Speak EV - Electric Car Forums banner
1 - 18 of 18 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
629 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
How to make this review short. Fiat have a Winner on their hands!
I am in the process of looking for a replacement EV for my BMW i3 94Ah (33kW) Rex which has just gone 4 years old and now on 57,000 miles. I have been looking at and testing ideally long range EVs the past few days, as there are now a few about (Kona, Tesla M3, ID3 etc) but this car has caught my eye! I love a small car and the 500 shape has been around for a few years now. Invited to drive this and luckily for me the dealership here in South Wales had both coupe and convertible La Prima editions but only the convertible was ready for a test drive, which would not be my first choice,as the coupe has a lovely panoramic but non opening sunroof anyway. But also lucky as it was a stunningly beautiful sunny day today.
The design of this car is already a classic based as it is on the tiny original. Modernised and now even more smoothed off as an EV. Proportions almost perfect. What really has surprised me and my wife today was the solidity and cabin quality, style and use and mix of cabin materials though. In a Fiat small car at that. I am familiar with the Abarth 500 but this e version is a big step up quality wise. Really clear and colourful drivers display with plenty of available information and the central display large, clear and colourful in a horizontal format. But also highly responsive as a touch screen. Not laggy like a lot of touch screens. Another surprise. Wireless Apple Car Play (and Android Auto as far as I know) standard on this model. Not sure about other models in the range.
Lovely light coloured leather seat. Could be even more bolstered but still comfortable. Lovely to hold leather 2 spoke 2 tone steering wheel. Physical buttons on wheel to control menus on drives display. Rear mounted steering wheel push buttons to control entertainment volume and source etc.
Nice and clearly marked push button dashboard mounted drive buttons for P,R,N,D. Proper physical ventilation buttons/switches above that! Praise be! Wireless charging mat for phones in between the 2 sections. Accommodated my iPhone 12 Pro Max no problem.USB socket on dash and in central storage cubby. Also deep storage under central armrest. Marketed as a 2+2 of course but very tight in the back seats. A 2+0!? For storage or for small children or short distance emergency passenger lifts only. The coupe seats fold flat 50:50 but did not check the convertible but boot very very small and no major under boot storage- just puncture repair and 3 pin charge cable space really. No frunk.

Now for the driving. Even more impressed. Again that feeling of solidity. Super smooth ride on dual carriageway. Can be firmish over broken tarmac but mainly due to the short wheelbase. Has a firmish edge to it but controlled/very well damped. Dealt with numeorus speed bumps with no crashing or thumping at all. Another surprise. Took them with ease smoothly and softly.
This car is FUN to drive. Really holds the road well. Fast, direct and responsive steering. Not much feel but par for the course nowadays. It has that thing called "character!". If it was a dog it would be a terrier! Have no idea how powerful it is but is fast enough. Not i3 fast but fun and fast enough. Accelerates with ease, and passes other traffic easily. Typical of an EV.

And then there is the roof on the convertible. Certainly aware of more wind noise above your head when closed (Would like to compare with the coupe at some point). Individual ceiling mounted buttons to open - in 2 stages. Seems to open and close at any speed. We did at 40+mph. Not sure if there is a speed limit on its function. 1st press opens to a very large sunroof. 2nd press of same button folds canvas roof to back of car. Obscures rear vision mostly in that position. With windows open it does give the full convertible feel even though roof rails/structure still up and in place. Would have been nice to have some sort on inner sun mesh screen but I guess this would have been impossible design wise, as sun was blinding and harsh feeling on top of our heads at 2pm this afternoon. It is the only new convertible EV available as far as I know, so worth it! (excluding original and forthcoming Tesla roadster)
3 drive modes activated by a lever type switch between the seats. Normal, Range and Sherpa. Range does give you some re-gen effect which is very welcome but not 1 pedal driving as far as I could tell. Was having too much fun to test that.
Did not drive economically. Could you tell? Re-set dash trip meter at beginning and set to efficiency page. Covered 15 miles which included a mountain. Started on 83%. Back to dealership with 72%. 40 min drive but at least 10 mins fiddling with info screens and setting seats and mirrors etc. Average consumption 15.0kWh/100km. Not familiar with that combination of units but google seems to suggest 4.14mi/kWh. Warm day-16-18 degC/dry. Impressed with that as had it on Normal mode for most of drive. I think this has a 45kWh battery but as is often the way I am not sure if that is gross or net. Either way this is an impressive car. If we say it has a 40kWh battery then 150-160 mile real world range. I think Fiat have quoted a WLTP range of up to 199 miles? Driven more sedately nearer 200 miles should be possible but this is a type of car that does not necessarily encourage that!
Will hopefully get to try the coupe at some point. I gather they charge at 85kW. Once the charging infrastructure improves (I have been saying the same thing every year!), then it will be a no brainer to buy and run one of these. (Perceived) High quality little car. Small battery but big enough for urban trips and fast enough charging to do a longish trip. With the convertible roof it makes any trip an event. Especially on a sunny day. Would be good to try it in heavy rain. Noise? Insulation from the elements? Leaks? Perhaps present 500 convertible owners can advise.
Anyway this is a very welcome addition to the EV market, which is expanding almost daily at present. Fiat has definitely got its **** back. Or hit the EV target with this one.
And they were offering discounts and good finance deals back at the dealership. APR was 5.?%

