Fiat 500 electric interior, dashboard & comfort

The Fiat 500 electric isn't as good value as it once was, but the option of a smaller battery has brought the city car's price down again

Overall rating

4.5 out of 5

Interior, dashboard & comfort rating

4.0 out of 5

Price
£26,195 - £34,195
Fuel Type:
Electric

The price of the electric Fiat 500 has steadily increased since it launched, partly due to the axing of the UK Goverment's plug-in car grant, as well as the removal of the entry-level Action model from the line-up. Though, as of January 2023, you can once again order the 500 with a smaller battery – which has brought the car's starting price down – and it's price tag is on par with rivals like the MINI Electric and Ora Funky Cat.

The Honda e is still undoubtedly more futuristic, while the MINI Electric perhaps feels a little more solid to the touch. However, what the Fiat lacks in outright quality or technology, it makes up for with its slick, classy design.

All models feature the same logical layout and feature a high-resolution seven-inch digital driver’s display behind the steering wheel. All models now also get a 10.25-inch infotainment touchscreen; cheaper variants previously came with either a smaller display or even a smartphone cradle – allowing you to plug your device straight onto the dash.

Elsewhere, comfort and refinement are good, with a set of plush front seats and a ride that isolates the very worst lumps and bumps. Beware that the convertible version doesn’t offer the same sound insulation from the outside world as the hatchback – you’ll notice a lot more wind noise and even voices of passers-by when crawling around in traffic.

Fiat 500 dashboard

The old petrol 500 was really starting to show its age inside. It had been updated a few times since it launched in 2007, but recently the car's design and technology fell some way short of the class best. Now, though, Fiat has brought the 500 bang up-to-date.

Okay, it’s perhaps not as overwhelmingly digital as a Honda e, but it’s got the MINI Electric licked for visual appeal. Quality is slightly patchy in places, with the hard scratchy plastics of the centre console contrasting with the lovely leather on the steering wheel.

We have reservations about the electric door release switches, too – they feel unnecessary, adding extra complexity to the small car when a conventional door pull would do. Thankfully there’s a manual emergency lever lower down should the system fail.

Equipment, options & accessories

As of January 2023, the Fiat 500 is available in three trim levels: the base 500, (RED) edition and ‘La Prima by Bocelli’. You can only get the latter with a 42kWh battery, while the entry-level 500 and (RED) edition are offered with both 24kWh and 42kWh batteries.

The electric Fiat 500 currently starts just over £28,000, rising to over £31,000 if you want the extra range from the bigger battery. Meanwhile the convertible version costs around £3,000 more. Standard kit includes a 10.25-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto Connectivity, 16-inch alloy wheels, keyless entry, automatic wipers and traffic-sign information. Plus, cruise control, climate control and split-folding rear-seats and rapid charging capability.

For the same price, you can go for the (RED) edition. Kit is the same as on the Icon, but you get a choice of four paint schemes, the most distinctive being the single-tone ‘red by (RED)’ option. Go for one of the other colours (Ice White, Onyx Black or Mineral Grey) and you still get red door mirrors and badging at the front, rear and in the centre of the steering wheel. Inside, the dashboard is also painted in the charity’s signature red, there’s a contrasting driver’s seat in either red or black, and a red anodised aluminium accelerator pedal.

The ‘La Prima by Bocelli’ special edition sits at the top of the range. It costs £3,000 more than the Icon and (RED) trims when equipped with the 42kWh battery, but for that you get full LED headlights, 17-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels, wireless phone charging, a panoramic roof, a woven dashboard and ice-beige seats with the Fiat signature. Not to mention a premium 320-watt JBL audio system, fully integrated with the vehicle and taking up no extra boot or cabin space. There are extra driver aids and semi-autonomous technology features, too.

Fiat currently isn't taking any orders for the entry-level Action model, which came with the 24kWh battery and much less kit. It had halogen headlamps instead of LED lights, parking sensors instead of a reversing camera, a smartphone cradle in place of the infotainment display and basic air-conditioning as opposed to climate control.

Infotainment, apps & sat nav

Every version of the electric 500 available to order at the moment gets a seven-inch digital instrument cluster and sizeable 10.25-inch central touchscreen. The infotainment system itself is light years ahead of anything we’ve seen in Fiats before, with a fairly slick interface and plenty of functionality. Plus, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, meaning you can use your phone’s mapping and music apps, plus any associated voice features.

The cheapest Action model makes do with a smartphone cradle on the dashboard rather than a central screen, while mid-range Passion were fitted with a seven-inch screen. However, both of these versions are no longer available to order.

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