Fiat 600e Review 2024

Written by Ivan Aistrop

7/10
heycar ratingA family-friendly alternative to the Fiat 500
  • 2024
  • Small SUV
  • EV

Quick overview

Pros

  • Appealingly cheery character
  • Decent equipment levels
  • Low running costs

Cons

  • Tight cabin space
  • Only so-so to drive
  • Some iffy interior plastics

Overall verdict on the Fiat 600e

"The Fiat 600e has a cheery and likeable character, and the all-electric powertrain results in low running costs. Just don’t go expecting it to be the most practical or enjoyable car of its type."

Fiat 600e Review 2024: side profile

Even if you’re not that into cars, you’re probably aware of the historical and cultural significance of the Fiat 500. This little car was first released in 1957 with the goal of mobilising Italy’s masses, and in 2007, the nameplate was reprised on a small city car that was festooned with retro styling cues in tribute to the original, and this unabashed nostalgia made it a complete smash-hit in the sales charts.


Did you know, however, that the Fiat 600 name has even more history? Yep, the original 600 was released two years before the original 500 in 1955. And Fiat will be hoping that the unabashed nostalgia formula works once again, as the 600 name has been applied to the Italian firm’s new small SUV


Give it a few months, and the Fiat 600 will be available as a hybrid that combines an electric motor with a 1.2-litre petrol engine, but to begin with, the Fiat 600e is the only 600 you can buy, and it’s a small all-electric car with looks that blur the lines between hatchback and SUV.


With Fiat being a member of the vast Stellantis empire of car brands, it’s built on the same CMP-2 platform that underpins countless other small cars - both all-electric and combustion-engined - in the group’s portfolio, the first Fiat model that is. Here are the basic headlines: the battery is 54kWh, the WLTP range is up to 254 miles, the power output is 156PS and the 0-62mph time is 9.0 seconds.


Fiat has tried to keep the buying process simple. You choose between one of two trim levels - the entry-level Red and the top-spec La Prima - and you choose your paint colour. That’s it. Paint aside, there are no optional extras and no option packs.


Don’t go expecting it to be a spacious family car. Yes, it’s a tad roomier than the Fiat 500 Electric, but since that’s a fairly low bar, most cars are: it’s a bit like saying that there’s more room in a shoe box than there is in a matchbox. Don’t expect it to be the most comfortable or most thrilling car of its type to drive, either, although its on-road manners will be entirely adequate for those taken with the car’s cutesy looks.


Indeed, it’s those looks and the cheery character they bring - allied to the reasonable pricing and decent kit levels - that’ll form the main appeal for buyers.


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If you like the balance of abilities provided by the Jeep Avenger, but you’re not a fan of that car’s bluff, in-your-face styling and would prefer something a little more sophisticated and reserved, then the Fiat 600e could be right up your street. The two cars are very similar in a lot of ways, being closely related mechanically, but the Fiat has a slightly more laid-back, grown up character.

You’ve only got one powertrain to choose from in the Fiat 600e, an all-electric one with a 156PS motor and a 54kWh battery. In the fullness of time, a hybrid-powered 600 will be offered that combines a 1.2-litre petrol engine with an electric motor to give 100PS, but we haven’t tried it yet.


In terms of the trim level you want, it’s tricky. The entry-level Red trim is not poorly equipped by any means, and it looks like reasonable value for the money you pay. However, it does miss out on some desirable items of kit that you do get with the high-end La Prima trim, items such as alloy wheels (yes, really), parking sensors, a reversing camera, wireless phone charging, a movable boot floor and adaptive cruise control. There’s a big jump in price, though, so it’s a case of whether you consider the extra kit to be worth the extra money you pay.

The Fiat 600e’s subtle design means it kind of blurs the lines between small hatchbacks and small SUVs, so it arguably competes with both. The funny thing is that the most prolific maker of cars like these of an electric nature is Stellantis, so most of the 600e’s competition comes from in-house brands. Peugeot has the e-208 hatchback and e-2008 SUV, Vauxhall has the Corsa Electric hatchback and the Mokka Electric SUV, and then there’s the DS 3 E-Tense and the Jeep Avenger. Rivals from outside the Stellantis group include the (now considerably bigger) Hyundai Kona Electric, the Mazda MX-30 and the Volvo EX30.

Comfort and design: Fiat 600e interior

"With a dashboard layout and infotainment system taken straight out of the Jeep Avenger, things are quite simple, but there are still a few ergonomic quirks regardless."

