iat unveiled its first new car that was designed — from the outset — to be a purely electric offering. Meet the all-new 2020 Fiat 500e that was supposed to debut at the Corona-cancelled Geneva show. It’s a car that looks so much like the old one that you’d be forgiven for wonder what, exactly, has changed.
For starters, the new Fiat 500e is bigger than the outgoing model — growing about 2″ in every direction. That may not sound like much, but it can mean the difference between “it’s a little tight” and “this baby seat won’t fit at all” to young, urban families looking for a cute little runabout.
Once you get used to the added leg and elbow room inside the Fiat 500e, you’ll start to notice that it is a significantly more upscale offering than the Fiats we’ve gotten used to here in the states. The infotainment system is slick, sure — but look at the detailed stitching in the leather seats, the visual quality of the touchable surfaces, and the sporty, cutoff steering wheel. All of it works together to make this feel like a genuinely nice car, even if it is tiny.
That luxury is baked into the new 500e by design. “In the New 500 all elements of the style are simply more discreet, more sober, fresher (than before),” reads the press release, translated from Italian.
“The front, vertical as in 1957, is less elusive, almost facing the road and the feeling of dynamism of the side view has been accentuated. The cutting line that in the first generation separated the volume of the hood from the circular headlamps today reinterprets that separation by dividing the ellipse of the headlamp decomposed with an eyelash on the hood. The slightly more elliptical and always iconic headlights are technological and modern, giving a more captivating ‘look’, while the door handle, totally flush with the surface, has a compartment for electric opening. A car with a smile that even in the third generation does not lose sight of its ‘carefree’ connotation expressed by the empathic [That’s what it says. I checked the translation twice. — Jo] front.”
The new 2020 Fiat 500e is a far cry, in other words, from being cheap, “basic” transportation.
It’s also a far cry from being “basically” equipped, too. Remember that part about this being the first Fiat designed to be a purely electric offering? In addition to having the electric future baked into it, the new Fiat 500e is also loaded with autonomous Level 2 driving tech that combines distance-keeping cruise, lane-keeping assist, and emergency braking systems to deliver an experience that’s probably better than you expect (think of Tesla Autopilot or Volvo Pilot Assist; both are Level 2).
Fiat claims this level of autonomy is a first in this segment, which may be true. I can’t think of another small city car like this that even comes close. Can you? What about another electric in this price range that offers 320 km (about 200 miles) of all-electric range? Yeah, guys — this is a good one.
To help celebrate the launch of the all-new 500e, Fiat commissioned a series of three, 1-off show cars to be designed by three of Italy’s most iconic fashion firms. The first, Giorgio Armani, has been a high-end fashion staple since the ’80s. The second, by jewelry designers Bvlgari, is a bit more avant-garde and “youthful,” and a bit more high-end still. The third and final special edition, by Italian furniture designers Kartell, seems like it might be a little too “Ikea” to my eye … but that might just mean I’m getting old or something.
Anyway, I like the Bvlgari.
Take a look at some of the official press photos of the 1-off “designer models” that came with the official Fiat press release, below, then let us know what you think of this little retro-styled roadster, and which Designer model you’d pick in the comments section at the bottom of the page. Enjoy!