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Fiat 500e extended review: what it's really like to live with a used electric car

  • Fiat 500e Electric makes the perfect commuter car
  • We're running an approved used example
  • What's it like to run a Spoticar-supplied used electric car?

Written by Keith Adams Published: 10 June 2024 Updated: 10 June 2024

Want to buy a used electric car that’s perfect for running around locally in, but still capable of the odd long journey? We’re running a Fiat 500e through the Spoticar used car scheme on a long-term test to see whether going used electric is as painless as we hope it is.

Update one: Buying an approved used Fiat

Given the huge popularity of manufacturer-backed secondhand cars, we’ve added a genuine used car to our long-term test fleet. Given that so many of our readers worry about the cost of buying a used electric car, it seemed the perfect opportunity to grab a battery-powered car – and an award-winning one at that. So, we plumped for an entry-level Fiat 500e – at one year old, it comes in at 66% of the new list price (in cash terms).

Fiat 500e approved used long-term test
The dealership experience – approved used car buying is very much like getting a new one.

Running a Fiat 500e over an extended period is something we’ve wanted to do for a while. Launched back in 2020, going on sale in the UK the following year, the Parkers team quickly fell in love with the car’s charms, ultimately going on to vote it the best small electric car for 2022 and 2023.

At the time, we concluded, ‘As a small, urban run-around, the Fiat 500 Electric nails the brief in today’s world – combining style, the latest tech and a nippy driving experience without having to use a drop of petrol.’ But running one long-term has evaded us until now, giving us the opportunity to run an approved used example.

Given that Fiat falls under parent company Stellantis’s Spoticar approved used scheme, it made sense to try out this programme, which has been borne out of Vauxhall’s now-defunct, but-still-excellent Network Q set-up. It’s a sustainable model of approved used cars that covers vehicles up to 10 years old – proof that Fiat is confident enough to support its model range long after the new car warranty has run out.

Fiat 500e approved used long-term test
All Spoticar used cars are throughly checked before being offered for sale.

The Spoticar programme

Spoticar cherrypicks used cars for an extensive quality check and ideal presentation, the intent being to provide a car that is as appealing as a brand new example. They can come directly from the dealer network in the form of trade-ins, or are vehicles at the end of their lease deals. Eiter way, they need to be in good condition to be eligible to be sold via this platform.

Coverage of the inspection varies according to the car, with more than 100 points checked on all models. Software versions and operation of entertainment features are included, as well as the more obvious checks of bodywork, running gear and interior.

Worn parts are replaced, so suspension bushes and exhaust rubbers will perform as well as a new car, and tactile surfaces are also inspected and renewed where necessary. Kerbed wheels are apparently the most common issue, but if damage to the alloys is found, the issue will be rectified at Spoticar’s impressive cantral preparation centre long before it makes it out to a dealer’s forecourt.

Fiat 500e approved used long-term test
Signing on the dotted line – if there are any issues, they will be sorted out, just like a new car.

Our car: The Fiat 500 Electric 118HP

Arriving at the showroom, it there were plenty of 500es to choose from, but our model had already been moved to the customer handover area to the side of the main dealership. It seemed reasonable that a secondhand vehicle would be retrieved from the workshop, keys passed over and on your way, but in this respect you’re instead treated to a full new car-style handover.

Once the paperwork is completed, I’m lead over to my ‘new’ car, where it has been cleaned, polished and sparkles like a showroom model. This handover is important, as used car buyers are just as committed and valuable as new.

A thorough introduction to the driving, safety and entertainment systems gets the Fiat 500e set up exactly as the buyer prefers with the promise that if I find anything I’m not sure about, I can return to the dealer and they’ll show me what’s needed. The most important thing is that the buyer knows where all controls are – although, to be fair, once my phone is plumbed in, the Fiat is super-simple to use.

Fiat 500e approved used long-term test
Keith gets the full handover treatment, right down to instructions on how to charge up, and where.

Finished in Celestial Blue, the 500e looks subtle and smart, and comes with a decent amount of power, and the relatively large (for a city car) battery pack with 42kWh capacity. That gives us a theoretical range of 203 miles, and we’ll soon be reporting how that translates into real world driving. It packs 118hp which gives it a 0-62mph time of 9.0 seconds and a maximum speed of 93mph. Will that be enough to keep me satisfied?

