Fiat 500 vs MINI Electric vs Honda e: interior and infotainment
Nothing can match the Honda e’s barrage of screens and unique interior design, but the Fiat isn't far behind
Each of these retro-inspired cars takes a very different approach when it comes to their interior. The Fiat’s cabin features a body-coloured dashboard panel, inspired by the original 500 from the '60s. But that’s where the similarities end. Our test car featured a pair of screens: a 10.25-inch information touchscreen and a seven-inch digital driver’s display.
Mid-range Passion trim only gets a seven-inch infotainment screen, however, and the entry-level Action simply gets a smartphone cradle. Top-spec cars like ours also offer 'Level 2' autonomous driving ability, which means they can accelerate, brake and steer themselves to stay in lane on a motorway or dual-carriageway.
What’s less impressive is the lack of height adjustment for the Fiat's front seats, which may leave some drivers feeling like they’re perched too high up. The steering column has a huge range of travel though, so if you’re happy with the fixed height of the seat, you should be able to get comfortable.
The MINI’s interior is practically identical to that of its petrol-powered sibling and is dominated by a central eight-inch infotainment touchscreen with toggle switches and dials for the climate control below. All MINI Electrics also get a set of digital dials, which are attached to the steering column, so they're always perfectly positioned no matter your driving position.
The MINI’s interior overall feels solid and stands above the other two in terms of quality. The facelifted 2021 model received some tweaks inside to boot, including new steering-wheel-mounted buttons. Annoyingly, though, these new buttons can be easily pressed by accident when you're holding the wheel.
However, if you want an interior that truly impresses, the Honda e's cabin design is unlike anything else. Like the MINI, its interior is dominated by screens, but in the case of the Honda, there are a total of five displays in an array that stretches across the entire dashboard. The first is a digital driver’s display, with another two units used for infotainment. Those are flanked by two smaller screens that display the feed from the cameras that take the place of door mirrors.
Despite the multitude of pixels in front of you, forward visibility is good. Plus, as the Honda sits on a dedicated electric-car platform, there’s a flat floor and overall the interior feels very spacious. Yes, the wood trim is fake, but it has been applied tastefully, and the fabric upholstery used for the seat and door trim feels expensive and a worthy alternative to the typical leather – which is not available in the eco-friendly Honda e.
In This Review
- 1IntroWe pit the hottest retro-inspired electric superminis from MINI, Honda and Fiat against one another to see which is best
- 2Range and chargingThe Fiat reigns supreme in this area, with a 199-mile range and 85kW rapid-charging capability
- 3Performance and handlingThe Honda and Fiat are better suited to city-car life, but the MINI offers the best driving experience of the three
- 4Space and practicalityThe MINI has the largest boot, but Honda’s cleverly designed cabin features plenty of storage and its central charging point is more convenient than the others'
- 5Interior and infotainment - currently readingNothing can match the Honda e’s barrage of screens and unique interior design, but the Fiat isn't far behind
- 6Running costs and warrantyThe Fiat’s comparably low insurance group, extensive warranty and low running costs put it ahead here
- 7Safety and reliabilityWith plenty of safety kit on all these cars, the Fiat’s Level 2 autonomous driving capability sets it apart from the other two
- 8Verdict and specificationsIt’s each to their own when it comes to the styling and interiors of these cars, but the Fiat comes out on top thanks to its value for money, longer range and technology