By now you know that the FIAT 500, regardless of its configuration, is a cute well-mannered little hatchback. This is a car that makes you feel better when you see it and generally has the ability to put people in a good mood. There’s also a bit of flavor throughout the model range with no less than eight different variations available. Our tester for this review was the 2016 500e – FIAT’s all-electric variant. With an advertised range of 87-miles and a peppy electric motor there is definitely a fun factor, however as I found out first hand, range anxiety is still an issue if you don’t plan your day properly.
2016 FIAT 500e Exterior:
Just look at it. Clad in Retro Light Blue paint with fancy orange wing mirrors and blacked out 15-in wheels. The 500e is a fun little bugger of a car with a presence that’s hard to ignore. The high roofline, short 90.6” wheelbase and rounded rear end means that it will fit just about anywhere you place it. Moreover, it’s a car that also fits in just about any setting. Going to the mall? No problem, get the 1957 Edition. How about out to dinner in the city? Bring the 500 Turbo as the valets will love it.
The 500e sets itself apart from its gasoline powered siblings by utilizing a unique frontend treatment, special graphics along the rocker panels, blacked out wheels with orange accents (part of the eSport package) and a unique rear spoiler.
2016 FIAT 500e Interior:
Climb inside the cabin and the 500 greets you with a sporty interior that houses everything you need and nothing you don’t. Replacing the large three-in-one speedometer/tachometer/information center on the standard 500 is a nicely designed readout screen that offers up remaining battery life, a power efficiency readout, remaining range and average MPGe. The center stack, while sparse, utilizes its space nicely and houses the UConnect 5.0 multimedia system with a 5-in touchscreen, which allows for access to satellite radio controls, navigation and vehicle settings. As the 500e is electric, a standard gearshift is not needed. Instead FIAT has incorporated a push button console that’s flanked by chrome trimmed power window switches. This is somewhat of a tight area, but via the clever use of space, FIAT has managed to make it an enjoyable place to be.
Seating is fine for all but the tallest of individuals; however longer rides had me wishing for more lateral and lumbar support from the 6-way manual drivers seat. There are also a few charging ports (standard and USB) for when your mobile devices need some love.
2016 FIAT 500e Performance:
Let’s get this out of the way early. The 500e has an EPA-rated 87-mile range at full charge. It accelerates to 60-mph in just under 8.5-seconds, tops out at 88-mph, is front wheel drive and has a curb weight of 2,952-lbs. The 83kW electric motor makes the equivalent of 111-hp and 147-pound feet of torque through a single speed transmission. It’s a bit jumpy on uneven pavement thanks in part to its short wheelbase and if you start using things like air conditioning, heat, or your heated seats, or if you just have a heavy right foot your mileage suffers.
With that being said, the 500e is quite a bit of fun to drive. It handles great, has a quiet cabin and is perfect for those in urban areas or for those who have a shorter daily commute. You can also park it almost anywhere. The key with the 500e is to figure out if it truly fits your lifestyle. Can you live with an 87-mile range and do you have access to a 240V charging station? No – then be prepared for a charge time of around 23-hours. The key with the 500e is planning your daily route so as to maximize your mileage.
2016 FIAT 500e Safety:
Small in size but large on safety, the 500e is poised to keep you safe while transporting you without using a drop of gasoline. With seven airbags, an audible pedestrian warning system, anti-lock brakes, hill start assist and electronic stability control, the 500e gives you peace of mind when on the road.
With Italian good looks and a quirky personality the 500e is a great EV alternative for those looking to move away from gas powered vehicles. Combine that with a base price of $31,800.00** (along with government incentives) and this little FIAT may be the perfect introduction for those interested in an electric vehicle. Drop by your local AutoNation-affiliated FIAT dealership today to check one out!
*Fuel economy values (mpg) are EPA estimates. Actual mileage will vary and depends on several factors including driving habits and vehicle condition.
**Vehicle MSRP of $33,290.00 excludes taxes, title, transportation, options, and dealer fees.