The Auto Trader expert verdict: ★★★★★ ★★★★★ 5.0

Available new from £22,995

The Fiat 500 is available from March 2021 in fully electric 500e form, which is built on a brand-new platform. Slightly confusingly the similar looking previous version soldiers on too, this recently updated with a new mild hybrid engine but based on much older foundations. They will remain on sale alongside each other for the time being, before the new generation eventually takes over. Click here for our review of the mild hybrid version – for the all-new electric twist on this classic and incredibly popular Italian city car read on!

Reasons to buy

  • Fantastic looks
  • Recycled beach plastic inside
  • Great ownership costs

Running costs for a Fiat 500e 5/5

When price and range are considered together the Fiat 500e beats the current electric competition hands down in value for money terms. The range starts at £19,995, rising to £27,645 for the fanciest convertible version. £23,494 gets you the mid-range option, with delights such as wireless phone charging and almost 200 miles of range, all these prices factoring in the Government Plug-in Car Grant (PiCG). It’s a great deal. And while that starting price of £19,995 is about £6,000 more than the base price for the older mild hybrid version charging it will be much cheaper than filling up with petrol, and you won’t pay VED (or ‘road tax’ as it’s often known), congestion charge, Benefit In Kind as a company driver or very much in servicing costs.

Reliability of a Fiat 500e 4/5

Italian brands do not historically have a great reputation for reliability, but the Fiat 500 bucks that trend magnificently. When you consider the little city car’s immense popularity sustains the Fiat brand it would be foolish not to iron out every minor weakness and issue. The 500e is the first electric iteration of this all-new 500 so the jury is still out here, but Fiat shares platforms and technologies with the much larger Fiat Chrysler group so there has been significant investment in the powertrain.

Safety for a Fiat 500e 3/5

The Fiat 500 is a small car and doesn’t have a huge amount of bodywork between you and anything you may come into contact with but its standard safety features are impressive. There’s autonomous emergency brake control with pedestrian and cyclist detection, lane control, an alert if the car senses your attention wavering and traffic-sign recognition. Fiat also claims its 500 is the first city car with Level 2 autonomy, which means it has adaptive cruise control which brakes and accelerates to maintain a safety distance between you and the car in front, and what Fiat calls “lane centring”, which makes steering adjustments to keep the car between the white lines.

How comfortable is the Fiat 500e 4/5

While the lack of rear leg room won’t come as a surprise (you can’t have it all in a car this easy to park) the boot space will. In the electric version the battery pack is under the car, leaving the maximum boot space free for shopping. It’s deeper than many electric competitors, with room to stack shopping bags on top of each other. Thanks to the bubble silhouette there’s plenty of head room, and the seats are comfy but supportive. The ride isn’t too harsh and, thanks to the electric power, it’s also very quiet.

Features of the Fiat 500e 4/5

The 500 takes the original 1957 concept right into the 21st century with electric buttons instead of door handles, matt paints, and little 500 symbols inside the tail lights. There are three trim levels - Action, Passion and Icon. Inside, there’s an imprint of the Turin skyline on the wireless charging pad if you opt for the higher trim, and another imprint of the 1957 original on the door lining. The dash on the top trim is covered in a dark, textured recycled plastic called ‘techno wood’ and the seats can be covered in Seaqual, a third of the content of which comes from recycled beach plastic. The steering wheel can be specified in leather or a vegan alternative.

The infotainment screen is the largest in a Fiat to date, and the graphics have had a redesign. While that means the sat-nav is slightly easier to decipher, it’s still a cluttered design with too much tiny detail on it. There’s a wi-fi hotpot, wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto and charging from the mid trim level, and you can specify a rear-view camera, blind-spot warning and 360-degree camera.

Power for a Fiat 500e 3/5

Click here for our review of the mild hybrid version of the Fiat 500, which is based on an older platform. This new electric model comes with two different battery and range options - the City Range 23.7kWh version with a maximum range of 115 miles or the Long Range 42kWh model, with up to 199 miles of range. There are three drive modes, comprising Normal, Range and the magnificently named Sherpa which, as it suggests, guides you carefully to the nearest public charging point while conserving as much energy as possible. Range offers a one-pedal driving experience by recouping energy when you fit off the throttle, although the retardation is not as strong as on the Nissan Leaf or Honda E. At no point does the 500 e feel spritely in its acceleration, but it’s smooth and that short wheelbase makes for a fun drive.