New Car Review

2017 FIAT 500e: New Car Review

RELATED INVENTORY
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
New 2017 FIAT 500 Pop Hatchback
New 2017 FIAT 500
MSRP $19,470
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
New 2017 FIAT 500 Pop Hatchback
New 2017 FIAT 500
MSRP $18,294
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
New 2017 FIAT 500 Lounge Hatchback
New 2017 FIAT 500
MSRP $22,294
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
New 2017 FIAT 500 Lounge Hatchback
New 2017 FIAT 500
MSRP $21,794
RELATED READING
See all FIAT 500 articles
RESEARCH BY MAKE
Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs FIAT cars, trucks and SUVs
Acura cars, trucks and SUVs Alfa Romeo cars, trucks and SUVs AMC cars, trucks and SUVs Aston Martin cars, trucks and SUVs Audi cars, trucks and SUVs Bentley cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Bugatti cars, trucks and SUVs Buick cars, trucks and SUVs Cadillac cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Chrysler cars, trucks and SUVs Daewoo cars, trucks and SUVs Datsun cars, trucks and SUVs DeLorean cars, trucks and SUVs Dodge cars, trucks and SUVs Eagle cars, trucks and SUVs Ferrari cars, trucks and SUVs FIAT cars, trucks and SUVs Fisker cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Freightliner cars, trucks and SUVs Genesis cars, trucks and SUVs Geo cars, trucks and SUVs GMC cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs HUMMER cars, trucks and SUVs Hyundai cars, trucks and SUVs INFINITI cars, trucks and SUVs Isuzu cars, trucks and SUVs Jaguar cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Kia cars, trucks and SUVs Lamborghini cars, trucks and SUVs Land Rover cars, trucks and SUVs Lexus cars, trucks and SUVs Lincoln cars, trucks and SUVs Lotus cars, trucks and SUVs Maserati cars, trucks and SUVs Maybach cars, trucks and SUVs Mazda cars, trucks and SUVs McLaren cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs Mercury cars, trucks and SUVs MINI cars, trucks and SUVs Mitsubishi cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs Oldsmobile cars, trucks and SUVs Plymouth cars, trucks and SUVs Pontiac cars, trucks and SUVs Porsche cars, trucks and SUVs RAM cars, trucks and SUVs Rolls-Royce cars, trucks and SUVs Saab cars, trucks and SUVs Saturn cars, trucks and SUVs Scion cars, trucks and SUVs smart cars, trucks and SUVs SRT cars, trucks and SUVs Subaru cars, trucks and SUVs Suzuki cars, trucks and SUVs Tesla cars, trucks and SUVs Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs Volvo cars, trucks and SUVs Yugo cars, trucks and SUVs
RESEARCH BY STYLE
AWD/4WD
Commercial
Convertible
Coupe
Hatchback
Hybrid/Electric
Luxury
Sedan
SUV/Crossover
Truck
Van/Minivan
Wagon
ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader April 2017

It's hard to find a vehicle that combines driving enjoyment, fuel efficiency and a fashionable look at a rock-bottom price, but that's exactly what the 2017 FIAT 500e promises. In fact, it promises even more than that, touting the style and driving experience of a standard FIAT 500, plus a fully electric motor and zero emissions. Sounds perfect, right? Well, not quite.

The biggest one is that the FIAT 500e is only sold in California and Oregon -- a slap in the face to FIAT loyalists elsewhere who want to flex their green-car muscle. The other issue is that new electric car competitors like the Chevrolet Bolt, Kia Soul EV and Hyundai Ioniq Electric are far superior vehicles. There's also the price. The 500e comes in around $33,000 with shipping, which makes it twice as expensive as a standard FIAT 500. Of course, it's eligible for up to $14,000 in incentives and lease rates can be laughably low, so price is actually more likely to be a good thing when all is said and done.

So the 500e is far from the perfect EV, but this stylish little green car choice is nevertheless worth a look for those in the Golden and Beaver states.

 What's New for 2017?

Like other 500 models, the 500e adds a built-in touchscreen and navigation system for 2017, which is an upgrade from last year's TomTom unit.

 What We Like

Great handling; fashionable styling inside and out; lots of standard equipment; huge incentives and low lease rates make it cheaper than it seems

 What We Don't

Only sold in California and Oregon; rivals have much more space and go farther on a charge; cramped headroom with sunroof

 How Much?

