This is the 2021 Fiat 500, a subtly updated and now fully electric take on the iconic small car.
The key to the new Fiat 500 appeal is its price tag. this is a small electric car after the government grant has been taken into account starts from less than 20,000 pounds. if you’ve got a bit more money to spend, there are bigger batteries and your specs on offer and you can even order one with a folding fabric roof. Fiat has also announced an additional three plus one version of the electric 500. with a small rear hinge back door on one side that gives easier access to the rear seats.
For now, this version is for left-hand drive markets only. fiat is looking into its UK market viability but says that a third door would have to stay on the wrong side of the car.
The style-conscious buyers that this car is so squarely aimed at will love what fiat 500 has done here. don’t you think it just looks fantastic in the metal the designers have kind of done just enough to keep that iconic shape without diluting the formula too much? take this front end for example it’s now completely smooth which hints at this car’s electric powertrain. the headlights have been updated with fresh LEDs whilst if you take a look down the side, I think you’d be hard-pressed to tell this car apart from its predecessor apart from this gorgeous chrome beltline. that runs all the way around to the boot lid.
Now overall we think this is a classic design. that’s kind of retro without feeling too cute. what do you reckon let us know in the comments below? and it’s a similar story in here. the old petrol 500 was starting to show its age. okay, it’d been updated a few times since it launched back in 2008. but in terms of design and tech, it was some way off the class best. but now fiat has brought the 500 bang up to date. okay, it’s perhaps not as overwhelmingly digital or as nicely built as a honda e. but in terms of design, it’s got the mini licked.
Every version gets this seven-inch digital instrument cluster. but the very cheapest action trim makes do with the smartphone cradle on the dash. to get this huge 10.25-inch display you’ll need to bypass the seven-inch screen on the passion model and upgrade to the icon spec. we’ll come back to the trims in a little more detail later.
Elsewhere whilst quality is a little bit patchy in places because you do get some scratchier plastics lower down matched with some nice leather on the steering wheel and some lovely seats. there are some cool touches like this electric door release and the digital dials look great the central screen is miles better than anything we’ve seen in fiat before and you get these piano keys underneath which control everything to do with the climate control. so back to those specs and standard equipment, entry-level action cars don’t get much in the way of luxury kits.
You get halogen headlamps instead of LEDs, parking sensors instead of a reversing camera, and air conditioning as opposed to climate control. these models only come with a smaller 24-kilowatt-hour battery too. meaning you’re stuck with a range of just 115 miles and that is according to official tests. even the mini electric and honda e will manage more. you do get 50-kilowatt fast charging on every theater however as well as a mode two cable for topping up at public charge points.
Step up to the passion spec for around three and a half thousand pounds. and as well as a larger 42-kilowatt-hour battery and a more generous 186 to 199-mile range. You’ll also get that all-important touchscreen with DAB radio, Apple car play, and Android auto, plus cruise control, climate control, and split-folding rear seats.
You’ll be able to charge 85 kilowatt rather than 50-kilowatt chargers too. moving up the range icon adds this lovely 10.25-inch screen seen in our car. as well as 16-inch alloy wheels keyless entry automatic wipers and traffic sign recognition. if tech is high on your agenda, then the extra 1500 quid is surely well worth it. la prima sits at the top of the range. it costs 12,000 pounds more than the icon at a smidge under 27,000 pounds or 30,000 pounds for the convertible. but it adds big car luxury features like wireless smartphone charging, parking camera, led lights, and 17-inch alloy wheels. there are extra driver aids and semi-autonomous tech too.
But enough about the specs what’s this new electric fiat 500 like to drive. well I’m pleased to report the news is good and that’s not something I thought. I’d be saying about a car with the 500 badges on the nose. you see the old one was playful but it was flawed in so many ways. electric power suits it though it feels nippy and agile even in normal mode with enough performance for day-to-day driving. but if you’re less fussed on outright speed then there are different drive modes to help you eke out every last mile of electric range.
Like the mini’s green plus mode the fiat 500 has a sherpa setting which you can adjust via the emo drive switch down here on the center console. using this setting dulls the power from the battery and turns off the air con so you get maximum range whatever the circumstances.
Like many electric cars, it is at its best around town for sure where the light steering makes it super easy to drive. it’s perhaps not quite as at home on faster flowing bendier roads. but it never feels out of its depth not even on the motorway. the ride is rather good where it feels kind of controlled without feeling too soft. again, it’s probably at its best through town but on the motorway no complaints at all. our biggest issue comes with the refinement on this convertible car where the thin fabric roof does relay noises like wind and even voices around town. we do not doubt that the hatchback is better in this regard.
Charging and Range
In our experience, the electric 500 is likely to return closer to 150 or 160 miles on a charge rather than the 186 to 199 miles that fiat claims. but achieving that real-world range couldn’t be easier. frustratingly fiat doesn’t publish times the most popular seven-kilowatt war boxes but says those with faster three-phase 11 kilowatt electricity can recharge to full in four hours and 15 minutes. given a three-pin plug takes a little over 15 hours. we can assume those with a seven-kilowatt setup could do the same job in eight to nine hours. but every 500 also comes with at least 50-kilowatt rapid charging matching the mini in this regard.
The entry-level sphere with its smaller battery will recharge from 0 to 80% or around 90 miles in 30 minutes. go for one of the bigger battery cars and while they offer substantially more range the faster on-board charger means they’ll get to 80% or around 160 miles in 35 minutes.
Now, if you’re in the market for a car like this practicality is unlikely to be too much of a sticking point. but that said the fiat’s main rival the honda does have a set of rear doors which will make life so much easier if you’re regularly throwing things or kids in the back. now I’m going to save us all the pain of trying to get into those back seats on camera. but believe me, it is pretty tight back there. boot space is pretty poor too. this is the convertible version so it’s pillar-box boot it’s even tighter than the hatchbacks. if you go for that model then you’ll get 185 liters which are smaller even than the space you’ll find in a mini electric.
Fiat 500 Fully Electric – Last words
However, like that car, the seats split down the middle. so long as you avoid the basic action model which does make it easier to carry big bulky items. it feels wrong to end on a negative so here are a load of plus points. the new fiat 500 is a fantastic electric car. it might be 12 months late for the small fashionable ev party. but it does just enough to trump its rivals for all-round appeal. The entry price draws you in but in reality, it’s the mid-spec models that make the most sense. it’s got a strong kit list a decent real-world range and an irrefutably cool retro image. this new fiat 500 is one of the most exciting and ultimately accomplished cars of 2020.
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