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In-depth reviews

Fiat 500 review - a fun and affordable EV city car

"The Fiat 500 has been reborn with electric power. It's an even better city car but the price has gone up considerably"

Carbuyer Rating

4.0 out of 5

Owners Rating

2.8 out of 5

Read owner reviews
Price
£28,195 - £34,195

Pros

  • Cheap to run
  • 199-mile range
  • Desirable

Cons

  • Small boot
  • Expensive to buy
  • Very light steering

Verdict – is the Fiat 500 a good car?

​A successful switch to electric power shows the Fiat 500 will be around for some time yet. In top trim it has an impressive range and it’s one of the best value electric cars on sale. Overall, the electric 500 is a very good city car and is well-deserving of our 2023 Best Small Electric Car award. Its main drawbacks are its small boot and lack of five doors if you need more practicality. 

Fiat 500 models, specs and alternatives

The third-generation Fiat 500 city car arrived over half a century and six million sales after Italy's favourite small car first launched. It marks a historic turning point, too – this 500 is all-electric, which should be no surprise given the Fiat's trendsetting past. Its importance for the brand's future can't be overstated.

Best small electric carsTop 10 best small electric cars 2024

For the time being, Fiat is also selling the ‘old’ mild-hybrid petrol 500 for those who want a cheaper-to-buy small car, but the 'new' 500 comes with two zero-emissions powertrains.

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Trim levels include the range-topping La Prima, while the entry-level Red trim costs from just over £28,000, and Fiat offers competitive finance deals, including Fiat's own £3,000 'E-Grant' incentive. While it may seem a lot for a Fiat 500, it makes it very competitively priced against rivals like the MINI Cooper, Peugeot E-208 and Vauxhall Corsa Electric.

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Two versions of the electric 500 are offered: the entry-level version has a smaller battery and  94bhp. Available as a hatchback or with a retractable fabric roof, the 500 is also the UK's first electric convertible with four seats, but the soft top does increase its price by around £2,500. 

Like other electric cars, if you can stomach the relatively high price for a city car – or more likely find an affordable finance deal – the running costs start to pay dividends immediately. VED (road tax) is free, company car drivers will face small bills and recharging the battery at home costs less than you’d pay for petrol. The range-topping 500's 42kWh battery also gives it a range of up to 199 miles – nine miles further than that of the entry-level MINI Cooper, but behind the Cooper SE’s 250-mile range. If you stick to urban journeys in the Fiat though, the brand claims it can manage a range of up to 285 miles on a charge.

With 117bhp and instant pulling power, top versions of the 500 feel effortlessly quick around town, getting up to speed in next to no time. It also has a sharp turning circle and its suspension can cope with most potholes, making it an ideal urban runaround. Its range and up to 85kW fast charging should also make occasional longer trips relatively straightforward.

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The less expensive 500 gets a 23.9kWh battery and its official range is 118 miles, increasing to around 150 miles if you stay at city speeds. Acceleration from 0-62mph takes 9.5 seconds – half-a-second slower than the more expensive version.

Fiat has been careful to preserve the 500's unmistakable design, despite the car growing in every direction. Most impressively, the addition of a large battery pack hasn't made the cute Fiat look too tall – it's gained only 26mm in height. Meanwhile, features such as split LED headlights lend a modern look. The 500 no longer needs a front grille thanks to its electric powertrain, and this is also reminiscent of early 500s, which had the engine mounted in the rear.

Clean lines extend to the interior, where there's now less clutter and a wider fascia. The infotainment system is far more powerful, thanks to the arrival of U Connect 5, with a digital instrument display and high-definition 10.25-inch touchscreen. Occupants will enjoy more space and there's a better driving position, but the boot remains compact at 185 litres.

Safety also takes a leap forward, thanks to new sensors that offer the latest autonomous emergency braking, lane keeping and blind-spot monitoring functionality to help avoid collisions. The electric Fiat 500 has been awarded a four-star Euro NCAP rating, which is a reasonable score for a car of this size; in the same group of tests, the Renault ZOE got rescored to zero stars. Top-spec La Prima versions of the 500 add a 360-degree view and blind-spot monitoring.

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Which Is Best?

Cheapest

  • Name
    70kW 24kWh 3dr Auto
  • Gearbox type
    Auto
  • Price
    £28,195

Most Economical

  • Name
    87kW 42kWh 3dr Auto
  • Gearbox type
    Auto
  • Price
    £31,195

Fastest

  • Name
    87kW 42kWh 3dr Auto
  • Gearbox type
    Auto
  • Price
    £31,195

Andy is Carbuyer's managing editor, with more than a decade of experience helping consumers find their perfect car. He has an MA in automotive journalism and has tested hundreds of vehicles.

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