$33,000

 Fuel Economy

The FIAT 500e offers one engine: An 83-kilowatt electric motor with a single-speed transmission. Power is rated at 111 horsepower. The Environmental Protection Agency rates the 500e's fuel economy at 112 miles per gallon equivalent (mpge) in combined driving. Importantly, the 500e boasts an 84-mile range and a 4-hour recharge time when using a 240-volt power supply. While good in the past, that range is now merely average.

Standard Features & Options

The 500e is offered in just one trim level, which starts around $33,000 before sizeable federal and state incentives. Standard features are generous for a subcompact car, including keyless entry, a navigation system with a new 5-in touchscreen, leatherette upholstery, automatic climate control, cruise control, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a 6-speaker Alpine stereo, steering-wheel audio controls and rear parking sensors. The only options are a sunroof and an eSport appearance package, which gives the 500e a sporty look.

 Safety

The 2017 FIAT 500e boasts several standard safety features, including 4-wheel anti-lock brakes, rear parking sensors, stability control, front side airbags, side-curtain airbags and a driver's-knee airbag.

In federal government crash tests, the FIAT 500e has yet to be tested. But gas-powered 500 models, which should perform largely the same, received four stars overall -- a figure that breaks down to four stars in front and rollover tests and five stars in the side-impact assessment.

In crash testing carried out by the nonprofit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the gas-powered 500 earned generally Good ratings, save for a troubling Poor score in the firm's newer, more stringent small-overlap front crash test.

 Behind the Wheel

The FIAT 500e seems to make no major compromises for its all-electric capabilities. In fact, it's the rare car that's actually been improved by its conversion to electricity. It's surprisingly quick off the line and very quiet -- the regular 500 is neither of those things. The 500e is also surprisingly composed in turns, offering a tight, sporty feel, especially for an electric car.

In terms of appearance, the 500e is also highly similar to a typical FIAT 500. There are only a few distinctive upgrades on the outside, while interior revisions primarily revolve around added standard equipment and the addition of four center-mounted buttons in place of the gear lever. There's also an instrument-panel readout for battery level, power flow and other important EV items.

In terms of space, the 500e is much smaller than other EVs. However, compared to the regular 500, it doesn't suffer too badly for carrying around a bunch of batteries. The battery pack does chew into rear seat legroom, but as there wasn't much to begin with, we doubt that'll be an issue. More importantly, unlike other EVs based on gasoline cars, the cargo capacity is diminished only slightly. True, there's still not a lot relative most cars on the road, but as this is a hatchback, you still get a reasonably versatile space when the rear seats are folded.

 Other Cars to Consider

2017 Chevrolet Bolt -- The Chevrolet Bolt is arguably the most appealing EV on the market, boasting a massive 238 miles of range, a spacious cabin and surprisingly sharp driving dynamics.

2017 Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid -- Although it can't go as far as the Bolt, the new Ioniq Electric nevertheless tops most other rivals with its 124 miles of range. It also offers commendable interior space and a more conventional body shape.

2017 Kia Soul -- The Soul also goes a bit further than the norm, and like the 500e, boasts a funky design available in fun colors. Unlike the 500e, it has a huge cabin that rivals a small SUV. Ample feature content rounds out its virtues.

Used BMW i3 -- BMW's little i3 is a perfect car for any urban commute. It's also neatly futuristic with its carbon fiber structure, eco-friendly cabin materials and a funky design that's oddly cool. It's available with a gasoline extended range model too. It's more expensive than the 500e, so a used model will most likely be in order.

 Autotrader's Advice

Live in California or Oregon. Or at least move there. If you don't, you can forget about the 500e. Otherwise, with only one trim level to consider, there's not much to recommend beyond thinking twice about the optional sunroof -- it seriously robs front headroom.

Find a FIAT 500e for sale

RELATED INVENTORY
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
New 2017 FIAT 500 Pop Hatchback
New 2017 FIAT 500
MSRP $19,470
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
New 2017 FIAT 500 Pop Hatchback
New 2017 FIAT 500
MSRP $18,294
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
New 2017 FIAT 500 Lounge Hatchback
New 2017 FIAT 500
MSRP $22,294
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
New 2017 FIAT 500 Lounge Hatchback
New 2017 FIAT 500
MSRP $21,794
This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2017 FIAT 500e: New Car Review - Autotrader