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In-depth reviews

Fiat 500e: performance, motor & drive

The Fiat 500e feels nippier than you might expect and has been perfectly designed for pootling around town

Overall rating

3.5 out of 5

Performance, motor & drive rating

4.0 out of 5

Price
£28,195 - £31,435
Fuel Type:
Electric

Model

0-62mph

Top speed

Driven wheels

Power

24kWh

9.5s

84mph

Front

92bhp

42kWh

9.0s

93mph

Front

116bhp

Put simply, Fiat has nailed the ‘city runabout’ brief with the 500e; it’s nippy enough for darting in-between traffic (and small enough that it’ll actually fit), it has light steering that makes manoeuvres a breeze, plus compliant suspension to soak up the meteoric craters we call potholes that line our British streets.

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The driver’s seat is now slightly lower; you still feel as if you're perched a little high, but it gives a decent view out and it no longer feels like you're sitting on a bar stool, like in the old 500. There’s no ‘Sport’ mode, so the car will default to its ‘Normal’ setting when you start it up – Abarth offers a tuned version of the 500e if you’re after something with a bit more poke. As for the Fiat, there are two other drive modes other than Normal, with one called ‘Range’, which softens the throttle response a bit to preserve range, and the other called ‘Sherpa’, which turns off the air-conditioning and softens throttle response still further.

Fiat 500e 0-62mph, top speed and acceleration

No matter which Fiat 500e you go for, every model does 0-62mph in around nine seconds. Despite the numbers suggesting otherwise, the 500 feels rather brisk when you floor it – especially in the 0-30mph ballpark, making the Fiat perfect for quick getaways from traffic lights. A MINI Electric or Honda e will be even faster, though. 

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One thing worth noting is that it feels surprisingly composed on the motorway, too; the electric motor offers plenty of pulling power for overtaking, although the entry-level model’s 24kWh battery won’t allow you to travel very far.

Handling

Let’s get things straight – the Fiat 500e isn’t as sharp to drive as the MINI Electric. But the trade-off is a more compliant ride that offers a level of comfort missing from this car’s main rivals. That’s not to say the Fiat feels sloppy when you pick up the pace.

There's enough power to put a smile on your face and there’s a lovely control and predictability to the way it drives. Although the steering is very light and doesn't offer much in the way of feel, it’s easy to place the 500e on the road, mostly thanks to its small size. Fiat doesn't offer a Sport mode for the 500e, but the aforementioned Abarth 500e is always available as a sportier alternative.

Comfort is good, as well. The Fiat strikes a good balance between ride and handling, ironing out all the worst lumps and bumps without feeling too soft or wallowy during faster changes of direction. Body roll is noticeable when you chuck the 500e into a tight bend at high speed, but it's no more pronounced than in a Renault ZOE.

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Hello there, I’m Tom Jervis and I have the pleasure of being the Content Editor here at DrivingElectric. Before joining the team in 2023, I spent my time reviewing cars and offering car buying tips and advice on DrivingElectric’s sister site, Carbuyer. I also continue to occasionally contribute to the AutoExpress magazine – another of DrivingElectric’s partner brands. In a past life, I worked for the BBC as a journalist and broadcast assistant for regional services in the east of England – constantly trying to find stories that related to cars!

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