As I have ended another review of a car I tested this week, on another part of the forum: this is my opinion of the car I test drove. Your opinion may differ. This is to inform people who may be interested in this car but unable to sample one for themselves at this time. Look forward to other reviews from you all at some point!
 

·
Registered
VW ID.3 Family Pro Performance June 21
Joined
·
27 Posts
Nice review, I am having a test drive on Tuesday, can I ask what sort of discounts were offered, see we were both looking at the Ioniq 5 on an other forum.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
629 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I work in the NHS and with their finance package -Affinity? Would give a £2k discount Straight off For NHS workers. I Will have to read up on it. New car/new model but I am sure as Fiat dealers they can still do a deal.
 

·
Registered
VW ID.3 Family Pro Performance June 21
Joined
·
27 Posts
I work in the NHS and with their finance package -Affinity? Would give a £2k discount Straight off For NHS workers. I Will have to read up on it. New car/new model but I am sure as Fiat dealers they can still do a deal.
Thanks, Son's in NHS so its a possible route to take, looking @tophatron post, good prices.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
327 Posts
We’ve also got our test drive on Tuesday. Car has been on order now for over a year now and Mrs is very excited, especially after reading this review. As I said on another thread, I think Fiat have got this spot on.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
629 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Forgot to mention the excellent turning circle (not quite Honda-e or BMW i3 small but almost and still great so this city car is easily manoeuvrable.
And surprised by the high quality of the rear view park camera. Pin sharp/high resolution/colourful. Compared to our newish e-208 which has a pretty low res rear view camera.I was just surprised by the all round quality of the Fiat.
And it had a normal sized and useable glove box. Not massive but not full of a fuse box as far as I could tell!

Have now read up on Fiat website and they do say you can do 1 pedal driving so please try this for me. I drove mostly in the default Normal Mode but there was definite re-gen in Range Mode, but did not try it around town in that mode. This should be a feature of all EVs -1 pedal driving as helps to charge battery and improves range. e-208 has minimal re-gen and ID3 also did not regen much in its equivalent "B" mode.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
37 Posts
You can definitely one pedal drive in range mode. I tried it on my test drive and it worked well. It’ll bring you down to a standstill and then engage the auto hold - just like a Tesla Model 3.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
75 Posts
Just drove the Mini e on Saturday and was very impressed, but I think we really like the look of the 500. Have you driven the Mini e and could you compare ? Price wise they are pretty similar, but the extra range makes a big difference.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
629 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Just drove the Mini e on Saturday and was very impressed, but I think we really like the look of the 500. Have you driven the Mini e and could you compare ? Price wise they are pretty similar, but the extra range makes a big difference.
Drove the Mini e, BMW i3S (we own the regular BMW i3 already) and Peugeot e-208 all in 1 afternoon last summer 2020. Wife was choosing her next car. Was driving an Audi S3 (300bhp+) at the time.

