Fiat 500 - Practicality, comfort and boot space
If it fits with your lifestyle, then the 500 city car should offer more than enough comfort and flexibility
The 500 retains its three-door, four-seat set-up, but from the driver’s seat, this latest interpretation of the iconic city car feels much more spacious than its petrol-powered sibling. Interior storage is good too, with decent cubby holes and storage bins, and the glovebox is bigger than you’ll find in a MINI.
Some may find the relatively high-set driver’s seat a little off-putting, but it does help with visibility, and the steering wheel is fully adjustable, so the driver should be able to find a comfortable position. Every model also gets useful practical touches, including rear parking sensors, two USB ports, electrically adjustable door mirrors, keyless entry, automatic wipers and cruise control.
However, the 500 falters once you try and get anyone into the rather cramped back seats. The wide doors are difficult to open in tight spaces, and passengers are then forced to clamber past the front seats in order to get seated. For those with children or who regularly carry people in the rear, five-door alternatives like the Honda e, Ora Funky Cat or Peugeot e-208 might suit you better.
Fiat was able to design the electric 500 using an all-new platform, with the result being a slight increase in dimensions over the standard petrol model. Overall length is now 3,632mm, width 1,900mm and height 1,527mm, although the 500 is still smaller than a MINI Electric or Honda e, which means parking should be a doddle. Interior space (particularly in the rear) is tighter, though, which is the obvious trade-off.
Leg room, head room & passenger space
As mentioned above, while space up front in the 500 is decent, adult passengers in the rear will find things less comfortable. Sitting behind a driver even of average height will mean that your knees are right up against the front-seat backrest, so you can rule out longer journeys with taller passengers because the headroom isn’t great, either.
The 500’s boot is predictably small, but at 185 litres it trumps the 171 litres of loadspace offered in the Honda e and comes within a few litres of the MINI Electric’s 211-litre boot. There is a high boot lip to contend with, which makes things more awkward when loading heavier items, although the false floor allows you to store charging cables underneath. Fiat has injected a little practicality by designing the rear seats to fold in a 50:50 configuration, but they don’t fold down completely flat.
In this review
- 1Fiat 500 reviewThe 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, 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 space - currently readingIf 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