Fiat 600e Review 2024: front seats

If you’ve ever been anywhere near a Jeep Avenger, then climbing aboard the Fiat 600e might well result in a pronounced bout of deja vu. The colourful dashboard facia (finished in red on the Red, naturally, and in matt ivory on the La Prima) with its oval-shaped design motif is unique to the 600, as is the two-spoke steering wheel, but those parts aside, everything looks to be lifted straight out of the Jeep.


That means the layout is largely pretty simple and easy, but there are still one or two quirks. For instance, the row of ventilation buttons positioned below the touchscreen means you can adjust the temperature and fan speed without having to bother with the touchscreen, but if you want to change the direction of the airflow, the touchscreen must be used. In the La Prima version we drove, you also turn on the heated seats using the touchscreen, which is pretty odd given that there are already physical buttons on the side of the seat for the electric lumbar adjustment and massage function.


Visibility at the front of the car is pretty good, but a small rear window with thick pillars either side means your over-the-shoulder view isn’t quite so clear.

The similarities between the 600e’s interior and that of the Jeep Avenger aren’t limited merely to the layout and the design. Predictably, the two cars are also very similar on quality. The Fiat’s brightly coloured fascia panel running the width of the dashboard does manage to give a hint of cheerfulness, but otherwise, the materials used feel solid and functional rather than being particularly tactile. There are virtually no cushioned surfaces to be found, with hard, grainy finishes being the order of the day. It doesn’t feel like a low-budget environment, but nor does it deliver a classy impression.

As standard, all versions of the 600 come with the same basic touchscreen system that utilises a 7.0-inch digital screen behind the steering wheel to serve as your driving instruments, and a 10.25 digital touchscreen mounted on top of the dashboard to deal with operating the car’s various functions. In the Red version, it supports DAB radio, Bluetooth and both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It also comes with four stereo speakers, while in the La Prima version, you get six speakers, while wireless phone charging and navigation are also added to the roster.


The system looks pretty good, with sharp graphics and slick screen transitions, while the screen sensitivity is good enough that the system responds quickly and consistently to prods and swipes. However, the system can be a wee bit tricky to find your way around at times because quite a few of the on-screen icons look a bit ambiguous, so it’s not immediately clear exactly what they do, while a couple of the menus aren’t entirely logical in their layout.


In the marketing blurb for the car, Fiat proclaims that the 600 is essentially like the 500 city car, ‘but with 100 more’, offering more in the way of doors, seats and space. If that’s the case, you’d almost hope that the 600 name didn’t have such historical significance, because in terms of space, the car could’ve done with being the 700, or even the 800.


Things are fine in the front. There’s plenty of adjustment in the two front seats and a decent amount of headroom and legroom to allow tall folk to get comfy. The car also has enough width that the driver doesn’t feel like they’re rubbing shoulders with the passenger next to them.


Storage is also pretty good in the front, with a reasonably large glovebox and a centre console that houses a small lidded cubby, a couple of cupholders and a deep bin with a folding cover on it that looks like one you might put on your iPad, another legacy of the links with the Jeep Avenger. The door bins in the front are a decent size, too, but it’s a little annoying that passengers in the back seats don’t get any.


However, those in the back will be far more bothered by how little space they get. Set the driver’s seat up for someone of six feet tall, and someone of the same size sitting behind will find their knees and shins pressing into the seat in front of them. The rear footwells are also very cramped for space, so even if you can manage to tuck your feet under the seat in front, you might well struggle to get them out again. The cabin is too narrow to comfortably accommodate three people across the rear bench, and there’s a bulky transmission tunnel that whoever is in the middle seat will have to straddle. That means even less foot space for everyone in the rear, so we’d only travel five-up as a last resort. 


Rear headroom is more realistic, allowing a six-footer to sit without their hairdo coming into contact with the ceiling, but because the roof curves downwards at the sides of the car, you do risk banging your head on it if the driver unexpectedly takes a corner too quickly. That also means you have to stoop down quite a bit when getting in and out, and your entry and exit to the back seats are further hampered by small door openings that are eaten into by the rear wheelarches, resulting in a piece of protruding bodywork next to the backrest of your seat that you have to curl yourself around to get in.


The boot is a decent size at 360 litres, which is about 20 litres behind what you get in a Volkswagen Golf. You can extend your load-lugging capacity to 1231 litres by dropping folding down the rear seats, which is done in a 60/40 split. However, there’s a pronounced boot lip that you’ll need to muscle heavy items over, and a similarly sized step to the folded seatbacks, which themselves lie at an angle, leaving you with a load floor that’s both stepped and sloped. The La Prima version has a movable boot floor that levels out these steps a bit, and also gives you some underfloor storage for stashing away your charging cable. Otherwise, it’ll just be rattling around in the boot, because there’s no ‘frunk’ storage compartment under the bonnet like there is in some electric cars.

