2019 FIAT 500e Review

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2019
The Car Connection
2019
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Aaron Cole Aaron Cole Managing Editor
March 13, 2019

Buying tip

If the 2019 Fiat 500e is available where you live, it should be heavily discounted. If not, there are better competitors available.

The 2019 Fiat 500e is a throwback in more ways than one: It has a nostalgic style and feel, but also outdated range.

The 2019 Fiat 500e is a small, electric city car with style that’s sold in very small numbers, and only in California and Oregon.

It’s related to the gas-powered Fiat 500 that’s available everywhere else, and the 500e is perhaps the best one to buy among the group of 500-badged vehicles. Among the wider set of electric cars, the 500e is less appealing; it’s small and its 84-mile range is far behind competitors.

We rate the 2019 500e at 5.4 overall, which is buoyed by its emissions-free powertrain. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

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The best news about the 500e is that it looks virtually identical to the 500—inside and out.

Under the hood (so to speak) the 500e is powered by a 111-horsepower electric motor fed by a 24-kwh battery. The EPA rates its range at 84 miles, and its top speed is limited to 88 mph.

Its back seats might as well be painted on—adults won’t fit in the rear. Its battery pack eats into available space as well, the 500e has a small trunk.

The 2019 500e is available in two configurations, but with mostly similar equipment.

The standard features include 15-inch wheels, a 5.0-inch touchscreen for infotainment with navigation and Bluetooth connectivity (but no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto), and synthetic leather. A sunroof is optional, and a sporty trim level adds a few extra body pieces outside but the same performance.

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2019 FIAT 500e

Styling

The 2019 Fiat 500e is proof that efficiency isn’t ugly.

Stylish, if nothing else, the Fiat 500e doesn’t sacrifice efficiency for good looks.

Based on the small 500, the electric version doesn’t spoil the exterior at all. Just a handful of small nods to efficiency—a different grille and bumpers is all—separate the 500 from the 500e.

We like both and give a point above average for the exterior. It’s a 6. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The 500e features the same stubby snout and round headlights that we like, and the interior isn’t palatial, but it’s agreeable. A body-colored dash saves the 500e’s interior from becoming drab.

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5

2019 FIAT 500e

Performance

The 2019 500e is the best 500 to drive—up to 84 miles at a time, that is.

The 2019 Fiat 500e is a capable urban runabout that uses only electricity. It’s more fun to drive than its gas-powered siblings that lack power.

That performance is relative, however. Among all new cars, the 500e is just average. It gets a 5 for performance. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

A 111-horsepower electric motor and single-speed transmission power the 500e. A 24-kwh battery powers the motor for up to 84 miles, according to the EPA, which is shorter than many of the Fiat’s competitors.

For electric-vehicle newcomers, the Fiat 500e feels brighter and quicker compared to its gas-powered counterparts because of the way electric motors deliver torque: It’s virtually instant, compared to gas engines that need to build revs for their power.

The 500e is roughly 500 pounds heavier than a typical 500, with most of that weight low in the floor because of its batteries. As a result, the 500e feels more planted on the road.

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2019 FIAT 500e

Comfort & Quality

Passenger space isn’t a priority in the electric 2019 Fiat 500e.

Not much about the 2019 500e will appeal to many shoppers except a low price—and only in California or Oregon.

The 500e is based on the 500, but somehow even smaller, with less space for people and cargo. Starting from an average score, the 500e loses points for a rear seat that’s impractical and a small trunk. It’s a 3. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Rear-seat passengers get only 27.6 inches of leg room, which isn’t enough for many adults. The 500e’s batteries eat into available cargo space and leave only 7.0 cubic feet of room, which is also small.

The good news? The 500e is quiet to drive and probably the best version of the 500 available today.

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2019 FIAT 500e

Safety

The 500e lacks crash-test scores.

The Fiat 500e is sold in small numbers and isn’t likely to be tested by federal or independent safety officials. We don’t score it here. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Although the electric-only 500e is based on the gas-powered 500, the two aren’t directly comparable for safety information.

Like the 500, the 500e lacks active safety features such as automatic emergency braking.

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2019 FIAT 500e

Features

What’s shorter than the 2019 500e? Its options list.

Configuring a 2019 Fiat 500e takes less time than starting one.

The small electric car is offered in two trims that are mostly similar except for a few exterior trim pieces, and without many options.

Fiat offers its small electric car in base 500e and 500e E-Sport trims for $34,290, before applicable state and federal incentives.

Base versions get 15-inch wheels, synthetic leather upholstery, a 5.0-inch touchscreen for infotainment, navigation, and Bluetooth compatibility. E-Sport versions add sportier wheels and body panels. Rivals offer more, including automatic braking and smartphone compatibility, so the 500e gets a 4 out of 10 for features. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

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2019 FIAT 500e

Fuel Economy

The 2019 500e’s electric powertrain is green for today, but its range is stuck in yesteryear.

The 2019 Fiat 500e may be on the right side of history with an electric powertrain, but it’s on the wrong side of its competitors with a limited range.

The EPA rates the small car’s range at just 84 miles. That’s high on our efficiency scale, but low against competitors that offer more—sometimes more than 200 miles. The 2019 Fiat 500e is a 9. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The 500e doesn’t offer available fast-charging at all, unlike other electric cars. On a Level 2 charger, typically installed at many homes with an electric car, the Fiat 500e will recharge a fully depleted battery in about four hours.

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The Car Connection Consumer Review

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$33,210
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5.4
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 6
Performance 5
Comfort & Quality 3
Safety N/A
Features 4
Fuel Economy 9
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2019 FIAT 500e Pricing Insights

  • 2019 FIAT 500e available in select states
  • Hefty $7,250 rebate continues
  • Lease from $229 for 36 months
  • Get 0% APR for 72 months + rebate
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