Cash price to buy new at the time of writing was £31,995, but Fiat’s decision to offer a £3,000 e-grant certainly helps make it more affordable. Given the downward trend in new EV prices throughout 2024, expect that to drop further. However, as ours is an approved used model with 4,000 miles on the clock the numbers look very different.

Fiat 500e used PCP deal

Total cost of the car£19,995.00
Total advance£17,995.50
Total amount of credit£4,928.69
Total amount payable£24,923.69
Monthly payments (x47)£329.77
Option to buy at the end of the deal£7,425.00
Interest rate9.9% APR
Fiat 500e approved used long-term test
Our Fiat 500e has a good balance of cost vs battery range.

Our 500 Electric model includes:

  • Alloy wheels, black fabric interior, body-coloured dashboard
  • 10.25-inch infotainment screen with sat-nav, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Cruise control and speed limiter, plus one-pedal EV driving
  • Premium-wrapped steering wheel, keyless go, automatic air conditioning
  • Traffic sign recognition, Autonomous Emergency Braking

We’ll be taking a longer look at our used Fiat 500e over the coming weeks and months, but in the meantime you can read our full Fiat 500e review here

Update two: first impressions

A month in, and we’re really enjoying the Fiat 500e, even if we don’t have the ideal homecharging situation.

Fiat 500e approved used long-term test
The Fiat 500e is proving an ideal car for ambling around the Lake District and Lancashire valleys.

One month in from collecting the Fiat 500e, and its now ticking along nicely. It’s become part of a two electric car household, running alongside my Skoda Enyaq vRS, with my partner, Sue, racking up the miles commuting and running around locally where she lives. Such is the complexity of our work/life balance, she lives in Cumbria, and I am in Lancashire.

We’re 80 miles apart, so she regularly comes to visit, which is a good test of the battery capacity. Yes, 80 miles doesn’t sound that far, but unlike me, Sue’s place in Cumbria doesn’t have a home wallbox, nor does her village hae a public charger. So, she needs to recharge in a neighbouring town, which is in the opposite direction to my place. What this means is Sue needs to plan her trips if she wants to avoid any form of range or charger anxiety.

The point is – even a couple of years ago, this might have been an intolerable situation. But the Fiat’s good (for a city car) real-world range of 160-180 miles means there’s plenty in reserve, while the motorway charging between us is fast, efficient, and not very busy. In conclusion, despite not having her own charger, Sue never has range anxiety – although knowing there’s destination charging at my house certainly helps a lot.

Fiat 500e approved used long-term test
There’s plenty of reliable rapid charging now available on the motorway, if you need it.

What of the car itself? I absolutely love driving it. When I first tested the 500e back in 2021, I found some elements of its design and make-up, such as the push button transmission and cutsie power-on chime, a little bit much. But now I really don’t mind, and instead am left with a car that steers, stops and drives with enough precision to be fun at times.

In terms of energy consumption and range, on the motorway at 70mph, 140 miles is probably your realistic range, while a rapid charger will have it topped up in less than an hour. It’s not the fastest set-up, but that’s not such a handicap with a 42kWh battery. However, on an unrushed weekend of inter-urban driving and taking some interesting hill roads, I extended that to 180 miles – which is more than enough for a car designed for cities.

Sue’s impressions are much more interesting. Her regular car is an Audi A3, and since the Fiat 500e arrived, she’s barely looked at it. Any unfamiliarity with EV driving – such as one-pedal driving – dissolved within the first few miles, and it all feels completely natural to her. I have to say that backs up my own impressions that Fiat have judged the key driving controls of this car very well indeed.

In short, it’s going down well – and with not a single quality or reliability issue to content with so far.

Fiat 500e approved used long-term test
The 500e is proving extremely easy to live with and enjoyable to drive.

Fiat 500e long-term test: scores on the doors

Model tested: 500 Electric 118HP 42kWh

Current mileage4,950
Real-world energy efficiency3.9 miles/kWh
Official efficiency (WLTP figures)4.3-4.8 miles/kWh
Parkers ‘MPP’ (Miles Per Pound) calculation6.3-7.6 mpp (public charging)
Real-world range170 miles