Fiat 500 electric - long-term review - Report No:9 2023 | Top Gear
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Saturday 23rd September
Long-term review

Fiat 500 electric - long-term review

£27,995 / £30,132 as tested / £257 PCM
Published: 22 Jul 2022


  • SPEC

    500e Icon

  • Range

    186 miles



  • BHP


  • 0-62


Arrivederci Fiat 500 electric: our rose gold EV is gone

“It’s gorgeous,” cooed passers-by as I was sat charging BabyCar – sorry, Top Gear’s long-term Fiat 500e. Where every other car on the road appears to be ‘shouting’ at you – to paraphrase what Polestar boss Thomas Ingenlath told us recently – the 500, with its puppy-dog eyes and adorable proportions feels like a reason to smile.

Is this why we like it? Objectively, there are a few important things to consider. It’s a car built for the city, but if you actually live in the city chances are you won’t have access to home charging. I do live in the city, and I didn’t have access to home charging. Which meant I spent a disproportionate amount of time hunting for fast charging.

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Expensive to fill up e-juice in the city too, as we’ve discovered in previous instalments. Not just the juice, but with prices starting at £28,835 for the ‘Icon’ trim which we ran, it’s an expensive small car. Though, judging by how nuts the used car market has become, maybe not so much anymore.

And despite Fiat proudly claiming 199 miles of range from a full charge, I never saw the readout display more than 161 miles on a full battery. As with all EVs, colder climes and actually using the equipment – heating, A/C – eats into the battery. Indeed, Fiat explains up front that using the heater can affect the range by up to 40 per cent.

So it requires a bit of forward planning, which kinda contradicts the point of a small, peppy urban EV, no? The idea of doing zoomies in the city with merry abandon to go and drink coffee and cavort and so forth doesn’t sit easily with the reality of having to craft a strategy on where and when to charge.

On which note, there’s an unbridled thrill in finding a proper 50kW fast charger. During our time in the 500e, we managed just over 4mpkWh – at one point cresting as high as 4.6 – which is decent, and considering most urban journeys aren’t too onerous, the 500e offers plenty of range for daily life.

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Plus, it rides and steers well: comfortable but not wafty, paired with light, easy steering that’s geared perfectly for town. The regenerative braking takes some getting used to – as you’ll have read about in my first experience with it – but very quickly it’s so easy to develop a one-pedal driving style that using the brake pedal feels like you’re doing something wrong.

Nothing wrong with the spec. We lucked out with Rose Gold paint and black wheels – special mention to the Ocean Green paint too – because it looks plush. The Fiat 500’s legacy stretches back decades, and has almost become shorthand for Italian style (maybe to the point of cliché), but in its new guise as a full EV, there’s no denying it is a gorgeous, desirable little thing. You just need to be aware that this is not a cheap small car. It's not a car you'll buy to save money, really. But that applies to so many fashion accessories, right? If you can be bothered to put the effort (and money) in to run it, we can heartily recommend it.

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