Home » Smart, Yes That Smart, Is Building A Big AWD 638 HP Jeep Renegade

Smart, Yes That Smart, Is Building A Big AWD 638 HP Jeep Renegade

635 Horsepower Smart Car Ts
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Don’t check your calendar, you did not fall into a portal and get transported to April 1st March 32st. That headline you’re reading is somehow real. Remember Smart, the company that made nerdy little 70 HP city cars? Yeah, it has revealed its latest vehicle, and it’s the last thing you’d ever expect. Smart has unveiled the #5, and it’s an off-road electric SUV with up to 638 HP and looks like a bizarro world Jeep Renegade.

Smart has been teasing this SUV for a while, but I still couldn’t believe it. Smart has always wanted to build an SUV since the early 2000s, but this has become a bit of a comedy. Mercedes-Benz sold half of Smart to Geely in 2019 and it’s been all-in on SUVs ever since. First came the #1, which I’m contractually obligated to explain officially means “Hashtag One,” then came the unfortunately named #3.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

Now we have yet another SUV, and this one is the craziest yet. Smart originally envisioned this as something you’ll want to take off-road and wants to give you up to 638 HP to make it happen. Squint hard enough and the new #5 looks like a Jeep Renegade, too, but only cooler.

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MIIT

Things Aren’t Going That Great

If you haven’t been following the Smart story, I’ll bring you up to speed. In 2014, Smart launched the third generation of its famous Fortwo and the second generation of the bigger Forfour. These cars were supposed to fix nearly everything people complained about for nearly two decades. The new cars ditched the slow-shifting transmissions for either a DCT or an honest five-speed manual and tossed the low-powered engines for legitimately quick turbo threes. Sure, fuel economy didn’t get better, but reviewers called these cars fun, which is a win if you’re Smart!

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Smart

Unfortunately, the improvements seemingly came too late. Parent company Mercedes-Benz eventually threw in half of the towel, selling half the unit to Geely. The Geely-ified Smart would now go all-electric featuring Geely tech but Mercedes design.

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The half-Geely ownership also brought a major shift. Smart would go from the seller of tiny city cars to electric compact SUVs. China gobbles up EVs, so that makes sense. The debut EV SUV, the #1, looked fresh and in Brabus form, brought on enough power for four-wheel burnouts. Then came the #3, which is one of those sleek SUVs that automakers insist on calling coupes. Later, Geely and Mercedes got a third partner in on the party.

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Smart

In terms of sales, the new EVs aren’t lighting the charts on fire. In January 2024, Smart said it sold nearly 70,000 units globally since launching the #1 in 2022. That’s not bad, but isn’t impressive when you remember that in 2008, Smart sold 103,722 Fortwos in Europe alone and another 24,000 in America that year. So, Smart has these powerful electric SUVs, but sales are still down.

Our Chinese car news contributor Tycho de Feijter has reported on the condition of Smart in China and Europe. In May, Smart sold just 3,327 cars in China, marking it as 57th place in the region. Sales in Europe aren’t much healthier. Tycho also notes that tariffs are bringing even more uncertainty.

So, people aren’t really scooping up these new cars. Yet, Smart isn’t done yet. It’s getting back into the ring with something crazy.

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Smart’s Jeep Renegade

Back in April, Smart released sketches and renders for Concept #5, quite possibly the most ambitious vehicle to ever wear a Smart badge.

06 Smartconcept5 Interstellar Blue Still Keyvisual Exterior
Smart

I call it ambitious because in its imagery, Smart touted all-wheel-drive, short overhangs, and off-road tires being centerpieces of the new SUV. The press release went even further with: “Protective front and rear skid plates with a hidden integrated winch and folding rear step for roof access, in combination with an illuminating roof light bar, enhance the vehicle’s adventurous spirit.”

