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  • Writer's pictureSilvia Josten

Fiat 500e - the most popular small car in the test

Updated: Oct 27, 2023


Blaues Kleinauto in Wohnstraße von vorne

It is immediately recognisable by its typical "eye look". This is because the headlights of the Fiat 500e have an LED arc that is placed in the bonnet and thus completes the circular shape of the headlights - a perfectly drawn eyelid line. In addition, an elegantly curved "e" instead of the last zero nestles in the type lettering underlaid with turquoise paint. But its electric power is also one of the features of the Fiat 500e - simply an overall package of sporty driving dynamics, stylish design and just enough space to get around town. No wonder that last year's registration figures gave the Italian runabout top marks in the small car category. I treated myself to an extensive test drive of the Fiat 500e Cabrio and report on my experiences here.


Fiat Cabrio in grau-blau vor Graffittiwand

Fiat 500e - hip cult car

Fiat 500e is the car with the most new registrations as a small car in 2022 29,635 new Fiat 500e will bring Italian flair to German roads in 2022. So in the meantime you can see them on every corner. There are different body styles: the standard two-door version with a fixed roof, the convertible version with a fabric top that opens automatically in two stages, and the 3+1 with a third side door on the passenger side that opens towards the B-pillar, allowing comfortable entry and exit in the rear. I opted for the convertible version - if you're going to get that Mediterranean feeling, then go for it.


In my opinion, the Fiat is without a doubt the prettiest electric car on the market. And it's the only one with a roll-up roof that can be pushed down to the boot lid. A surcharge of 3,000 € has to be paid for the convertible top. Without the subsidy, the Fiat 500e Cabrio with its 42 kWh battery comes to just under €37,990. The engine produces 118 hp / 87 kW maximum rated power and offers 220 Newton metres of torque. The limited top speed is 150 km/h. The manufacturer gives an average consumption of 14.4 kWh and a range of up to 310 km (combined) and 439 km (urban). I'll tell you the real consumption figures from my test drives in winter below


zwei Ansichten des Fiat 500e von aussen

From the outside, round shapes emphasise the sweet character of the Italian small car. The love is in the details, such as the circular headlights that stretch across the front apron and bonnet. The radiator design is uncluttered. The door handles are integrated flat into the side. The fabric roof is made of sturdy fabric. The fear from earlier decades that a trip to the car wash would end in a wet or noisy fiasco is unfounded. Precisely because it is not a "real" convertible and the sides retain a sturdy roof rack ensures a high degree of stability. The rear lights again show a typical element, the lights are placed in the shape of an "E", so the person following immediately recognises that this is the electric version of the Fiat 500.


The rear window is quite small due to the folding fabric roof, but just adequately sized. The boot (if you can call it that, as a suitcase hardly fits in it) is the smallest I have ever seen in an M1 passenger car. It is just enough for the charging cable, the warning triangle and first-aid kit, as well as 2 shopping bags. A drinks crate for 9 bottles can also be pushed through the narrow opening with a little skill. But that's all. The new model is supposed to have the option of a split and folding rear seat - it's a pity that my vehicle couldn't benefit from this feature yet.


Innenraum des Fiat 5oo e mit grauen Sitzpolstern, zwei Ansichten

Hardly any visibility to the rear and air to the top

Right from the moment you get in, you notice a comfortable headroom. Especially in the convertible version, the occupants have a little more room to move upwards - even with the roof closed ;-)


The driver and his or her companion have plenty of space at the front. The pinstripe upholstery is modern and particularly sustainable, as it is made of recycled material. The rear bench seat, on the other hand, is only an emergency seat, very uncomfortable. The backrest is steeply angled at 90 degrees to the seat surface, the headrests are upright, so you have to arrange yourself like a jackknife. It's better to sit crosswise.


The soft top can be opened electrically in two stages: 1. over the entire roof area and 2. beyond the upper rear area. The second stage gives you that pure convertible feeling. At the same time, the fit of the hairdo is still guaranteed, because the raised side fronts mean that there is hardly any wind turbulence inside. Very practical. Less optimal, however, is the view to the rear. Where the rear window used to be, there is now the folded-up soft top. You can't see anything of the traffic behind, but there's something to be said for an unobstructed view of the sky.


Sicht vom Innenraum des Fiat 500e Cabrio nach hinten bei geöffnetem Dach

Drei Ansichten Innenraum Fiat 500 e mit Armaturen und Schaltern, drei ansichten.

