Say ciao to the 2020 Fiat 500. It still looks retro, but is all-new beneath the skin – including an electric drivetrain with a 199-mile range. Here’s everything you need to know.
The new Fiat 500 comes not a moment too soon. As the outgoing car enters its 13th year on sale, Fiat faces growing pressure to modernise, reduce emissions and electrify. The new car has that covered, but also needs to deliver what buyers want. And buyers really wanted the old 500.
From the moment it went on sale in 2007, the retro-styled 500 has been an unmitigated success. Between 2008 and 2014, European sales ranged from a low of 145,000 in 2012 to a high of 180,000 in 2014 – and they’ve hardly declined since. Needless to say, there’s a lot riding on the new 500.
2020 Fiat 500: the headlines
- All-new platform
- 199 miles of range
- Modernised inside and out
- You can pre-book one of the 500 Launch Editions now
- From £29,000 (including Plug-in Car Grant)
The figures you need to know are:
- 199 miles of range (WLTP)
- Fast charge to 80 percent in 35 minutes
- Optional 7.4kW Easy Wallbox, full charge at home in six hours
- 87kW electric motor
- 0-62mph in nine seconds
- 93mph top speed
As standard, the Easy Wallbox charges at 3kW, without the need to be professionally installed. And the 500 also comes with a Mode 3 cable for 11kW public charging speeds.
Three driving modes optimise the car and how it preserves power. ‘Sherpa’, ‘Range’, and ‘Normal’. Sherpa limits you to 50mph, manages accelerator response and deactivates the climate control and heated seats. Like a ‘Himalayan sherpa’, this mode is designed to get you home.
Normal is as it sounds, while Range activates the ‘one-pedal drive’, with added regenerative braking to slow the car down when you lift off the throttle.
It’s a bold move to go electric-only. Fiat hopes to build 80,000 new 500s a year at its Mirafiori factory.
2020 Fiat 500: design
It’s the Fiat 500’s trump card. The outgoing car owes much of its success to its irresistible style.
The new silhouette is almost identical, and all the lovable cues are still there. The front bumper design is claimed to mirror the 1957 original. There are, however, new LED headlights that are modular and elliptical. The circular shape has been re-interpreted, with the shape completed by an arc in the bonnet.
The Fiat logo has been replaced by the premium-looking 500 badge, almost defining it as a brand of its own. The badge has also been modified for the all-electric sequel, with the final ‘0’ changed into an ‘e’.
The car is larger by six centimetres, both in width and length, while the wheelbase grows by two centimetres. The net result is that it retains the squat, rounded proportions of the outgoing car.
At the back, the minimalist look continues. The lights remain the same shape, with new LED innards. In all, if it’s been revolutionised underneath, it’s evolved on the surface. The 500 has been modernised without corrupting any of that best-selling style.
2020 Fiat 500: interior
The 500 has been in need of a comprehensive tech update for some time. The new UConnect 5 media system runs through a seven-inch TFT display, plus a 10.25-inch touchscreen with navigation, DAB radio, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Uconnect 5 offers advanced smartphone connectivity. Buyers will be able to check their car’s battery status, set navigation routes and climate control settings from the comfort of their local coffee shop.
Passengers can connect up to eight devices to the in-car wi-fi, too. The launch car will also have a natural language interface system, allowing voice control for many features.
Yet with all this modernisation, once again, the 500 retains its inimitable style. The screen, while large, isn’t the only draw for the eye, and the wheel is nicely retro and high-tech at the same time.
There are plenty of reminders of what you’re in, too, with ‘500’ badges throughout. It should also be pleasingly practical, with lots of storage between the front seats. These can be trimmed in ‘Seaqual’ yarn, which is made of recycled sea plastic.
2020 Fiat 500 La Prima: prices revealed
The La Prima launch edition is available in Mineral Grey, Ocean Green or Celestial Blue, with full LED lights, eco-leather upholstery, 17-inch wheels and chrome trim. It’s also a soft-top (the first ever four-seat electric convertible) and you can pre-order one now.
One of the 500 La Prima launch edition models will set you back £29,000, after the government Plug-in Car Grant is deducted. That’s a fair amount more than the 500 used to be – and a bit more than the Mini Electric, too. But it does offer more range than the latter car, and indeed the new Honda e.
People will certainly want this new 500. Whether they’ll be able to afford one is another question.
One-off 500s for charity: Armani, Bvlgari and Kartell
To celebrate the new car’s release, Fiat has created three one-offs in collaboration with three fashion brands (very in-keeping with the car’s customer base).
These are the 500 Giorgio Armani, the B.500 with Bvlgari, plus the 500 Kartell. If you simply must have one, they’re due to be auctioned for charity.