Now, I must admit that I got really excited here because come on, this is the old 2006 Smart Formore finally realized. It was also the largest vehicle to ever be called a Smart. Yet, the headlining features weren’t the off-road kit, but the 800-volt architecture, allowing a charge from 10 percent to 80 percent in just 15 minutes. Smart also said the concept had “more than 341 miles” of range. That’s based on a battery over 100 kWh and on the WLTP cycle. Yes, this is somehow still a Smart. I also couldn’t stop seeing a Jeep Renegade in that side profile. I suppose that could be because I’m now a Renegade fan after setting hot laps in one.

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MIIT
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Mercedes Streeter

Now, thanks to Tycho and Chinese automotive news sites, we can now look at the production version of the #5. The Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) published Smart’s homologation filing, which reveals what the #5 vehicle looks like and what kind of power it’s harnessing. All of it is stupid, for a Smart, anyway.

Sadly, the production Smart #5 loses all of the off-road bits, but the style is largely the same. This is the most blocky Smart SUV yet and it’s trying its best to look like a rugged off-roader. The front bumper cover seems to try to copy the look of a skid plate and Smart’s now signature LED light bar is now segmented. Those almost look like clearance lights, the Smart is a baby Raptor in training. I dig it.

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MIIT

This theme is repeated in the rear with a large diffuser or skid plate-looking thing, plus the segmented lighting. Something interesting to note here is that the lights are smoked, matching the vehicle’s black badges.

Turn to the side and I think you’ll see why I call this a Jeep Renegade. Now, don’t take that as a slight, Smart, because I think the Renegade is a handsome little guy. I also like how this SUV has a largely slab side. In an era when so many vehicles have creases seemingly for the sake of creases, I’m okay with this!

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MIIT

Something new revealed by the MIIT is a ridiculous powertrain. As of now, the hottest Smart is the 428 HP Smart #3 Brabus. This blows that thing right out of the water. The MIIT says the lowest spec drivetrain features a rear motor making 335 HP. Then there’s a slight step up to 358 HP.

From there, Smart apparently adds a 221 HP front motor alongside the 358 HP unit for a combined output of 579 HP. Finally, there’s the big boy, and it’s a 416 HP rear motor combined with the 221 HP front motor making an insane (for a Smart) 638 HP. That one would presumably be in a Brabus model. Or heck, maybe the Brabus will find a way to be even faster, because why not.

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MIIT

Sadly, “faster” in this case does not mean top speed as all models but the top version halt progress at 124 mph. The top model gets to a nice and round 130 mph. Granted, I’m not sure how much faster you would want to go in a 15.5 foot long, 5,401-pound SUV. It’s hard to believe that this is supposed to be a Smart!

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RWD models of the Smart #5 get lithium iron phosphate batteries while the quicker AWD variants get nickel manganese cobalt batteries. At this time there isn’t any confirmation of battery size or architecture. What we do seem to know is that these will go like hell. Maybe it’ll even come with something like the concept’s interior:

13 Smartconcept5 Interstellar Blue Still Keyvisual Interior
Smart

Tycho believes the vehicle will launch in the third quarter of this year while CarNewsChina expects it to come out in the fourth quarter. Pricing is unknown at this time. With that said, the future of #5 and Smart as a whole is unclear. America is imposing a 100 percent tariff on Chinese EVs and recently the EU has hit China with its own tariffs that reach up to 38.1 percent. So, if our European readers do get a chance to drive this, who knows how expensive it’ll be.

It looks like I’m going to have to get a passport because I have to see what driving a 638 HP electric Smart is like.

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Guillaume Maurice
Guillaume Maurice
26 days ago

I have a silly question : What Renault is making of this ?

