If you're a CarSauce regular, you know just how much I love the Fiat 500 - specifically, the Abarth.
To summarise, the previous generation Fiat 500 - first on sale in 2007 - was not great. And then almost 17 years later, it’s still not great.
And the Abarth 595? It’s technically bad, but when you strap on a phat Garrett Turbo, Sabelt Racing seats you can’t adjust while driving because they’re too big for the interior, and an Akrapovich exhaust, it’s incredible (yet simultaneously, arguably terrible).
So when Stellantis invited me to review the all new Fiat 500 - the 2024 Fiat 500e electric car - I JUMPED at the opportunity. Especially because I want a preview of what the all-new electric Abarth will be like.
So will the new Fiat 500e impress me? Sadly, it’s complicated.
How much does the Fiat 500e cost?
As far as EVs go, the Fiat 500e is neither cheap nor expensive.
Pricing for the Fiat 500e is simple thanks to the availability of a single, higher-spec model - the La Prima.
Fiat 500e Pricing:
$52,500 AUD (before on-roads)
La Prima standard equipment highlights:
17” diamond-cut alloy wheels
Full LED Infinity headlamps
LED daytime running lights and rear lamps
Panoramic fixed glass roof
Chrome exterior accents including chrome aluminium liner on side and chromed DLO moulding
Ice beige eco-leather seat trim with FIAT monogram & door panel
Bi-colour soft touch steering wheel
Premium woven dashboard finisher
50:50 split rear seats
6-way manual adjusting front seats
Heated front seats
Branded floor mats
Centre armrest and closed centre console
Blind spot monitor
Front & rear parking sensors
AEB (VRU) + TSR/ISA + LSS + DAA
Tyre pressure monitoring system
7” TFT instrument cluster
10.25” infotainment with DAB and wireless Apple Carplay & Android Auto
Keyless Entry & Keyless Go
2 USB ports (A+C)
iACC with Lane Centering & Traffic Jam Assist
Auto dimming rearview mirror
Wireless charging pad
Auto headlamps, high/low beam and wipers
Metallic Paint (+$700)
Tri-Coat Pain (+$1600)
What’s the exterior like of the Fiat 500e?
One of the biggest draws for the Fiat 500e is just how beautiful it is.
If styling is important to you - which to be fair, if you are looking at the Fiat 500e it probably is - then it won’t disappoint.
The front is instantly recognisable as a Fiat, and the new colour options are unbelievably beautiful.
Fun fact: Grey has been dropped from the global line-up, because it is considered too ‘boring’ and not on-brand for Fiat.
The side keeps the impossibly small proportions of a classic Fiat, with the front and rear wheels in the literal corners of the car.
Interestingly, the Fiat 500e is built on a bespoke EV platform that is exclusive for the 500e.
And the rear again, unmistakable for a Fiat 500 but now with fully LED tail lights. It’s a really, really good looking car.
What’s the interior and connectivity like of the Fiat 500e?
The Fiat 500e is a HUGE step-up from the interior of the older Fiat 500 (which is still being produced in tandem with the 500e.)
Let’s start with the biggest improvement, and that is the ergonomics. I can actually fit at my average 5’11” size with room to spare. That might sound like a given, but I literally rub against the sunroof in the older Fiat 500.
As you would expect for a modern EV, the interior is eco-friendly - meaning, the seats are an eco-friendly ‘ice beige’ leather (that just means, faux leather). And actually, they are very nice with plenty of support and adjustment.
In terms of design, it’s thoughtfully laid out with some soft touch materials - although it doesn’t take much searching to find the hard and scratchy stuff.
Technology is another major improvement for the 500e. The 10.25” display is simple to navigate, probably thanks to being based on Android Automotive (note: that differs from Android Auto).
It does come with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which pairs well with the wireless charger.
You’ve also got a USB-A and USB-C port up front for extra charge-ability.
Up front of the driver is a 7.2” TFT digital instrument cluster which does display plenty of information, so again a tick there.
Storage is a little on the weird end.
You’ve got a cup holder that folds out of the centre armrest and then another cup holder buried deep in the centre console. It seems odd, and frankly feels it too.
And in a very EV-esque manner, you have electronic buttons to open the doors (with an emergency pull in the doorbin in-case the battery dies).
Overall, a massive improvement on the interior front - but also retains some strange but loveable Italian quirks.
What about the back seats of the Fiat 500e?
Despite being dimensionally bigger, the rear seats are quite abysmal still. At 5’11” I just can’t fit behind my driving position.
It is nice and bright in the rear though, and you can thank the sunroof for that.