The fittings are clearly positioned. The displays can be individually set for the 10.2" touch display. The on-board computer provides all the desired information. The navigation system responds quickly, but the voice control is a little sluggish. The gentleman does not always understand immediately which destination is meant. The USB connection and climate settings are located below the monitor via pushbuttons (down and up). There is also a storage compartment with the silhouette of the city of Turin. If you have the comfort package, you can charge your smartphone here via induction. The volume control, on the other hand, is located elsewhere: in the centre console. There you will also find a rotary wheel for setting the driving mode: Normal, Range or Sherpa. The flattened steering wheel offers a little more legroom. The absence of a centre tunnel gives the interior an enormous lightness. The doors can be opened electrically at the touch of a button. But don't worry: if the battery should run out, there is an emergency lever.


A centre armrest is only available if the comfort package is selected in the configuration. The height of the seats can also only be adjusted with the extra chargeable feature. In my opinion, this should be a standard feature in every car. In my case, the rear-view mirror is below eye level, which makes my view to the front quite uncomfortable. So comfortable is a different matter ...


The halogen headlights in the basic package are also warm white and hardly have any strength. LED lighting should definitely be upgraded here.

Unfortunately, the Fiat 500e also lacks the ideal solution for storing cargo equipment: the frunk. This would be a real relief, especially in view of the small boot.


Fiat 500e in the test: charging & consumption

According to the manufacturer, the Fiat 500e can charge at up to 85 kW at the DC charging point. Our best peak in the charging curve was at 71 kW. With fast charging, I charged from 15 to 80 per cent in 25 minutes. At some public charging stations, the Fiat 500e automatically stops charging at 80 %. At the wallbox at home, 100 % is reached in just under 4 hours.

There are 3 driving modes: In normal mode, the Fiat 500e runs smoothly and stably, just as you would expect from a combustion engine. Acceleration is impressive: from 0 to 100 km/h in 9 seconds, from 0 to 50 km/h in 3 seconds - that's decent. The range mode includes automatic recuperation. This is where the one-pedal driving comes into play. I quickly get the hang of it and can leave the brake pedal to the left. The Italian small car brakes so well just by letting off the accelerator that you come to a standstill on your own after a few metres. From time to time, however, you should brake, otherwise the brake discs will rust ;-). In sherpa mode, the recuperation is even greater. However, the maximum speed is then limited to 80 km/h (instead of 150 km/h). However, driving is no longer fun. I switch between Range and Normal, especially the latter is useful when reversing, which the Range mode stops too much.


The convertible is only delivered with the "big" battery: 87 kW / 118 hp engine power. After prolonged observation, consumption is roughly the same in both driving modes and settles at around 19 to 23 kW in city traffic during the cold season. On longer journeys, the consumption can be reduced better and I manage between 16 and 22 kW. For long distances, however, the range is rather insufficient. Instead of the promised 310 km (combined), the vehicle only shows me a maximum range of 260 km with a 100 % charge. Realistically, it is only about 180 km, and then I have to recharge.


I hope for higher temperatures and thus significantly better results. Because the Fiat 500e is really not a winter car. It does get warm quickly in the interior thanks to the air conditioning, but as we all know, that also drives up power consumption. In addition, due to the fabric top, the car's interior is not completely airtight. As a result, the noise level is somewhat higher and the humidity is increased. When it's freezing, you sometimes have to scratch from the inside.


Zugefrorene Autoscheiben beim Fiat 500e von aussen und innen.

Grafik Pro & Contra des Fiat 500e Cabrio


Conclusion

The Fiat 500e is fun, a lot of fun in fact. Thanks to 220 Nm, it is lively and receives admiring glances everywhere. However, the Italian design icon is not practical. If you want to be beautiful, you have to suffer. And that comes at the expense of comfort. The space on offer is only moderate, especially in the convertible version, where the boot only has a volume of approx. 185 litres. The vehicle offers nice features; registration in the app, for which the dealer has to activate you, is a must. This way you are always informed about your vehicle. It's very practical, for example, when I'm informed when my charging process is finished. Unfortunately, some of the must-haves are missing in the slimmed-down version. Therefore, only the full version makes sense for me. The lack of range, especially in winter, is a shortcoming. That's why I consider the Fiat 500e to be a summer car. In winter, an alternative should be available. In summary, I can say that the Fiat 500e Convertible is a city car for singles with little luggage on short journeys. It's a fun car that is particularly enjoyable in the warmer months. I am looking forward to the summer!


More details and ordering options for the Fiat 500e can be found in our e-shop!

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