Because you know latest generation Renault Twingos are actually Smart in disguise….
( and if you can compare one with a frist gen Twingo you’ll see that 1/3 increase in size leads to 1/3 reduction of habitability… I have both parked in sight ( thanks for my neighbours ). ( I won’t talk about the 600Kgish first gen compared to the 1300Kg latest gen, because that would be comparing apples and oranges in the mind of car companies when it comes to fuel efficiency [ Obviously a 1st Gen 600ishKg Twingo with a modern engine would rock in fuel economy… but you can’t have it, you’ll only have an obese version with the modern engine )

My Skoda is the Most Superb
My Skoda is the Most Superb
28 days ago

Wow this thing is almost exactly the same length as a CR-V yet looks much smaller visually from these images.I really really like it, and if the concept’s charging performance manifests in the production version, it’d make for an appealing package overall I think.

Grey alien in a beige sedan
Grey alien in a beige sedan
28 days ago

Can we beg GM to bring back Geo to import these and sell them domestically? On second thought, they’d find a spectacular way to fuck that up somehow.

No Kids, Just Bikes
No Kids, Just Bikes
28 days ago

Large and high horsepower? Aside from the name and the logo on the steering wheel what’s left to tie the #5 to the soul of the brand? Not sure I get it, but I do think the D-pillar/rear fender bit is quite handsome. Win?

Like the Chili Peppers after Blood Sugar and Metallica after the Black Album, Smart no longer represents what put it on the map. We’ll see what kind of #2 they make.

Urban Runabout
Urban Runabout
28 days ago

I’m not sure how Smart a 15.5 foot long, 5,401-pound SUV is.
Seems kinda dumb to me.

Peter Andruskiewicz
Peter Andruskiewicz
28 days ago

I wonder what they’re going to slot in between the #1 and #3? I hope it doesn’t stink

Anders
Anders
28 days ago

If ever there was a product I wish just died at the Powerpoint stage, rather than being forced through the TG-process by owners with hybris and too deep pockets.

Rollk
Rollk
29 days ago

Geely, Mercedes, Smart, Volvo… too many cooks in the kitchen.

Andy Individual
Andy Individual
29 days ago

This is so, “we are launching a sea food restaurant chain, so make sure we offer burgers and fries”. What’s the point? Just do what is already being done by others?

Freelivin2713
Freelivin2713
29 days ago

#5…is ALIVE!!!

Andy Individual
Andy Individual
29 days ago
Reply to  Freelivin2713

#7 will be up soon.

Timbales
Timbales
29 days ago

I’m interested in seeing how the area around those kind of door handles looks after a few years.

Along with Martin, Dutch Gunderson, Lana and Sally Decker
Along with Martin, Dutch Gunderson, Lana and Sally Decker
29 days ago

Kind of looks like a Renegade LWB, which means couches and foot rests for rear seat passengers.

My mother (80 next month) has a Renegade we licked up for her new in 2015 or 2016. Not the most exciting drive, but it has served her well, at it will whichever grandkid ends up with it when she doesn’t need it anymore. I’m glad my mom missed the PT Cruiser fad.

Mechanical Pig
Mechanical Pig
29 days ago

I see they wisely decided to skip “#2”, that would have been a shitty car name.

Uncle Cholmondeley
Uncle Cholmondeley
29 days ago
Reply to  Mechanical Pig

True, but I’m sure it would make an epic entry in The Morning Dump.

Who Knows
Who Knows
29 days ago

A 5400 lb Smart with over 600 hp? I think a rebranding is in order, taking inspiration from South Park- Dum-da-dum-dum

Taco Shackleford
Taco Shackleford
29 days ago

Kia Soul + Renegade = #5mart

No Kids, Just Bikes
No Kids, Just Bikes
28 days ago

Was going to say exactly this.

Karrock
Karrock
25 days ago

Kia EV5, only softer?

R53forfun
R53forfun
29 days ago

Nice Acadia!

Oh wait, wrong Mercedes article …

Icouldntfindaclevername
Icouldntfindaclevername
29 days ago

Looks more Mini Countryman than Renegade to me.

Seaway
Seaway
29 days ago

Looks like the Volvo XC30/40 to me.

Johnny Anxiety
Johnny Anxiety
29 days ago

Looks more like a Hyundai Kona or Kia Nero to me.

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