Fiat 500 review: interior, dashboard & comfort
The Fiat 500’s interior isn’t quite as plush as its price point suggests, but the infotainment system is good, nonetheless
The old Fiat 500 was adored for its cheeky, retro styling and while the new electric model doesn’t quite have the old-school charm of its predecessor, a smattering of up-to-date tech makes the cabin a much nicer place to be than before.
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 and door cards 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 June 2023, the Fiat 500 is available in three trim levels: the base ‘New 500’, (RED) 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 setups.
The electric Fiat 500 currently starts at 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. All cars also get cruise control, climate control, 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 New 500, 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.
Infotainment, apps & sat nav
Every version of the electric 500 gets a seven-inch digital instrument cluster and a sizable 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. Built-in sat nav comes as standard, although wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also included, meaning you can use your phone’s mapping and music apps, plus any associated voice features.
It's worth noting that at launch Fiat also offered the new 500 in entry-level ‘Action’ trim which forwent the central touchscreen in favour of a cradle for your mobile phone. Thankfully, all new cars get the touchscreen, but this may be something worth keeping in mind if you’re looking to buy your Fiat 500 used.
In This Review
- 1VerdictThe iconic Fiat 500 city car has gone electric-only in its latest incarnation – and it's better than its petrol predecessor in every way
- 2Range, battery & chargingWhile the smaller battery 500 is really only suitable for driving around town, the larger 42kWh version offers more range than many electric city car rivals
- 3Running costs & insuranceThe Fiat 500 is incredibly cheap to run and the brand’s E-Grant makes it more affordable to buy, too
- 4Performance, motor & driveThe Fiat 500 feels nippier than you might expect and has been perfectly designed for pootling around town
- 5Interior, dashboard & comfort - currently readingThe Fiat 500’s interior isn’t quite as plush as its price point suggests, but the infotainment system is good, nonetheless
- 6Boot space, seating & practicalityPoor practicality is the Fiat 500’s biggest downfall, due to its cramped rear seats and tiny boot, whichever model you go for
- 7Reliability & safety ratingAs this is Fiat's first pure-electric model, it's hard to comment on reliability just yet; it does have a reasonable four-star Euro NCAP safety score, though