Interior view of the 2017 Fiat 500e. (All photos: Fiat Chrysler Auto)
It’s small, it’s sprightly and it’s a kick to drive. Oh, and it’s all electric. We’re talking about the 2017 Fiat 500e hatchback here, and it’s a stylishly Italian coupe with a lot of road attitude for an electric car, writes our automotive editor Sally Miller Wyatt.
Fiat first introduced this electric version in 2015. Fiat 500s had already been garnering lots of attention for their European flair and peppy ride, so having an electric model available with just as much kick as the gas one may be just the right combination for those who want to have an environmentally conscious ride.
And, if your lifestyle can accommodate an electric vehicle – in that you have a charging station located near work, or you don’t have a commute longer than 90 miles each direction – then this one is definitely worth checking out.
The 2017 Fiat 500e is a two-door, hatchback sold in a single, well-equipped trim level. It has an 83-kilowatt electric motor that offers 147 lb. ft. of horsepower and a single-speed automatic transmission. The motor is powered by a quickly rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack. It gets up to 60 mph in 8.2 seconds, faster than a regular Fiat 500, and is actually evenly matched with the 500 Turbo.
The 500e version looks almost exactly like the gasoline model, but differences are in its unique front and rear body panels, wider side sills, rear spoiler and 500e-specific 15-inch alloy wheels.
The 2017 Fiat 500e has only one trim level option, the eSport, for those who prefer a more customized look. The eSport has darker exterior accents and special wheels, and the package is available for an additional $500.
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 that previously mentioned eSport appearance package.
Getting into and out of the Fiat 500e is easy, because the wide doors give great access to the front seats. Getting into the rear seats, however, is a bit of a challenge. And once there, you’ll find leg room is compromised. But, what might you expect from a small two-door coupe, anyway? If you have short-legged friends, small children or a small dog, everything will be fine.
The Fiat 500e’s only other drawback is a smaller cargo area, due to the battery pack, and compromised visibility in your blind spot, due to a large door pillar. Visibility is good to the front and rear visibility is about average.
Overall, we found the 2017 Fiat 500e to be a sharp-looking car with European flair that offered a smooth, quiet ride and lots of pep. Never having to stop by a gas station on the way to your daily travels is just icing on the cake.