Sadly though, I cannot recommend the 500e for those planning on employing the use of the rear seats regularly unless it's for small adults or children.
How much can it fit in the boot of the Fiat 500e?
Claimed boot space is 550L for the Fiat 500… and I have to wonder if they’ve measured the whole car and then the car parked next to it.
That is an extraordinarily large claim unless you fold the rear seats down, and then maybe??
It’s not terrible, in-fact again it's way better than before, but you’d be hard pressed to get one large suitcase in there let alone enough to fill 550L.
You can clearly tell that reading that stat has thrown me while writing this.
Also, there is no storage space up front under the front bonnet which is again disappointing for a car built on a dedicated EV platform.
What’s under the bonnet of the Fiat 500e?
Powering the Fiat 500e is a single permanent magnet e-motor located at the front wheels, and it pushes out a decent amount of power at 87kW but a healthy amount of torque at 220Nm.
In Australia, we get the larger of the two batteries offered at 42kWh. Which is a good thing, because the smaller 23.8kWh battery and 70kW motor offered overseas provides a poultry 180km of claimed driving range.
The WLTP claimed range of the Fiat 500e with the 42kWh battery is a healthy 311km, however, our real world testing suggests that it gets closer to the 250km mark over a mix of urban and rural settings.
For the price, that’s not a great range.
How does the Fiat 500e drive?
For the most part, the Fiat 500e drives well.
As you would expect, it doesn’t have enough power to spin the wheels - not that you want to.
There are 3 modes on offer, Normal, Range and Sherpa. Normal is as you would expect, range limits power and torque to maximise range, while Sherpa - in reference to always being able to guide you home - is Range + turning off the aircon.
Normal is actually quite a fun little ride. You would expect the Fiat 500e to be really slow with such a small engine output, but it’s very light for an EV - it weighs just 1290kg.
So when you do plant your foot, you feel the instant torque pull you forward and it almost gives warm-hatch levels of fun.
Where you notice the lack of power is when you are above 80km/h - that’s where the Fiat 500e can feel a little breathless.
The handling of the Fiat 500e is again quite good. Most EVs have it on ‘easy mode’ thanks to the battery being in the floor of the car, and the Fiat 500e capitalises on this. It’s really quite chuckable, and fun through a corner.
And because it doesn’t weight a silly amount, you can take corners quite hard and it doesn’t feel unsettled.
Where it does feel unsettled, however, is bumps. When you’re just driving on a flat stretch of road, the primary ride is nice and compliant.
But when you hit a bump, the Fiat 500e always seems to be a little unsettled and you feel those bumps in the cabin. It makes what is otherwise a good ride not that great.
When cars like the new GWM Ora which starts at over $10,000 cheaper - has a better ride and more range - I can’t help but feel a little disappointed.
I could forgive the previous Fiat 500 for it’s driving dynamics because it was so cheap, but it’s not the same with the new 500e.
I did time the 0-100km/h sprint at 9.04 seconds, which is okay - but again, not great for an EV.
Is the Fiat 500e Safe?
Yes the Fiat 500e is safe, although it did score a less than ideal 4-star NCAP european safety rating.
When tested in 2021, it received:
Adult Occupant Protection - 76%
Child Occupant Protection - 80%
Vulnerable Road Users - 67%
Safety Assist - 67%
For reference, Scores of 80 per cent, 80 per cent and 70 per cent are required in these respective categories for a vehicle to earn five stars.
How much does the Fiat 500e cost to run?
Again, this is where the Fiat 500e falls short.
It comes with a 3-year unlimited kilometer warranty, while the battery pack is covered for 8 years or 160,000km.
As a comment, 3-years is well below industry averages of 5-7 years. I am personally disappointed to see this, and call on Stellantis to update this to 5 years minimum - as they have done for Alfa Romeo recently.
Service intervals are 12 months or 15,000 kilometres. There’s also capped-price scheduled servicing for eight years at the cost of $250 per visit.
CarSauce's take on the 2024 Fiat 500e
I really, truly wanted to love the Fiat 500e. And in most ways, it is far better than the Fiat 500 that came before.
Design wise, Fiat designers have smashed it out of the park - it’s a beautiful machine.
The interior is also a comfortable, nice enough place to be.
But where it is let down for me is the average range, high-ish price, ride-quality and 3-year warranty.
You can let me know your thoughts, down in the comments section!
Matt Brand, the esteemed car critic from Car Sauce, offers unparalleled expertise on all things automotive. From new car releases to pre-owned options, he provides in-depth analysis and honest evaluations to guide readers through the car-buying process. Join us as he delves into the exciting world of motoring.