Smart gets smarter
Smart is back in town, still under the ownership of Mercedes-Benz but now it has two parents with Chinese automaker Geely sharing joint custody. The new Smart #1 is a radical departure from the ForTwo and ForFour we are used to seeing buzzing around town, with a whole new look inside and and it all sits on top of Geely’s SEA platform.
It’s not as small as the Smart cars we’re used to, measuring in at 4,270mm but the new platform allows for some clever interior packaging within a spacious 2,720mm wheelbase. Not surprisingly, the #1 is only available as an electric model with the ability to use a 200kW charger. It’s all connected and packed with tech and features a design which Mercedes head of design Gordon Wagener says is grown up and cool.
We’re not so sure about that when it comes to the exterior design, but as always we’ll only form a real opinion when we’ve seen it in the metal. Inside it looks far more luxurious than Smart cars we are used to, in fact we’d go so far as to say it looks a bit Merc. Perhaps that’s not surprising but we expected more of a unique Smart identity.
Kia reveals new Niro as it tops UK sales charts
If anyone has been really smart, it’s Kia which has been rewarded by becoming the UK’s top-selling brand so far in 2022 with its new Sportage topping the compact SUV charts. At the same time, it has revealed the second generation of its popular Niro, including the electric E-Niro. It adopts some of the great looks and tech of the Sportage and EV6 inside while outside it gets a whole new design on top of a brand new platform from the ground up. The new Niro will be available with recycled materials and electrification is used throughout with hybrid, plug-in hybrid and pure electric models. There’s more tech across everything from connectivity to safety and Kia says the engineers have worked hard to improve comfort, reduce road noise and provide an even better driving experience, although for now we will have to take their word for it.