We stand up to hurry with the primary of a brand new technology of Sensible automobiles – the awkwardly-titled #1…
The Sensible #1 compact SUV is the primary fruit of a brand new three way partnership between Mercedes-Benz and Chinese language large Geely, which additionally owns Volvo, Polestar and Lotus.
Sharing a platform with the upcoming Volvo EX30, the #1 (pronounced ‘hashtag one’) is a category act and about the identical dimension as a MINI Countryman, Volkswagen ID.3 or Peugeot 2008.
Clearly a departure from the long-lasting metropolis automobile, the Fortwo, the #1 is more likely to remodel Sensible right into a critical participant within the EV sector.
In fact, it’s no stranger to electrical automobiles. An EV model of the Fortwo was first launched means again in 2008 and the Sensible vary has been 100% electrical since 2019.
Already topped Finest Small SUV at 2023 What Automotive? EV Awards, the boldly styled #1 is distinctive, although its rear has a touch of a scaled down Mercedes-Benz EQB.
There’s additionally loads of scope for personalisation with a variety of color and ‘floating’ roof color combos.
The intelligent design continues contained in the surprisingly spacious cabin the place there’s a top quality, barely quirky really feel, and it’s loaded with tech.
As is the pattern (sadly), the Sensible #1 is minimalist up entrance with nearly all the things managed by way of the 12.8-inch central infotainment display (Apple CarPlay is built-in, however Android Auto is but to come back).
Moreover, all Sensible #1s additionally get a slim 9.2-inch driver’s digital instrument cluster for information akin to pace, plus a head-up show can be obtainable on costlier fashions.
Fortunately, there are helpful shortcuts alongside the underside of the principle touchscreen, for necessities akin to local weather management, however you possibly can’t even modify the wing mirrors with out having to entry the touchscreen.
On the plus facet, the menu construction is intuitive and the display is responsive. What’s extra, the system will save your profile, so it should bear in mind your particular person settings each time you drive the automobile.
Personalising settings takes some time, however when you switched off irritating issues like Driver Exhaustion Alert, Steering Wheel Re-Centring and Lane Help, you’re properly in your means.
Oh, and there’s additionally an animated fox lurking on the infotainment display. It’s a enjoyable face for the voice assistant, and also you’ll both discover it cute or annoying.
Awarded a most 5 stars in crash testing by Euro NCAP, the #1 is filled with the newest security and driver help programs.
Sensible says the #1 has the identical inside area as a Mercedes-Benz E-Class, and I don’t doubt it for a second. There’s loads of head and leg room all through and the 60:40 break up rear seats recline and slide backwards and forwards.
Boot capability just isn’t best-in-class, ranging between 273 – 411 litres (as much as 986 litres with the rear seats flipped), although there’s a tiny 15-litre ‘frunk’ below the bonnet.
Competitively priced from £35,950, there are two Sensible #1 specs (Professional+ and Premium) and each get a 66kWh battery pack and a 268bhp motor that drives the rear wheels with 253lb-ft of torque.
Professional+ fashions get an affordable 260-mile vary, whereas Premium is able to as much as 273 miles due to the addition of a warmth pump and different tech tweaks.
Each speed up from 0-62mph in simply 6.7 seconds, whereas 150kW charging pace means a 10-80% top-up takes as little as half-hour.
The Sensible #1 is speedy sufficient as it’s, however in order for you critical efficiency, then go for the range-topping Brabus #1.
Beginning at £43,450, this sizzling all-wheel drive model will get an additional electrical motor, develops an enormous 422bhp and is able to 0-62mph in a savagely quick 3.9 seconds. The draw back is that the vary within the heavier Brabus #1 drops to 248 miles.
We examined the Sensible #1 Premium and it’s swift, clean and refined with a number of the finest street manners in its class. The journey is on the agency facet, nevertheless it nonetheless manages to iron out all however the poorest of surfaces, whereas wind and street noise are properly contained.
Staying surprisingly flat in quicker corners, it hides its 1,800kg weight properly. Grip ranges are spectacular too, although it may get slightly playful in the event you ground it within the moist.
It feels particularly agile on the town, and due to a decent turning circle of 11 metres and good visibility, it’s straightforward to manoeuvre.
The Sensible #1 is enjoyable on quicker, twisty roads, however at its finest cruising easily.
You may select between three driving modes – Eco, Consolation and Sport. As ever, Consolation is finest for on a regular basis driving. Actually, solely throttle response, steering weight and the regenerative brake stage are altered anyway.
Like many EVs, the brakes aren’t essentially the most progressive, and the brake regen was a tad fierce for my liking.
Speaking of gripes, the driving place is on the excessive facet, however then that’s usually the case with SUVs – notably electrical ones with a battery pack beneath.
It’s exhausting to evaluate the Sensible #1’s real-world vary primarily based on a day of driving, nevertheless it held its cost properly and not less than 200 miles could be an affordable expectation – perhaps nearer to 240-250 miles within the metropolis.
So, whereas it might not have a 300-mile vary, it’s fast to cost, which implies that longer journeys are nonetheless a practical proposition. That stated, I think nearly all of #1s will spend most of their time in city environments anyway.
Lastly, the Sensible #1 comes with a three-year limitless mileage guarantee, plus an Built-in Service Bundle which incorporates upkeep and MOT, and car put on and tear objects for 3 years/30,000 miles.
Verdict: The Sensible #1 small SUV is certainly one of our favorite EVs within the £35-£40,000 value bracket. Swift, spacious and secure, it has an aesthetic, funky really feel and delivers an interesting drive.