2021 Fiat 500 review

Fiat has taken its supermini all-electric, and it’s shocking

Fiat 500 Icon

The 500 comes in four trim levels: Action, Passion, Icon, La Prima. The entry level Action costing a mere £19,995

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There are few cars I’ve found more frustrating than the Fiat 500 during the last dozen years or so it’s been on sale. I just didn’t understand how so many people could be so entirely seduced by such a flimsy veneer of derivative styling, to the extent they ignored the utterly mediocre car beneath.

But then again, and as my daughters remind me, fashion and I will be forever strangers. Even so, what hope then for this entirely new Fiat 500? It doesn’t even have a combustion engine to which to cling. All will be electric only, with a base model powered by a tiny 24kWh battery and all others a more meaty 42kWh battery. For those who want an actual engine, the old car remains on sale.

You’d be surprised by the new version. I know I was. It’s a brand-new design and far more spacious, not just because it’s bigger in every direction but also because of the space efficiency of electric car architecture. More notably, it’s built to higher standard than not just the old 500 but any Fiat I’ve driven. Inside and out it feels like a premium product.

It still has nothing of appeal to the driver, but it’s quiet, comfortable, adequately quick and, crucially, not annoying in any way I could discern. It even has a decent range (just under 200 miles) for this kind of car. I remain somewhat electro-sceptic, but of those hatchbacks I’ve driven, this is the best by far.

Fiat 500 Icon statistics

  • Price £24,995 (after government electric car grant)
  • Engine Single electric motor, 42kWh lithium ion battery pack
  • Power 118bhp
  • Weight 1365kg
  • Power to weight 86bhp per tonne
  • Transmission Direct drive, front-wheel drive
  • 0-60mph 9.0sec
  • Top speed 93mph
  • Range 199 miles
  • Verdict Hugely better than expected