The Fiat New 500 is slowly starting to appear in Europe following a rough first year on the market. The battery-electric car’s arrival last March came as northern Italy was being ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dealership closures and shaky consumer confidence have also stunted demand for the pricey EV, which is mostly being purchased by rental car companies.
In Italy, for example, half of the New 500s delivered in the country from the start of production last year through February went to rental firms, according to market researcher Dataforce.
To experience the car for myself, I invested in a two-day weekend rental for 59.98 euros from Leasys, which is one Fiat parent Stellantis’ leasing and rental subsidiaries.
I covered about 300 kilometers in the so-called “business opening edition” of the three-door variant that had a 42-kilowatt-hour battery (with 37.3-kWh of usable capacity) and a range of 320 km under WLTP testing guidelines.
The New 500’s exterior is very similar to the gasoline-powered 500 even though it is built on a different platform and it is slightly bigger at 3632 mm (142 inches) long, which is 61 mm more than the 500; 1683 mm wide (+56 mm); 1527 mm tall (+39 mm); with a wheelbase that is expanded by 22 mm (2322 mm).
Also worth noting about the exterior is that the Fiat logo has been removed both from the front grille and from the steering wheel and has been replaced by the number 500.
Fiat did not elaborate on the reason for this, although it is consistent with an idea floated by former Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne, who envisioned the 500 range as a stand-alone brand. The future strategy for the Fiat brand has not been revealed so far by Stellantis, which is only four months into its existence.
For more on the New 500’s features, click here.