Fiat 500 review: electric city car is a real winner
The all-electric Fiat 500 fulfills its city car brief brilliantly, and is one of the best EVs you can buy today
The new Fiat 500 is a superb all-electric city car, and one that should be at the top of your shortlist if you're in the market for a stylish and immensely capable small EV. The 500 retains all of its familiar Italian flair, and is now even more appealing with updated on-board tech along with a practical real-world range that leaves close rivals lagging behind.
Offering good value for money without skimping on style, the all-electric Fiat 500 is among the best small electric cars currently on sale, and one we can easily recommend.
About the new Fiat 500
The Fiat 500 has come a long way since the iconic city car was launched in 1957, or the modern interpretation of the little three-door hatch hit the street back in 2007. The famous Nuova 500 profile is still easily recognisable, but the latest third-generation model has switched from pure-petrol to all-electric power.
The new 500 is slightly longer, wider and taller than its petrol-powered predecessor (which remains on sale in petrol/mild-hybrid form), and uses an all-new platform designed specifically for it, so there are no compromises on interior space – an issue we often see when brands try to shoehorn a zero-emissions powertrain into a combustion-engined car.
The electric 500’s more spacious cabin is just part of the reason why it’s one of the best small cars on sale right now, another being the fact it shouldn't cost too much to run thanks to its efficient, electric running gear. Its all-round appeal is why we named it our 2022 City Car of the Year.
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There are arguably only two rivals that are in direct competition with the all-electric 500: the classy MINI Electric will tempt some, while the futuristic Honda e really stands out from the crowd thanks to its funky styling.
Other options in the small electric car class that buyers might be considering include the Ora Funky Cat, Peugeot e-208 and Vauxhall Corsa Electric, although all three perhaps lack the necessary kerb appeal to seal the deal. On the other hand, the Renault Zoe can go further on a full battery and is more practical, although it’s starting to feel very long in the tooth after over a decade on sale.
Buyers get a choice of two battery sizes and power outputs in the 500, although both use a single electric motor to drive the front wheels. The base model gets a fairly small 24kWh battery and produces just 92bhp, a combination which Fiat says allows the car to cover 118 miles on a single charge.
That might not be enough for a lot of buyers, but you can get the 500 with a much larger 42kWh battery (pushing the range to 199 miles) and 116bhp on tap, so 0-62mph so still takes around nine seconds. It’s hardly an electric pocket rocket, but the hot Abarth 500e is an impressive alternative with plenty of extra go.
The 500’s trim structure has been overhauled several times since it launched, including the axing of the cheap and cheerful Action specification with its halogen headlights and smartphone cradle in place of an actual infotainment system. The three trim levels currently available are the base 500, (RED) edition and ‘La Prima by Bocelli’.
Prices for the electric 500 currently start from just over £28,000, meaning it just makes it onto our list of the cheapest EVs on sale right now. Upgrading to the bigger battery adds £3,000 to the price tag, while the Convertible versions command at least a further £3,000 on top of that.
For an alternative review of the Fiat 500, visit our sister site drivingelectric.com...
In this review
- 1Verdict - currently readingThe all-electric Fiat 500 fulfills its city car brief brilliantly, and is one of the best EVs you can buy today
- 2Electric motor, drive and performanceThe 500 excels in and around town; easy to drive with decent levels of refinement
- 3Range, charging and running costsWith competitive pricing and reasonable insurance costs, the all-electric Fiat 500 should be cheap to run
- 4Interior, design and technologyThe 500 just oozes style, while great on-board tech adds to the appeal
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceIf it fits with your lifestyle, then the 500 city car should offer more than enough comfort and flexibility
- 6Reliability and safetyThe 500 includes excellent levels of safety kit, while servicing costs should be reasonable