The all-electric 500e is one of the glitziest city cars you can buy. Fiat knows its market well, and the 500e is predominantly designed with women in mind, although fashionable guys will enjoy cruising around in style just as much. It's more attention-grabbing than other city cars like the Vauxhall Corsa-e or Peugeot e-208.
It doesn’t have a grille because it’s electric, so it looks very similar to the original 1950s 500s, which had a rear-mounted engine. There are three trims but all of them have the same fundamental design, except for the 3+1 model that has an additional rear door that opens backwards.
Expect subtle 500 iconography and badges, and gorgeous coloured LED lights based off the 1957 Fiat 500. It’s small, cute and fashionable. We particularly love the rose gold wrap on the Icon trim (which was the finish of the car we drove) for head-turning driving!
What’s it like to drive?
With the 500e, you get everything you’d want and expect from an electric city car. It’s small, it’s nippy and you can weave in and out of traffic like a breeze. Parking, U-turns are dead easy, and the instant acceleration makes it quick for slipping out of junctions.
One-pedal drive makes running around time a very stress-free experience – just take your foot off the accelerator and the car will come to a stop. You get a 42kW battery with a claimed range of 199 miles, and we’ve found it only really takes one full charge for an average weeks’ worth of driving in the city.
It’s a little bit jolty over speed bumps, as are most small cars, so you should slow down to a sensible speed, but that’s really our only complaint. The safety assists like Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB), hill start assist and lane assist makes you feel taken care of and come as standard.
The interior feels like home – streamlined but not too minimal, chic and a little flamboyant. The two-tone rose gold and silver dash on the Icon trim makes the materials look more expensive too. It’s one of the best-designed city car interiors – everything is just where you need it.
The buttons for air-con, seats, and windows are below the central touchscreen and instantly accessible, and the drive selector buttons (P, D, R) are large and central on the lower dash. It’s spacious upfront, but as there are only two seats in the back, you do have compromise there. It's similar in size to the VW e-up!
The 10.25-inch infotainment system is one of the easiest we’ve tried, with quick response times and intuitive menus. You don’t get the million windows open like some systems, so you can always get back to the home menu in a click or two. The driver's set up is nice too, and the journey summary and clear battery percentage is particularly helpful for first-time drivers.
The interior feels like home – streamlined but not too minimal, chic and a little flamboyant
There’s no beating about the bush – a city car isn’t going to be an endless palace of space, but the 500e is surprisingly decent with upfront room. Those over 6ft can stretch their necks and there’s lots of legroom. The back is cramped and there’s only two seats, but that makes it better for two kids. Plus, because the Fiat doesn’t need a gearstick, the area between the front seats is now a storage area, with cubby holes and handy USB ports. The boot is small but you’re probably not needing to get more than the shopping in anyway!
Running costs and reliability
One of the biggest bonuses of owning an electric car is saving money on running costs. The Fiat has an acclaimed range of 199 miles, and during our week of reviewing, we didn’t even use that up. It costs us less than £10 to publicly charge overnight in London, and in current times when petrol and diesel are at record prices, it's very nice for the bank account when you pay that once a week.
The average UK commuter drives a roundtrip of 23 miles or less a day, so for most people, you can go to work and back on a single charge for the whole working week easily. Electric cars tend to be more reliable than petrol or diesel cars too (there are fewer parts to go wrong, for starters!), so you’re likely to save money on maintenance costs too.
What we love
It’s hard to find a small car with bigger personality. We think the electric 500e is even better than its combustion alternative, and it certainly brings a smile to the faces of everyone who sees it.
It’s reinvented for a new eco-friendly generation of drivers, and we’re here for the back-to-the-Italian-roots looks, with a modern and stylish interior.
Still looking for the one?
Use our comparison tool to find the car for you
The Fiat 500e is a best-seller, and one nip around town and you'll see why it's a hot buy. It's ready for your first electric step.
This review was