Handling and ride quality: What is the Fiat 600e like to drive?

"The driving experience offered by the Fiat 600e isn’t dazzling, but it’s totally acceptable, and that applies to its ride comfort, handling ability and performance."

Fiat 600e Review 2024: front dynamic

As a more family-friendly alternative to the Fiat 500 city car, a comfortable ride should be the priority in the 600’s dynamic makeup. And it does a decent job here without dazzling particularly. The suspension does manage to smooth over most lumpen surfaces reasonably effectively, meaning it’s pretty comfortable most of the time. However, you do feel quite a bit of vertical movement in the suspension as the car moves down the road, which could make the kids feel queasy on undulating roads.


What’s more, bigger bumps can thump into the cabin more severely, particularly through the back axle, and if that bump occurs mid-corner, you can feel a small but appreciable hop sideways on the rear end. It’s nothing that’ll destabilise the car, but it can feel a little unnerving. And while the car never feels particularly alert or athletic when changing direction, it remains secure and there’s enough control to prevent the body of the car leaning over too much. The steering meanwhile, is responsive and accurate, even if it’s not that last word in feel or feedback.


We’ve already mentioned the internal similarities between the Fiat 600e and the Jeep Avenger, and there are more similarities to mention here. That’s because both cars get exactly the same powertrain, which is the same one found in facelifted versions of other Stellantis-group Electric cars built on the same platform, including the Peugeot e-208 and Vauxhall Corsa Electric to name just a couple. The powertrain consists of a 156PS motor powering the front wheels via a 54kWh battery.


The thing is, you don’t always get the full 156PS, and what you do get depends on which of the three driving modes you select. Eco mode limits the power to 82PS in order to maximise range, while selecting Normal mode ups this to 109PS. It’s only when you dial in Sport mode that you get the full force of the motor.


Not that it makes a massive amount of difference, mind. You can feel a small difference in the performance between the various modes, but the contrast is nowhere near as pronounced as the numbers would suggest. As a result, Sport mode doesn’t feel particularly sporty (the 0-62mph dash comes and goes in 9.0 seconds, and the power delivery feels adequate yet reserved), but by the same token, Eco mode doesn’t feel too underpowered and is fine for pootling around town.


The 54kWh battery (51kWh useable) in the Fiat 600e is enough to give it an official WLTP combined range figure of up to 254 miles. If you stick purely to city use, meanwhile, Fiat claims a figure of 375 miles on the WLTP urban cycle. A heat pump comes as standard to provide more efficient cabin heating, which in turn maximises range in the winter. As ever, WLTP figures are very difficult to replicate in the real world, and you’ll only ever have the slightest chance when conditions are absolutely perfect. Even in warm weather at moderate speeds, bank on an average return of no more than 220 miles, and it’ll be considerably less in cold temperatures, or if you’re doing lots of motorway miles.


Being an electric car, there’s obviously no engine noise to speak of, and the electric motor doesn’t whine too much as it pulls you along, making the car impressively quiet at low speed. Wind noise is pretty well contained when you’re going faster, too, but road noise is rather more prevalent at moderate and high speeds, so it’s not the whisper-quiet experience you get from many electric cars. If you go for that La Prima model and you engage the massaging driver’s seat function, your level of relaxation is slightly dented by the faint whirr of the motor inside the seat working away.


The amount of safety kit you get on your 600e depends on which of the trim levels you go for. As standard, the Red version comes with kit including emergency call, autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian and bicycle detection, traffic sign recognition with intelligent speed assist, drowsy driver detection, lane departure warning, lane keeping assist, and an emergency call function.


Upgrade to the La Prima, and you also get blind spot detection, along with adaptive cruise control with stop and go that allows level 2 autonomous driving, allowing the car to essentially drive itself in motorway traffic so long as you keep your hands on the wheel. It’ll speed up and slow down while keeping a safe distance from the car in front, and it’ll automatically steer to keep the car centred in its lane.


The car hasn’t yet been crash-tested by Euro NCAP, but the Peugeot 208 and 2008 with which the car shares its platform have both been awarded four out of five stars, although that was back in 2019 when the testing thresholds weren’t as tough as they are today.

Charging times: How much does it cost to charge the Fiat 600e?

"A rapid charging capability of 100kW isn’t particularly quick, but it is par for the course at this end of the EV market, and will still deliver a 20-80% charge in 27 minutes."

