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Long Term Review

Living with a… Abarth 500e

Like a Fiat 500e but literally louder, we've got six months living with an Abarth 500e to find out what it's like

Erin Baker

Words by: Erin Baker

Published on 7 March 2024 | 0 min read

Fun, joyous, good-looking, nippy, easy to park and electric … what is not to like about the Abarth 500e? The scorpion badge adorning Fiat’s sporty sibling brand is now pinned to a more aggressive, powerful version of the incredibly popular Fiat 500e . But is it worth the extra cash? We’ll see over the next six months.
Skip to: Month 1 – Any sting in the tail?

What is it?

  • Model: Abarth 500e
  • Version: Convertible
  • Spec level: Turismo
  • Options fitted: Poison Blue paint (£600)
  • Price as tested: £41,195

We like

  • Fantastic looks
  • Easiest car to park
  • Cheap and quick to charge

We don’t like

  • Headlights dazzle other road users
  • Slow starter button
  • Old-fashioned Alcantara on wheel dash

Month 1 – Any sting in the tail?

Erin says: “It’s like a slice of sunshine on the grey February roads; everyone smiles at you, people let you out of junctions. She’s my dinky wedge of la dolce vita, my daily happiness pill. Ciao, bella!”


Trips taken

All local journeys this month, which is unsurprising given the maximum range of the Abarth 500e Turismo is 150 miles, and 136 miles has been the maximum I’ve squeezed out of this baby so far. But that’s to be expected for the size of this pocket rocket and a small battery means low range but also a quick charge. Seeing as the majority of my trips in the week consist of the five-mile school drop off, the two-miler to Sainsburys, and the three-miler to the station to commute into London range simply hasn’t been an issue so far. Like lots of electric car owners, I use a petrol car for longer motorway journeys at the moment, which is cheating. But a reality for a lot of people who don’t have time to build charging stops into their working week. We did take the Abarth 500e to the garden centre on a sunny day, and put the roof down to get two plants on the back seat. I think we’ll find the distance we travel in this car is constrained more by its size than its range.

We’re loving

The bright Poison Blue paintwork with the contrasting Acid Green scorpion badge and white painted front aero lip combine to create the most joyful car I’ve seen on the UK’s roads so far in 2024. It just lifts the spirits every time I walk out of the front door to drive somewhere. Given it’s February as I write this we’ve only had the roof down once, but I can see that having the Convertible version is going to be an absolute hoot as spring beds in. I’m also enjoying having such a small battery to charge. As long as I don’t let the battery fall below 20 per cent, I can get a full charge overnight on my five-hour off-peak tariff. That’s fantastic for peace of mind, to know you can set off every morning with a 100 per cent battery that cost you less than a fiver. I’m very lucky to have off-street parking and a home charger, but for those who will be charging this car on the public infrastructure at least it won’t take as long as bigger cars to get a decent whack of power on board.

We’re not so keen on

Well, there truly isn’t much so far, but it does feel like the 90s are calling and want their icky fake suede steering wheel back. Alcantara feels like it belongs to a previous decade now when there are so many cool textiles, fabrics and weaves available. The Alcantara is also along the dash, and I think it ages quickly. Also, unless the front passenger seat is quite far forwards, I can’t see out of the rear quarter light to pull out of my road each morning. Not a lot to be done as my road is at a funny angle with the main drag, but it’s annoying - I have to ask my son to pull his seat forwards so his knees touch the glove box briefly every morning so I can check for traffic.

Niggles

The starter button is annoying the hell out of me – can’t work out if I’m not pressing it down for long enough when I start the car, or whether I’m meant to press it twice. Either way at least once a day I think I’ve turned the car on, only to find I’ve merely woken it up, and pressing it again either starts it properly or turns it off completely. I’m never sure which it’s going to do. I’m sure we’ll start to understand each other soon, but I’ve spent most of this month in a blinding rush and it’s getting on my nerves.

Surprise and delight

I was going to put “sound generator” under niggles but, actually, I’m putting it here, because it is so ridiculous, it makes me laugh out loud. When activated (via steering wheel buttons and the driver display), the car emits a surprisingly loud ‘engine noise’. It also imitates both an idling and revving engine sound. The result is vaguely recognisable but also weirdly different. It works at a safety level because everyone stops to stare. Inside the car, it’s a bit much for long journeys as it’s quite loud, but boy, does it make you giggle. Back to top