Zap-Map verdict: “Fiat’s brilliant city car just got a little more brilliant. Now electric-only, the Fiat 500 adds responsive performance to agility and character in an ideal urban package.”
- ● OTR: £23,995 (Long Range tested)
- ● Category: City car
- ● Tax: £0 VED – 1% BIK
- ● Cost to charge: £6.00
- ● Emissions: 0 g/km CO2
- ● Cost per mile of range: £121
Fiat 500: Range & charging
Built on an EV platform, the Fiat 500 comes with a choice of two powertrain options. There’s a shorter range City version, and a Long Range option, and both are able to be rapid charged.
There are two configurations available:
- ● Fiat 500 City – 70 kW – 24 kWh – 118 miles
- ● Fiat 500 Long Range – 87 kW – 42 kWh – 199 miles
The official WLTP driving range for the Fiat 500 is as good as 199 miles on a charge. This is for the 42 kWh (37 kWh net) Long Range version in its most economical trim. The 24 kWh (21 kWh net) City version has a maximum range of 118 miles on the official figures.
This first drive didn’t allow for a thorough test of the range, but the Long Range model tested saw a return of 30 miles for 20% charge. This equates to a 150-mile range on a full charge after the test route, which saw a good blend of city work, country roads, and motorway. Most drivers would comfortably better this range as they are likely to stick more to urban routes, with the stop/start nature of traffic benefiting range.
There are three driving modes available – Normal, Range, and Sherpa. The former sees a light level of brake energy recuperation when lifting off the throttle, whereas Range and Sherpa see full ‘one-pedal’ driving possible thanks to strong regen settings that bring the car to a stop when required. It’s not the strongest of strong recuperation modes, but it does a good job for an economical drive.
Charging is available at up to 11 kW AC on any configuration of new Fiat 500. The smaller battery model can rapid charge at up to 50 kW DC, whereas the longer range version can take up to 85 kW DC where available. Charging times are as low as around half an hour for either model when plugged into a unit matching or exceeding the car’s abilities, whilst a charge on an 11 kW point will take around 2h 30m or 4h 15m for the shorter and longer range models respectively.
The Fiat 500 on the road
There are two different motors fitted to the City and Long Range models, but only slightly different in power output at 70 kW or 87 kW. The latter – fitted to the Long Range versions – has a 0-62mph time just half a second quicker than the other, which comes in at 9.5 seconds. As you would expect, the performance is responsive and brisk at lower speeds, but the Fiat 500 doesn’t feel out of place at motorway pace either.
What’s the Fiat 500 like to drive?
The suspension is well set-up, though on the stiff side of normal. It’s certainly not uncomfortable, but there are more softly sprung options out there. I prefer the Fiat 500’s approach, however, as the springs allow for an agile driving nature, and one that is well suited for city driving. Combine this with the light steering and the 500 is a superb car to drive about town.
Fiat 500: Comfort & Practicality
For those sitting up front, there are no issues at all with the Fiat 500’s comfort or interior space; it is only in the back that the latter could start to cause issues. Taller occupants will not appreciate the lack of leg room, or relative lack of head room either. The boot space is also quite small, but these are common elements from recent Fiat 500 models, and certainly not an issue in the city car class. If the Fiat is kept as an occasional four-seater, or kids seats are used in the rear, there will be no issues.
Design and functionality
The cabin very much looks forward, but with one eye on the 500’s enviable past. High-spec versions get a large widescreen touchscreen system, and the driver gets a digital instrument binnacle no matter the trim level. Drive controls are on the dashboard, so the central storage and controls have been situated flush with the front seats, giving the impression of the 1957’s bench seat. There are other elements such as the Turin skyline in the phone compartment, and original 500 silhouette in the door handles. Despite reminders of the past, the doors have electronic handles, there’s wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto connectivity, and a suite of connected car features.
Fiat 500: Tech & Specifications
There are three core trims, plus a La Prima launch edition (tested). Fitted as standard to the 42 kWh model core model – which starts at Passion trim – are:
- 15-inch bi-colour wheels
- Seven-inch infotainment display
- Digital driver’s instruments
- Keyless entry
- Air conditioning
- Rear parking sensors
- Cruise control
- Safety suite
There are a few fierce competitors in the compact EV space, but the Fiat 500 more than holds its ground. With an excellent range, focus on style, and plenty of engineering to back up its looks, the little Fiat is a match for anything in its class. Different to the likes of the BMW i3 and Honda e, but still an excellent choice whether you’re looking for a city car, or an electric city car.
And how much is the road tax on a Fiat 500? Use our Car Tax Calculator to find out.
All information above correct at time of publication. Official economy figures, pricing, and tax rates supplied by the manufacturer. Cost to charge based on 0-100% charge at home on a tariff of 16 p/kWh.