Fiat 600e Review 2024: charging

If you’re in a hurry, plugging the 600e into a sufficiently powerful public rapid charger can juice up the 54kWh battery (51kWh useable) from 20-80% in 27 minutes. That’s because the car supports DC rapid charging of up to 100kW, which isn’t huge, but it’s par for the course with EVs at this end of the market.


On the flip-side of that coin, plugging your car into a regular three-pin domestic socket charging at the standard rate of 3.7kW will take more than 16 hours to deliver a full charge to your car, but this is something we wouldn’t recommend doing on a regular basis anyway. Do what most owners will do, and get a 7.4kW wallbox home charger installed, and you’ll be looking at a charging time of around eight hours.


With the national average cost of home electricity standing at 28p per kWh, you can expect a full charge of your car to cost around £15. You can easily cut that in half by signing up to reduced-rate off-peak power tariff and charging overnight. However, that first figure can easily be doubled - maybe more - on a high-powered public rapid charger.

Have a look at the latest HonestJohn.co.uk Satisfaction Index, and at first glance, it makes for rather bleak reading for anyone considering a 600e. That’s because on the study’s list of the ten worst manufacturers for reliability, Fiat ranks third from bottom, behind only Land Rover and Peugeot. Peugeot, you’ll note, is another member of the same Stellantis family as Fiat - and as we’ve already mentioned, the 600 sits on the same platform as the Peugeot 208 - and those brands are also both joined in the bottom ten by Citroen, another group member.


Before you start panicking unduly, though, be aware that most of Fiat’s woes were caused by ageing examples of the 500, a car which bears absolutely no mechanical resemblance to the 600. Most of the complaints about Peugeot surrounded the 3008 SUV, so again, totally unrelated to the 600. That’s by no means a guarantee of reliability, but it means there shouldn’t be any reason for alarm, either.

Go for the lower-spec Red version, and your 600e will sit in group 25 for insurance, while if you go for the La Prima, it’ll be group 26. Since there are 50 insurance groups, group 1 cars being the cheapest to insure and group 50 being the most expensive, you can’t really get any more middle-of-the-road than that.

Because the Fiat 600e is all-electric, you don’t currently pay any road tax on it whatsoever, either up front or an annual fee. The hybrid version will be liable for the tax, though, but its hybrid system is sophisticated enough to make it eligible for the reduced rate for alternative-fuelled cars. However, that only saves you a tenner per year, leaving you with £170 to pay annually. No 600 costs enough to be troubled by the luxury car surcharge, as all sit beneath the £40,000 threshold.

How much should you be paying for a used Fiat 600e?

"List prices aren’t exactly cheap, but because Fiat is still cross with the Government for withdrawing its plug-in car grant back in 2022, the firm will knock £3,000 off the price of one of its new electric cars."

Fiat 600e Review 2024: front static

At launch, the 600e started at around £33,000 for the Red model, rising to £37,000 for the La Prima. Certainly not cheap, then. However, private buyers will benefit from Fiat’s own E-Grant scheme, which knocks £3,000 off the price of one of the firm’s all-electric cars, giving you a useful saving.


Do bear in mind, too, that entry prices will drop significantly once the hybrid version arrives. You won’t get the grant on that, but the Red will cost £24,000 while the La Prima will set you back £27,000.


Sourcing a pre-registered or ex-demonstrator car from a dealer is usually a good way to get an as-new car with only a handful of miles on it for a useful discount. However, it’s not clear whether the E-Grant scheme will apply to such cars, meaning it’s not clear whether these will be any cheaper or not.


The 600e is available in two trim levels. The first of them is called Red, and it comes with all-round LED lighting, recycled fabric upholstery, powered door mirrors, all-round powered windows, automatic lights and wipers, cruise control, climate control and keyless start, plus all the infotainment and safety bits that we mentioned earlier.


To this, La Prima trim adds alloy wheels (that’s right, the Red only has steelies), rear privacy glass, chrome exterior trim accents, synthetic leather upholstery, a powered driver’s seat, automatic high-beam headlights, all-round parking sensors, reversing camera, heated front seats, a massaging driver’s seat and hands-free powered tailgate.


Fiat has intentionally kept things simple with the 600e, and as a result, there are no options or option packs to choose from. The only thing you choose outside of your trim level is the colour of your car.


Ask the heycar experts: common questions

If you’re after a small electric car that’s stylish and well equipped for a reasonable price, then yes, the Fiat 600e will be a good car for you.
Yes, the Fiat 600e is an all-electric car, and at launch it was the only Fiat 600 you could buy. Fiat did introduce a Fiat 600 hybrid later on, though.
The Fiat 600e comes with a good amount of safety equipment as standard, but it has not yet been crash-tested by the experts at Euro NCAP.

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