Mini e runs the BMW i3s running gear -181bhp motor (instead of 184bhp in the i3S) but to the front wheels. It is a powerful and fun car to drive but we found the ride too harsh and unsettled overall for our British urban pot holed and bumpy roads but excellent if the tarmac was smooth. As there is so much torque going through the front wheels you get torque steer pretty much all the time on acceleration which the cheeky nature of the car urges you to do all the time! And we test drove on a nice sunny day. Would be worse in the rain.- a big no-no for me. I prefer rear wheel drive (eg-i3) as a result. A pain to get in the back as 3 door only, but once there actually ok for headroom but if you are tall driver rear legroom is going to be an issue. Pretty tiny boot and no frunk as this is based on the ICE Mini platform. Without the sunroof, car will feel claustrophobic and cramped but actually plenty of room for front passengers. Well equipped overall.
As it is a fun car, the powerful running gear counts against it, as the range will be poor if you drive it in a fun/Mini sort of way. Pretty efficient drivetrain as 7+ years of BMW e-platform experience has gone in to it (much better than the similar battery sized Honda e) but you still have to expect 90-110 miles real world range.

500e has a bigger battery but just felt more modern. Same issues with cramped rear. Not as powerful but more than fast enough and no real torque steer as not as much torque I guess going through the front wheels. 500e rides better also- but close overall.

After driving all 3 last year, wife chose the Peugeot e-208. Liked the looks of it above all else (subjective) but thought the cabin was Audi like in quality and build. Another surprise. After almost 5 months she still absolutely loves it and to be fair I have been very very impressed with it. We both love our sports cars and they should be fun above all else. The e-208 is certainly that. GT model fully loaded with pano sunroof. Seems to better and more fun than the Corsa e which shares it's platform.

I know you asked about the Mini e but e-208 is proper 5 seater (at a squeeze)- Mini strict 4 seater only and cramped at that. e-208 has a more useful boot. Bigger battery at 50kWh and faster charging speed at up to 100kw (Mini 33kWh battery?-Still only 50kW charge speed).

500e- 85kW which is fast enough to charge a 40-45kWh battery.

And the 208 is Europes best selling car, which came as a surprise to us, but not really now we come to think of it. Peugeot 2008, Europes 2nd best selling car to boot! Yes they are both available as petrol, diesel and electric models but they must have done something right to knock the typical Ford Fiesta, Renault Clio or VW Golf off their perches!

If it is between the 500e and Mini I would take the 500e. It is a proper and very modern high quality feeling (la Prima edition sampled only) EV with a decent sized battery and range and good enough charge speeds. If you can live with the smallish boot (very small on the convertible as it has small boot opening also) and cramped rear space. It will be an excellent commuting car as fun also.

Mini e is a converted EV on an ageing platform but then again is tried and tested. BMW/Mini will be releasing a new ground up Mini EV in conjunction with Great Wall Motors of China (I believe) in the coming months.Probably early to mid 2022.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
75 Posts
Very informative breakdown, thanks. My wife is looking for a small car, as we already have a ZOE, but she is starting to gravitate towards the ID3. We've got a few more test drive to do first. Mini e, ID3, Honda E (only cause I want to have a go in it) and the Fiat. Might look at the 208 too.
 

·
Premium Member
2014 Model S
Joined
·
8,737 Posts
What's the delivery lead time on the 500e? What are the seats like in it? The ones in the Honda E were quite firm.

Even though I know the Honda E will not fit into my life at all I'm still wanting to find ways I can have one. It's a beguiling git.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
327 Posts
We've just had our test drive and I have to agree with everything @MarkyM said. The thing that stuck out the most for me was the infotainment system, very slick and crystal clear. I think I would choose the maps over the Apple ones on Car Play. The wind noise is apparent but then that's driving a convertible car. We even managed to activate the roof at 50mph!! The car drives beautifully and is very much like our current Fiat 500 (but without the 57k miles), firm and sure footed. The acceleration is nippy and the speed is more than acceptable for a quick dash down the M1. Couldn’t quite get the ACC and LKA to work properly but then we were both pressing and guessing. The seats are firm and much like the 500 that we have although I thought there was supposed to be more adjustment but couldn’t see it. Lead times……we’re told that our car isn’t made yet but then the salesman tried to explain how a vehicle production line works and that the car was probably in a layby bit waiting for the winter pack or something. His words not mine! I suspect we’ll get a call in the next couple of weeks…

Like most we haven’t had much to smile about lately but Mrs M cracked a massive smile when the roof went back and she sped off. Really looking forward to owning this car.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
629 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Looks like the 500e is doing the rounds of all the UK motoring press at the moment as all have reviews up online. Good reviews across the board including for the small battery version. It is a light and compact EV. And they seems to agree that it seems quite efficient. Will have to see if Bjorn Nyland gets one on test to see what the real world range is like.
 
1 - 18 of 18 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top