Fiat 500 review - Engines, performance and drive

The 500 excels in and around town; easy to drive with decent levels of refinement

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.5 out of 5

Engines, performance and drive Rating

4.2 out of 5

£12,314 to £21,184
  • Great real world range
  • Value for money
  • Stylish
  • Tight rear space
  • Fidgety ride on bigger wheels
  • Overly light steering at speed

The Fiat 500 was always a good city car, but it’s been made even better by the adoption of electric power. Key to this improvement is how well Fiat has engineered the 500 to make it such an effortless and uncomplicated car to drive - particularly at slower speeds. One-pedal driving is possible if you choose the right drive mode, helping to take some of the strain of navigating through busy urban streets, while the 500’s drivetrain is reassuringly smooth and quiet on the move.

Refinement is decent for such a small car, although we’d avoid the bigger 17-inch alloy wheels as they create too much fidgeting over the lumps and bumps of typical UK tarmac. The 500 has the ability to take on motorway driving without feeling overly strained, while the only real niggle is the light steering at speed and a slight deadzone through the centre which increases the inputs having to be made.

Fiat has made the on-board tech a real highlight, with the 500 being the first car in its class to feature Level 2 autonomous driving. This means the car is able to adjust acceleration and braking, while also ensuring it remains within the designated lane, although the driver has to be ready to resume control at any time.

Engines, 0-60 acceleration and top speed 

The entry 94bhp 500 version achieves 0-62mph in 9.5 seconds, with a top speed of 84mph. It’s probably worth remembering that this is the ‘City Range’ option, so you probably won’t spend too much time exploring the top end of the speedo dial. Instead, it’s good to know that, with a healthy 220Nm of torque and the typical instant drive associated with all-electric cars, the base 500 is more than capable of keeping up with traffic in and around town.

Moving up to the 117bhp car brings a half-second advantage to 62mph and a 93mph maximum.

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