Drive Notes: 2024 Fiat 500e Inspired By Beauty

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey

Two drive notes for the price of one this week. Next up: A 2024 Fiat 500e Inspired by Beauty


This EV has a 42 kWh capacity battery and just 117 horsepower and 162 lb-ft of torque. I believe it's the first time I've driven a 500e -- and not only that, but I was faced with a road trip of about 150 miles. The range, according to the spec sheet, is "up to 149 miles." Tugs collar.

I made it -- more on that below. What else did I think of this 500?

Pros

  • Though the horsepower and torque numbers are low, this is a small, lightweight car with the instant torque that accompanies most EVs. Therefore it actually has a decent amount of punch for around-town driving and freeway passing -- more than you'd think.
  • It handles pretty well, and it's not tippy.
  • The freeway ride is acceptable.
  • I had plenty of headroom upfront and the seats were comfortable.
  • It's a quiet car most of the time, but there's some general highway noise above 65-70 mph.
  • The rear storage/cargo area isn't big, but it did manage to just barely accommodate a large suitcase.
  • It would be easy to dismiss a very compact EV, especially in the paint color shown, as a little "putt-putt" machine, but the overall experience was more pleasant than not.

Cons

  • That low range really does induce anxiety. At least I had no trouble charging. One session got me from around 20 percent to 87 percent in 26 minutes, another from a similar percentage to 91 in about 30 minutes. I did, however, have to stop for that first charge about halfway home on my road trip. I would not have made it without stopping.
  • I could not get in the back seat when trying to enter from behind the driver seat. I was able to get in the rear via the passenger seat, but exiting was awkward as heck.
  • I suspect using the drive modes to increase range decreased the energy expended by the A/C...it was struggling to cool off a small car. I am checking to see if this is the case.
  • The infotainment screen is unsurprisingly small.
  • Driving something this small is intimidating when big-rigs pass you on the freeway.

Pricing, for the curious, was around $37,600. I am working on sourcing a Monroney, but a quick perusal of the configurator shows that before D and D, you'd pay $37,595 for a car equipped as mine was. The only option appears to be summer tires at no cost. All-seasons are standard.

I go back and forth on the 500e's electric powertrain. On the one hand, the near-instant torque of an electric motor works in concert with the relatively lightweight to help you move quickly. On the other hand, the range isn't great, and I am not sure it can be made better on a car this size -- larger batteries require more space. Also, this car isn't that light at almost 3,000 pounds.

The rose gold paint that this trim comes with isn't my cup of tea, but that's subjective and I won't judge those who like it -- though I wish there was a choice (I like 500s in red, that's always been a good color on this Fiat).

It's been a few years since I drove a 500, and the experience remains mostly the same, good and bad. Going electric adds some verve but also some anxiety if you need to drive long distances. This is truly a city car for those who can charge every day or every other day -- it is, of course, easy to park.

Fiat is bringing some version of the ICE back to the 500. Until then, the 500e is something that will work well for a specific use case.

[Image © 2024 Tim Healey/TTAC.com]

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Tim Healey
Tim Healey

Tim Healey grew up around the auto-parts business and has always had a love for cars — his parents joke his first word was “‘Vette”. Despite this, he wanted to pursue a career in sports writing but he ended up falling semi-accidentally into the automotive-journalism industry, first at Consumer Guide Automotive and later at Web2Carz.com. He also worked as an industry analyst at Mintel Group and freelanced for About.com, CarFax, Vehix.com, High Gear Media, Torque News, FutureCar.com, Cars.com, among others, and of course Vertical Scope sites such as AutoGuide.com, Off-Road.com, and HybridCars.com. He’s an urbanite and as such, doesn’t need a daily driver, but if he had one, it would be compact, sporty, and have a manual transmission.

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  • Aja8888 Aja8888 on Jun 03, 2024

    My totally loaded 2023 Bolt cost $35K. This, for over $37K, is a rip off.

  • Lostboy Lostboy on Jun 03, 2024

    Seriously - who would buy this?


    Value wise this more than sucks, 37K for a car that size is crazy - buy a used leaf for like $15K and come out way ahead (or even a new bolt EUV for that same cash!)


    This is like a designer purse - way to small, not very useful, expensive as heck and a cute color.



  • Picard234 I can just smell the clove cigarettes and the "oregano" from the interior. Absolutely no dice at any price.
  • Dartdude The Europeans don't understand the American market. That is why they are small players here. Chrysler Group is going to die pretty soon under their control. Europeans have a sense of superiority over Americans that is why the Mercedes merger didn't work out and almost killed Chrysler. Bringing European managers aren't going to help. Just like F1 they want our money. We need Elon Musk to buy out Chrysler, Dodge and Ram from Stellantis.
  • Michael S6 I would take the Mustang for the soundtrack. However, practically a BMW M340ix or M240ix would be my choice.
  • Michael S6 Took my car for oil change on Friday and dealership was working on paper. Recently one of the major health care system in our area was hacked and they had to use paper backup for three weeks. What a nightmare.
  • 3SpeedAutomatic Once e-mail was adopted by my former employer, we were coached about malice software as early as the 90's. We called it "worms" back then.They were separating the computers that ran the power plants from the rest of the system in the early 00's. One plant supervisor loaded vacation pictures from a thumb drive on his work PC. His PC was immediately isolated and the supervisor in question was made an example of via a disciplinary notice. Word spread quickly!!Last I heard, they still had their own data center!! Cloud Computing, what's that?!?! 🚗🚗🚗
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