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Fiat 500e All-Electric

The independent definitive Fiat New 500 video review
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    By Jonathan Crouch

    The all-electric New Fiat 500 re-invents and re-defines what this iconic model line should be. Jonathan Crouch drives it.

    Ten Second Reviewword count: 98

    This is the third generation Fiat 500, a model the brand rather charmingly calls 'a boutique car for the working man' - or woman: this new-era design will certainly have far more across-the-board appeal. Contrary to appearances, everything is different - not least the fact that you can only have battery power, this being Fiat's first all-electric car, offered as with the previous 500 in three-door hatch and Convertible body styles. It's stylish, cheeky and best of all, the driving range is class-leading for a tiny EV. In short, if you can afford one, there's lots to like.

    Backgroundword count: 166

    A new Fiat 500 is a big deal. We had the cute original in 1957. The New Millennium model that saved Fiat as a car maker, launched in 2007. And this car, introduced in early 2020. It's only offered in full-electric form (which is why the old petrol mild hybrid model carries on). And that's part of the reason development of this MK3 model has been so lengthy. Fiat wanted to wait for battery technology to mature a bit before launching this car - and that's paid off, allowing the brand to engineer in a much longer EV driving range than close rivals, the MINI Electric and the Honda e. "It doesn't feel time to be timid", says Fiat boss Oliver Fran├žois. "This car isn't just for now, it's for the next decade. So it's built new from the ground up and it's all-electric and only electric from day one". But the exterior look is very recognisable, as is the hatch and convertible body style choice.

    Driving Experienceword count: 390

    This all-electric 500 model's 42kWh battery pack is mated to an 118hp motor and is fitted across the range, including the Convertible variants. This is good for 186-199 miles and the car manages the 0-62mph time in 9 seconds. Few will want the base 93hp version with its much smaller 24kWh battery (good for only 118 miles). Whatever your 500e choice, like all EV's, this one feels even quicker off the mark than that figure suggests (in the 42kWh variant, 30mph can be reached from rest in just 3.1s), though Fiat has tried to make power delivery quite linear so that you don't use up all your battery charge at once. Maximum speed is restricted though - to just 93mph. Various types of automated driving technology are available, including adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist and intelligent speed limit assist. There's lots here that owners of previous 500 models will recognise - the high-ish seating position and manoeuvrability for instance; there's a tight 9.6-metre turning circle. You also get the previous model's rather brittle low speed ride quality, though it copes with poorer pot holes and speed humps quite well and anyway, things smooth out quite a lot once you get out of town. When you might discover that this Fiat actually handles quite well, despite having to carry around 350kgs more weight around than the MK2 mild hybrid petrol model. All the weight of the mattress-shaped Samsung battery has been positioned well down, compensating for the extra bulk with a lower centre of gravity, hence the well-controlled body roll at speed through the corners, though the effect is somewhat masked by the rather anaesthetised electric steering. A series of drive modes are available that will enable you to maximise your driving range. There are three settings - 'Normal', 'Range' and the curiously named 'Sherpa', with the last of these being focused on getting the maximum from the battery, including a navigation program that will limit maximum speed to 50mph and restrict acceleration. The 'Range' mode maximises brake regeneration, meaning that you'll normally only have to drive with one pedal, so great will be the deceleration when you lift off the throttle. But most of the time, you'll be leaving in this car in its 'Normal' setting, in which form it won't require too much acclimatisation over a conventionally-engined supermini.

    To see the full road test text contact us on 0330 0020 227

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    Statistics (subset of data only)

    Min

    Max

    Price:

    £26,995.00

    £29,000.00

    Max Speed (mph):

    87

    0-62 mph (s):

    9

    Electric WLTP-Rated Driving Range (miles):

    199

    Length (mm):

    3630

    Width (mm):

    1690

    Height (mm):

    1530

    Scoring (subset of scores)

    Category: Hybrid, Plug-in, Electric & Hydrogen

    Performance
    50%
    Handling
    60%
    Comfort
    60%
    Space
    60%
    Styling, Build, Value, Equipment, Depreciation, Handling, Insurance and Total scores are available with our full data feed.

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