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In-depth reviews

Fiat 500 review

The electric Fiat 500 fulfills its city car brief brilliantly, but there are more practical EVs

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

Price
£15,744 to £21,459
  • Nippy in town
  • Good on-board tech
  • Stylish
  • Tight rear space
  • Fidgety ride on bigger wheels
  • Overly light steering at speed
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Quick Verdict: 

The 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, plus a practical real-world electric range that means a trip out of town isn’t out of the question.

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True, there are a number of other small electric cars to choose from – including the excellent and handily cheaper Citroen e-C3. Like the e-C3, many of the 500’s rivals are bigger cars with five doors, making them a more practical choice if you regularly carry passengers. Still, this electric 500 has enough cheeky charm that we can still recommend it as one of the best small electric cars currently on sale.

Fiat 500: price, specs and rivals

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 electric 500 is slightly longer, wider, and taller than its petrol-powered counterpart (which remains on sale as the Fiat 500 Hybrid). It 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.

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Despite the small, affordable electric car market not being as established as other sectors, there has been quite a bit of change in it. When the Fiat 500 electric was launched, its main rivals were the Honda e and MINI Electric. The former has since been discontinued, while the latter has been replaced with a model named MINI Cooper

Other options have popped up since: the Ora 03 (formally known as the Funky Cat), and the electric versions of established superminis such as the Peugeot E-208 and Vauxhall Corsa Electric. However, the 500 is also going to face some stiff opposition in the form of the Citroen e-C3, which has already secured our overall 2024 Car of the Year gong, while the upcoming Dacia Spring undercuts the 500 significantly on price.

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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 some buyers, but you can get the 500 with a much larger (and heavier) 42kWh battery. This version has a range of 193 miles, while power is increased to 116bhp so that the 0-62mph dash still takes around nine seconds. That’s quite nippy for an electric city car, but that hasn’t stopped the brand from introducing the hot Abarth 500e, which provides plenty of extra go in the same diminutive package.

The 500’s trim structure has been overhauled several times since it launched, including the axing of the cheap and cheerful Action specification, which was so basic that it used a smartphone cradle in place of an actual infotainment system. The three trim levels currently available are the base 500, (RED) edition and top-of-the-range La Prima. 

Prices for the electric 500 start from around £25,000, making it among the cheapest EVs on sale right now. Upgrading to the bigger battery increases the price tag to around £28,000, while the Convertible version starts from around £31,000.

Frequently Asked Questions

The Fiat 500 is a stylish small EV that's easy to drive and features good onboard technology. Its dinky proportions mean overall space could be better, but it's refined, cheap to run and offers plenty of safety kit for the money.

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