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In-depth reviews

Fiat 500 - Electric motor, drive and performance

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

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.5 out of 5

Electric motor, drive and performance Rating

4.2 out of 5

Price
£15,719 to £21,429
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The Fiat 500 was always a good city car, but it’s been made even better by the addition 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 out of navigating 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 because 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 dead zone through at the straight-ahead position, which increases the inputs having to be made.

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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.

0-62mph acceleration and top speed 

Depending on which battery size you go for, the 500’s single electric motor that drives the front wheels produces either 92bhp or 116bhp. The base model will do 0-62mph in 9.5 seconds and hit a top speed of 84mph, while those fitted with the bigger battery get that little extra oomph, so they can do the same sprint in nine seconds exactly and max out at 93mph.

The addition of electric power suits the 500 very well, because the 220Nm of torque and the typical instant drive associated with all EVs make even the less powerful models more than capable of keeping up with traffic in and around town. Even on the open road or motorway, however, the Fiat doesn’t feel out of its depth, with enough power on tap for overtaking manoeuvres.

If you’re after something with even more performance, the souped-up Abarth 500e could be a suitable option. In typical hot-hatch fashion, the all-electric Abarth sticks with front-wheel drive, but power output from the single electric motor jumps to 150bhp with 235Nm of torque, enabling it to hit 62mph from standstill in 7.0 seconds.

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