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Auto review: 2024 Fiat 500e is the perfect cup of automotive espresso

Larry Printz, Tribune News Service on

Published in Automotive News

Here we go again.

The battery-electric Fiat 500e returns for 2024, five model years after it was previously offered for sale in the United States and a decade after it debuted.

Of course, if you don’t remember the previous Fiat 500e, you probably didn’t live in in California and Oregon, the only states where it was sold merely to meet California’s draconian environmental standards, not make a profit. In fact, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles lost $14,000 on each one. These days, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is now part of Stellantis, whose CEO, Carlos Tavares, intends to make money on every EV the automaker sells, including the 2024 Fiat 500e, which will be sold in all 50 states, not two.

Yet Fiat’s stateside presence has historically been sporadic.

The automaker established its first foreign factory in Poughkeepsie, New York, in 1909, only to close it in 1917 as America entered World War I. The company returned in 1958, remaining until 1986, when it once again withdrew from the U.S. market. Fiat returned in 2011 with the newest version of its most iconic model, the Fiat 500. Sales totaled 46,999 units, a high-point for the brand. But its product lineup proved scattershot. The homely 500L, a tall but short wagon that followed, seemed ill-suited for the U.S. market, while the Mazda Miata-based 124 Spyder and Fiat 500x SUV did little to move the needle. As sales dwindled, many wondered if Fiat was committed to the American market. Fiat CEO Olivier Francois did little to quell any speculation, saying: "I can sell everything we make. I don’t need the U.S." Incredibly, these comments were made as Fiat was showing Italian designer-based 500e concepts by Armani, Bulgari and Kartell at the L.A. Auto Show in November 2022.

Now, the company is humming a different tune, offering the Fiat 500e, which will be offered solely in battery-electric form.


Nearly an inch longer and 2 inches taller than its predecessor, the 2024 Fiat 500e boasts a 42-kWh battery that provides 149 miles of range, and it can recharged to 80 percent in as little as 35 minutes using a DC fast charger. A 240-volt home outlet will fully recharge the battery in six hours.

The Fiat’s electric motor delivers 117 horsepower and 162 pound-feet of torque to the front wheels. All-wheel drive is not offered. It comes equipped with three driving modes: Normal, Range and Sherpa. Range mode activates heavy regenerative braking that captures energy generated during deceleration to help recharge the battery, while providing the one-pedal driving many EV drivers love. Sherpa mode reduces power from 87 kW to 57 kW to maximize efficiency, while limiting top speed to 50 mph to make sure you reach your destination if the juice is running low.

The 2024 Fiat 500e receives an updated rendition of its adorable face. But don’t let the familiar looks fool you; 96% components are new compared to previous-generation Fiat 500e, most located under the hood. So, no there’s no front trunk to augment the 7.5 cubic-foot cargo area.

In a test drive in Miami, the 2024 Fiat 500e's swift, nimble nature proved to be an advantage, as did its Lilliputian length. Measuring a mere 143 inches long, the urban jungle is this car’s natural milieu, as it is able to nip and tuck through traffic with ease. Steering feels vague and loose at lower speeds, but it is easy to become accustomed to. There’s body lean in corners, but nothing too excessive. Weighing less than 3,000 pounds, this Fiat EV feels peppy thanks to a 0-30 mph time of 3.1 seconds. Reaching 60 mph requires 8.5 seconds. Using the Range mode ensured that the range readout proved accurate.


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