FIAT
500e
2016
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James Flammang
Contributing Editor - February 22, 2016

2016 FIAT 500e OVERVIEW

The Fiat 500e represents the most efficient version of the brand's popular small hatchback—because it uses no gasoline at all. This little Fiat is strictly battery-powered. It's a more stylish and joyful alternative to other EVs on the market, too.

Running on a pure electric motor, in itself, grants a certain cachet and niche status. Doing so in a version of the friendly, retro-look Fiat 500 adds even more flair to the experience. Availability in only two adjacent states further enhances its elusiveness—and exclusivity—for most of the buying public. Gasoline-powered Fiat 500s come either as a solid-roof hatchback coupe or with a sliding fabric top, but the 500e is only available in metal-roof form.

What's New for 2016

A new 5.0 Uconnect system with a five-inch touchscreen radio, Bluetooth connectivity, and integrated voice command goes into the 2016 model. Otherwise, except for two new color choices, nothing has changed.

During 2014, the 500e became available in Oregon, as well as California (its initial sole outlet). It remains unavailable in the other 48 states, though that limitation might change before too long as electric cars in general continue to garner favorable publicity.

FIAT 500e

Choosing Your FIAT 500e

FIAT 500e Interior

The 500e comes in a single trim level. The battery-electric powertrain develops 111 horsepower (83 kW). Recharging of the battery takes less than 4 hours with the onboard 6.6 kW charging module, when connected to a Level 2 source that provides 220 volts.

The Environmental Protection Agency gives the 500e a 108 MPGe rating, with a range of up to 87 miles in combined city/highway driving before recharging is needed. Fiat advises that the driving range in urban use is typically greater than 100 miles, helped by the car’s regenerative braking system. Fiat Access provides real-time vehicle information, as well as locations of charging stations, via a smartphone app.

Standard features include aerodynamic body sills, automatic climate control, heated front seats, a trip computer, USB port, Bluetooth streaming audio, satellite radio, 276-watt, six-speaker audio system, TomTom navigation system, and 15-inch alloy wheels. A multi-function instrument panel display shows a power gauge, driving range, energy level, and energy usage figures. Fiat Telematics provides smartphone app connectivity.

Options include an eSport Package with Nero black headlight and taillamp accents, staggered 15-inch Nero black wheels with accent inserts, and unique outside mirrors. A power sunroof also is available, as is an integrated navigation system.

CarsDirect Tip

Few options are offered, but the 500e is quite well-equipped “as is.” Check for the latest incentives, as Fiat has often been generous with them. Remember that even though the number of suitable charging stations continues to grow, care is invariably needed to avoid coming close to a fully-discharged battery. Also, many residences cannot be set up for acceptable 220-volt charging; at least, not without major electrical work.

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FIAT 500e Rear

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