2017 Fiat 500e

2017 FIAT 500e Review

The all-electric 2017 Fiat 500e hatchback is fun and personable, just like the regular 500.
4 star edmunds overall rating
author
by Mike Schmidt
Edmunds Editor

You don't have to give up much to go electric. The 2017 Fiat 500e hatchback is just as fun and personable as the regular 500. It is also as quick and maneuverable. But you will still want to consider whether an electric vehicle fits your lifestyle before taking the plunge.

The electric 500e was introduced in 2015 and instantly injected life into the stylish Italian coupe. It has enough range to compete with segment leaders and charges quickly, too. Add its small proportions, precise handling and EV pep, and you get a truly enjoyable car. In fact, in some ways, the 500e is more fun to drive than its gas counterpart. Yet there are drawbacks. Its backseat is small, some controls are awkwardly placed, and cargo space is limited due to the battery. But if you are shopping for a lively runabout and an electric vehicle is right for you, the 500e is worth considering.



what's new

The 2017 Fiat 500e is unchanged from last year's model.

we recommend

The 2017 Fiat 500e is offered as one model only. There is one trim level option, the eSport, if you prefer a more customized look. It adds darkened exterior accents and special wheels and looks pretty cool. But we prefer to save the roughly $500 and put the cash in our pocket because the 500e is stylized enough for our tastes as it stands.

trim levels & features

The 2017 Fiat 500e is a two-door, pure electric hatchback sold in a single, well-equipped trim level. The 500e is powered by an 83-kilowatt electric motor (111 horsepower, 147 pound-feet) channeled to the front wheels through a single-speed automatic transmission. A rechargeable 24-kWh lithium-ion battery pack powers the motor. It shares most of its bodywork with the standard, gasoline car but has unique front and rear body panels, wider side sills, smooth underbody components, rear spoiler and 500e-specific 15-inch alloy wheels.

Standard features for the 500e include heated side mirrors, rear parking sensors, automatic climate control, full power accessories, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, cruise control, manually adjustable heated front seats with driver-side height adjustment, premium vinyl upholstery, a leather-wrapped tilt-adjustable steering wheel, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and 50/50-split folding rear seats. Standard technology features include Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity and a 5-inch touchscreen, navigation, voice commands, and a six-speaker Alpine audio system with a CD player, satellite radio, a USB port and an auxiliary audio jack.

The only options are a sunroof and the eSport appearance package that includes darkened exterior lamp bezels, orange exterior trim pieces and special 15-inch wheels for a more customized look.

trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions, although trim levels share many aspects. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2013 Fiat 500e (electric 1-speed direct drive).

NOTE: Since this test was conducted, the current Fiat 500e has received some revisions. For 2015 these included a redesigned center console and two new exterior color choices. And in 2016 it received an updated infotainment system with integrated navigation and discontinued the ePass program that had provided 500e owners free rentals of gas-powered 500s. Our findings remain broadly applicable to this year's Fiat 500e.

Edmunds Scorecard

Overall4.0 / 5.0

Driving

4.5 / 5.0

Acceleration4.5 / 5.0
Braking3.5 / 5.0
Steering3.0 / 5.0
Handling5.0 / 5.0
Drivability4.5 / 5.0

Comfort

3.0 / 5.0

Seat comfort3.0 / 5.0
Ride comfort2.0 / 5.0
Noise & vibration4.5 / 5.0

Interior

3.0 / 5.0

Getting in/getting out3.0 / 5.0
Roominess3.0 / 5.0
Visibility3.0 / 5.0

driving

edmunds rating
The 500e is an entertaining electric vehicle. It's actually quicker to 60 mph than a regular Fiat 500, and it keeps up with the 500 Turbo. Driving that enthusiastically will greatly reduce range, however, so it's best to keep a light foot.

acceleration

edmunds rating
Copious electric-motor torque gives the 500e great off-the-line punch. Our 500e scooted to 60 mph in 8.2 seconds, which is above average in the EV world and actually ties the Fiat 500 Turbo's time.

braking

edmunds rating
The brake pedal is firm and reassuring, and routine in-town stops feel, well, routine. Our panic stop from 60 mph took 129 feet — a little long, but not alarmingly so.

steering

edmunds rating
Oddly heavy and thick when driving straight, but it wakes up nicely and gives good feedback when bending through corners. Strangely, it feels more responsive than the steering in the standard Fiat 500.

handling

edmunds rating
The 500e stands apart from other electric vehicles with its great balance and an eagerness to turn. It's one of the most entertaining electric vehicles you can buy today.

drivability

edmunds rating
Smooth and seamless is the order of the day, but we wish the Fiat 500e offered the option of additional regenerative braking like some of its competitors.

comfort

edmunds rating
The Fiat 500e gives you the quietness you expect from an EV, but the suspension delivers a busier and more unsettled ride on uneven surfaces than we'd like.

seat comfort

edmunds rating
The front seat adjustments are fairly basic, but the cushion and backrest provide adequate support.

ride comfort

edmunds rating
Unlike the Spark EV, which delivers a polished ride despite its small size, the Fiat 500e pitches and bucks on its short wheelbase more than expected. The standard 500 rides noticeably smoother.

noise & vibration

edmunds rating
In true EV fashion, the 500e glides around in silence, at least when it comes to noise from the motor. Tire noise is noticeable, but mainly because there's no noise from anything else.

interior

edmunds rating
Like a regular Fiat 500, the 500e suffers from two things: form over function and, to a greater degree, a backseat that isn't terribly practical for family use. Think of it as a two-seater, and you'll get along with it much better.

edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.