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First Drive: 2024 Fiat 500e

by | April 12, 2024

For the second time, Fiat is offering an electric version of its iconic Cinquecento. It’s far easier to justify purchasing given its longer range, while its price makes it somewhat affordable.

2024 Fiat 500e retains its classic lines first drawn under the orders of Benito Mussolini.

Whereas buying an EV once meant settling for a Tesla of some kind, consumer choice is growing as other automakers bring their electric vehicles online.

Charging into this ever-expanding market is the 2024 Fiat 500e, an all-electric version of Fiat’s most iconic car the Fiat 500e. This is the second go-round for the battery-electric Fiat 500e, as it was previously sold in California and Oregon from 2013 through 2019. But it wasn’t altruism that guided Fiat’s action back then, it was necessity, as the company lost $14,000 on each one sold in an effort to meet California’s draconian environmental standards.


But this new one is a different animal.

2024 Fiat 500e provides up to 149 miles of range.

Whereas the previous 500e was sold alongside its gas-powered sibling, the new one will only be offered with a 42-kWh battery that delivers 149 miles of range. Fully recharging takes six hours using a 240-volt outlet. DC fast charging can refill the battery to 80 percent in as little as 35 minutes.

Weighing in at a mere 2,952 pounds, the Cinquecento (that’s Italian for 500) sends 117 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque to the front wheels through a one-speed transmission. It also comes with three driving modes: Normal, Range and Sherpa. Of the latter two, Range helps maximize it by dialing up the regenerative braking. This captures energy generated during deceleration to help refill the battery pack and extend your range. Sherpa is for those times when you need to reach your destination and the range is shrinking. It reduces power from 87 kW to 57 kW to maximize efficiency, and limiting top speed to 50 mph.


2024 Fiat 500e interior is far less retro than before.

As before, it wears lines that recall the first Fiat 500, created under the wishes of Benito Mussolini. Adorable? Sure. And to most onlookers, it seems that little has changed. Yet it’s almost an inch longer and 2 inches taller than its forerunner. Again, offered only as a two-door hatchback, it measures a mere 143 inches long, yet it’s a sizable 66.3 tall. Given its diminutive length you won’t be surprised at the rear seats’ paucity of legroom or the 7.5-cubic-foot cargo hold. That’s too small for even second thoughts. And unlike other EVs, there’s no front trunk – it’s filled with EV gear. Thankfully, the rear seat fold down to enlarge the rear cargo area’s carrying capacity.

2024 Fiat 500e’s shiny black plastic buttons easily attract fingerprints.

As you might expect, front seat space is roomy enough for two sizeable corn-fed Americans. They prove comfortable enough with sufficient bolstering and the right balance of soft and firm to keep you comfortable.

Unlike before, the Cinquecento no longer has a slavishly-retro instrument panel. Now, it’s a bit more modern, with a dash of Mid-Century Modern. As you’d expect, it’s dominated by a standard 10.25-inch touchscreen, wireless Apple CarPlay, wireless Android Auto, wireless smartphone charging and Alexa functionality. And while I applaud Fiat’s use of physical buttons, I don’t like that they’re made of shiny black plastic, showing every fingerprint speck of dust. And while I appreciate retro design, I do not appreciate the seatbelt interlock that doesn’t allow the car to move all seatbelts are fastened. It’s every bit as annoying as it was back in 1973. Worse, it’s easily defeated and totally unneeded.


Don’t let this photo fool you. Back seats space is meager.

We had the chance to have an initial drive of this little automotive cannoli on the streets of Miami.

It proves the ideal milieu for the 2024 Fiat 500e, where an increasing number of overpriced condo towers has led to clogged arteries and narrow parking spaces, the Cinquecento is able to nip in-between gargantuan SUVs, while squeezing to tight spaces they can only dream about.

Cavorting through the urban jungle, the Fiat 500e proves sprightly, running 0-30 mph in 3.1 seconds. Reaching 60 mph does take longer, 8.5 seconds to be exact. At slower speeds, the steering feels loose and vague on-center, and in corners, there’s some body lean, but not too much. It makes for a lively persona that will make you want to name it.  Crossing the MacArthur Causeway and its truly horrible road surface, the 500e proves blessedly free of road and tire noise. Then again, this is an EV. Silence comes as standard equipment.

It’s so cute, you’ll want to name it.

Throughout our drive, the 2024 Fiat 500e proved to be brazen, eco-friendly, and perky. This small Italian gem could be the ideal addition to your garage if you need a commuter car and seldom use the rear seat. Furthermore, it’s one of the most affordable EVs available. Only the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Bolt cost less.

Italian fashion is rarely so affordable.


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