Fiat 500 review
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.
Throw in the government’s plug-in car grant incentive and the new 500 offers tremendous value for money. It’s among the best small electric cars currently on sale, and one we can wholeheartedly recommend.
About the new Fiat 500
At first glance, you might think not much has changed with the new Fiat 500 compared to the previous model. Well, you’d only be half right, because although the famous Nuova 500 profile is still easily recognisable, the latest third-generation car has switched to all-electric power.
The new 500 is slightly longer, wider and taller than the previous model, which remains on sale in petrol/mild-hybrid form, and has been developed using an all-new platform, so there are no compromises on valuable interior space which is an issue that can sometimes occur with modified combustion-engined models.
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 retro Honda e really stands out from the crowd with its funky styling. Other options that buyers might consider include the PSA Group’s Peugeot e-208 and Vauxhall Corsa-e, although both perhaps lack the necessary kerb appeal to seal the deal, while the extra practicality of the Renault Zoe is still a compelling choice - even after eight years on sale.
Power for the 500 comes from either a 117bhp or a 94bhp motor, with the former using a 42kWh battery which Fiat calls ‘Long Range’ and the latter a 24kWh ‘City Range’ version. With a claimed maximum of 118 miles from a single charge, the City Range option is suitably named, and you probably won’t be relishing many longer journeys in the cheapest 500. But, upgrading to the bigger battery means you’ll benefit from up to 199 miles (WLTP rated) before you need to stop at a charging point.
Fiat offers three core equipment levels for the 500: Action, Icon and La Prima, while a Red special edition is also available. The entry Action specification is paired with the 94bhp motor, with all other trims are coupled with the 117bhp Long Range setup.
Prices for the 500 start from around £22,000 and rise to around £29,000, after deducting the government plug-in car grant. There are Convertible versions to consider as well, although these command a premium of around £2,500 to £3,000.
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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
- 2Engines, performance and driveThe 500 excels in and around town; easy to drive with decent levels of refinement
- 3Range, charging and running costsWith competitive pricing, reasonable insurance costs and solid residual values, the all-electric Fiat 500 should be cheap to run
- 4Interior, design and technologyThe 500 just oozes style, while new 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