4.2 out of 5 4.2
Parkers overall rating: 4.2 out of 5 4.2

Familiar looks for all-new all-electric Fiat city car

Fiat 500 Electric Hatchback (20 on) - rated 4.2 out of 5
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At a glance

New price £23,495 - £30,495
Lease from new From £270 p/m View lease deals
Used price £17,375 - £27,130
Used monthly cost From £434 per month
Fuel Economy 4.3 - 4.8 miles/kWh
Insurance group 15 - 18 How much is it to insure?
New

PROS

  • Wonderfully stylish inside and out
  • Quick and fun to drive
  • Long range for a small car

CONS

  • If you want it well-equipped it'll be pricey
  • Entry-level version trades range for cost
  • Not particularly practical

Fiat 500 Electric Hatchback rivals

Written by Tom Wiltshire on

Is the Fiat 500 Electric any good?

Though it’s undergone many revisions, trim additions and styling tweaks, the basic shape of the Fiat 500 has remained pretty much the same since it was rebooted in retro-modern form way back in 2007. That's good news, because it was a good city car then, and remains so today, following its latest evolution.

That's because the new 500 (or the new new 500, depending on how you classify the classic 1957 model) is based on a totally fresh set of underpinnings. It’s all-electric, with combustion engines not even an option, and built in a new factory in Turin – leaving the existing 500 factory free to manufacture petrol-powered models for a few years yet.

With a starting price of less than £20,000 (after the government's Plug-in Car Grant) Fiat's aiming the 500 at the heartland of cheap electric cars - putting it into contention with everything from the Volkswagen e-Up to the Renault Zoe.

Read the Fiat 500 Electric verdict

What's it like inside?

The 500’s overall shape is as classic as it ever was – rounded, stubby and brimming with fun details. Take for example the door handles, which have been replaced with buttons and electric latches. Little fins on the bonnet line house the indicator repeaters and evoke the classic 500, while the lack of a combustion engine means there’s no need for a front grille – instead, you just get a ‘500’ logo.

The interior’s right on the money, too. It’s modern, in contrast to the retro charm of the old model, but for such a small car it feels amazingly high quality. Top-end models get digital dials combined with a widescreen infotainment display, while throughout the cabin buttons and switches have been minimised in a bid to make it as clean-looking as possible.

Read more on the Fiat 500 Electric interior

What's it like to drive?

The 500 Electric does exactly what you expect it will – it accelerates smartly and silently from the line and enjoys the instant throttle response typical of all electric cars. Performance on paper looks unimpressive, with a 9.5 second time for the 0-62mph run, and a maximum speed of 84mph, but it feels nippy and is more than capable of keeping up with the flow in town.

Out of town, it rarely feels out of its depth, too – which can be a problem with small electric cars. On the motorway, it cruises happily at the legal limit, and although the ride's a little jittery, it's far from uncomfortable. So if you're looking at one and worried about it's ability to take on the odd long journey, don't.

Read more on how the Fiat 500 Electric drives

What models and trims are available?

For those who like the wind in their hair – and there are plenty of them – it’s great to know that Fiat has continued to offer a 500C convertible for this new electric generation. So far the only four-seater electric soft-top on the market, we’ve covered it in its own separate review here.

Regardless of whether you choose a hard roof or a soft top, the 500’s available in several trim levels, all of which come with plenty of kit including a fully digital dashboard and air-conditioning. Lower-specification cars come with a bracket so your smartphone can perform double duty as an infotainment screen – not a bad idea, considering the size and quality of a modern smartphone screen.

Step further up and you’ll find either a 7.0 or 10.25-inch infotainment display, both of which are fitted with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. More interesting features include the materials on the inside, such as Seaqual, which is made from recycled ocean plastic, or so-called ‘eco-leather’ on top trim levels.

What else should I know?

The new 500 is definitely a car of the post-2030 future. Instead of a petrol or diesel engine, it’s available exclusively with a 118hp electric motor and a choice of two different-sized battery packs.

The smaller 23.7kWh battery provides up to 115 miles of range, which is about on a par with its main rivals, the similarly stylish Honda e or MINI Electric. The 500's cheaper than both of those cars, though.

Most will opt for the larger 42kWh battery pack, though, as this gives a range of 199 miles – enough that most people could last a couple of weeks of inner-city commuting and shopping trips without needing to top up in between.

Of course, most people will be charging their 500s at home, where the larger battery takes 15 hours 15 minutes on a three-pin plug or 4hr 15min on an 11kW home wallbox. Out and about, you can get a 0-80% charge in just 35 minutes from an 85kW fast charger.

Fiat 500 Electric Hatchback rivals

Other Fiat 500 Electric models: