Skip to main content

2024 Fiat 500e First Drive: Little EV, Big Personality

While still very much a city car, the new Fiat 500e offers more for the money

2024 Fiat 500e driving
  • The 500e is coming back to the U.S. for 2024.
  • The new model is roomier and has an estimated 149 miles of range.
  • Fiat’s tiny EV is good for 117 horsepower.

The electric Fiat 500e was last on sale in the U.S. for the 2019 model year. This original 500e debuted for 2013 and was effectively a compliance car, sold exclusively in California and Oregon to help earn clean energy credits for the company. Since then, much has changed in the EV marketplace and Fiat is giving it another go with a new 500e for 2024. Unlike the original, it will only be electric — there won't be a gas-powered 500 — and it will be more widely available.

Bringing the 500e back to the States is as interesting as it is surprising. It didn't sell in huge numbers and its limited electric range limited its appeal, too. However, the European version of the fully electric Fiat 500 received a huge makeover in 2020. This is the one we're getting here. The latest design marries the 500's cutesy throwback proportions with an updated design and a load of modern tech. It's also slightly longer and wider and features a longer wheelbase than the car that came before it, meaning the interior isn't as claustrophobic as the previous 500's.

13 for sale in your area
See All for Sale
2024 Fiat 500e battery

How much range and power does the 500e have?

The 500e comes in one configuration: a two-door hatchback with a 42-kWh battery pack and a single motor that powers the front wheels. The motor produces 117 horsepower and 162 lb-ft of torque. That's not much power but it also doesn't have to move much car either. Fiat says the 500e should accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 8.5 seconds. That's slower than other subcompact EVs we've tested, such as the Hyundai Kona Electric, but is otherwise similar to what you might expect from a gas-powered small SUV.

The 2024 500e's battery pack is good for what Fiat estimates to be 149 miles of range. That's less than what most other 2024 EVs are capable of though it does better the 2024 electric Mini Hardtop's EPA-estimated 114 miles. We'll be sure to run the 500e on our independent Edmunds EV Range Test and Edmunds Charging Test once we can get a 500e in for full testing.

2024 Fiat 500e front

How does the 500e drive?

The 500e is smaller than a Mini and weighs less than 3,000 pounds — you can bet that makes for a fun little cruiser. We drove the 500e through Miami Beach and it was pleasant overall. Acceleration is not quick but it is sufficiently strong. Merging in and out of lanes is pretty effortless. The quick steering and stable handling make the 500e feel nimble even without remarkable power numbers. The 500e is an ideal blend of efficiency and performance at a low cost. A city car is all it truly is, but a good one at that.

The 2024 500e will arrive with three drive modes: Normal, Range and Sherpa. Normal is meant to drive like a gas-powered 500 and supplies all the power available. The Range mode enables full one-pedal driving with strong regenerative braking and conserves some energy. Sherpa mode aims to provide the maximum range by reducing power to the climate system and limiting the speed to 50 mph. If you're planning on driving anywhere with warm temperatures, we highly suggest avoiding Sherpa — Miami weather had us switching out of it real quick. The Range mode proved to be the perfect setting. The one-pedal driving worked effectively and was easy to get used to it. Acceleration in this setting did decrease but was still smooth and ample for city streets.

2024 Fiat 500e wheel

How comfortable is the 500e?

Fiat created the 500 to be an economical car that excels in urban driving, and well, it's done just that. The tiny Fiat is a commuter that's sufficiently comfy for daily errands. The seat cushioning is still pretty stiff, however, which might reduce comfort on longer drives.

The new steering wheel is smaller and much more ergonomic than the last and surely helps with maneuverability. There is a perfect amount of weight to the steering, so driving around town feels undemanding. Unfortunately, the suspension is still not a strong suit in this 500. It's stiff and you'll feel a lot of road imperfections making their way inside the cabin.

2024 Fiat 500e interior

How's the 500e's interior?

Fiat bestowed the 500e with a fresh interior space that's much improved over the plastic-heavy surroundings of the previous car. The Italian brand is counting on enthusiasts to recognize the interior shapes and details from the original 1957 Fiat 500, and that nostalgic integration may inspire longtime fans to give the 500e another try. Designers added space to the console and door panels, a welcome update to the total storage. 

Preconditioning enables the owner to set heating and air-conditioning preferences before driving off, a nice amenity for those in colder and warmer climates. The climate system works well, and it sure does help that the cabin is puny.

2024 Fiat 500e front 3/4

What are the 500e's trim levels?

The U.S.-spec Fiat 500e will launch in the (RED) edition trim, which includes red painted exterior mirrors, LED headlights, front grille details and dashboard. It sits on Goodyear summer tires or Pirelli all-seasons wrapped around 17-inch glossy black cast aluminum wheels.

If the (RED) label sounds familiar, it’s because rock star and U2 frontman Bono founded an organization of the same name with Bobby Shriver (son of the Peace Corps founder R. Sargent Shriver) in 2006 to fight AIDS. Bono was on hand for the video launch of the 500e. 

2024 Fiat 500e overhead

How's the 500e's tech?

The new 500e is tech-packed, with standard driver assist systems including lane keeping assistance and automatic emergency braking. We tested both systems and found them to be useful, although the automatic emergency braking felt a little sensitive as it engaged even when we still had some space and time to handle the braking all on our own. There is a 7-inch digital instrument cluster as well as a 10.25-inch infotainment display that rests atop the dashboard. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and a wireless charging mat are all highlights on a relatively long list of standard tech features. "Hey Fiat" wakes up the voice assistant through Amazon Alexa. 

The most interesting tech, by far, is surely the Acoustic Vehicle Alert System, which has been programmed to "sing" a warning to pedestrians with a specific song called "The Sound of 500" written by an Italian composer. The melody goes off once the vehicle reaches 20 mph, and it only does it that one time throughout the drive. We tried it out on our first drive, and although charming, the sound is hardly audible, especially from inside the cabin. That isn't necessarily a bad thing, though. 

Bonus: Fiat is throwing in a home charger box system or charge credits through Free2move with the purchase of a 500e. No cannoli or gelato, though. 

2024 Fiat 500e rear 3/4

Edmunds says

The first-gen fully electric 500 left a lot to be desired. But after putting some miles on the new second-gen, we think the redesign is a clear upswing for the little Italian car. While the 2024 Fiat 500e isn't as practical as a Kona Electric or as sporty as an electric Mini Hardtop 2 Door, we think it's an excellent choice if you want an EV that's stylish, relatively inexpensive and easy to drive and park.