stringing out the supermini's lifespan as an electric. Even then, the fortwo Electric Drive offered poor range, but that was the least of its troubles.
In a country where the Ford F-150 is the best-selling car, driving around in a tiny two-seater EV styled to look like a Pokemon was, somewhat ironically, not smart. Driving a Smart Fortwo in Texas gives you some idea of what it would be like to partake in a gang war with nothing more than positive reinforcement messages printed on postcards.
The smallness is a big problem, but it can be fixed. Mini used to make small cars, but to remain competitive in the US market, it had to produce the Countryman. It seems the memo about crossovers finally reached Smart's offices - which we imagine are located in Daimler's basement, right next to the vending machine full of questionable items - and the production SUV's design has now been leaked.
As revealed by the MBEQ Club forum, Smart recently filed production designs for its upcoming SUV a the European Union Intellectual Property Office. As you can see, the patent images are staggeringly similar to the Smart Concept #1 that we recently laid eyes on at the Munich Auto Show. It's quite a radical design, but it seems like the production car will be closely related to the concept. Sadly, the cool suicide doors are gone. It's not just reminiscent on the outside but on the inside as well.
The interior has been toned down, but the concept was quite radical. We don't doubt it will follow the current Mercedes trend of a large touchscreen interface with air vents below it. The patent images confirm this. More than anything, we hope the superb LED headlights and taillights make it to production.
It's still a relatively small car. The concept is 168.9 inches long and 75.1 inches wide. Not that these measurements matter, because the Smart will only be available as an EV. That means it will likely have a skateboard platform, leaving loads of space on the inside for passengers.
The inevitable low center of gravity might even make it more fun to drive than a Mini Countryman.
Daimler did not provide details about the EV powertrain, but it will likely share a lot with the upcoming Mercedes-Benz EQA all-electric compact crossover. Earlier this year, Smart's VP of global sales said its unnamed SUV would go on sale in 2022, but we don't expect Smart to reach that deadline since the patent images were only filed recently.