Fiat 600e dimensions, design and practicality
The Fiat 600e is a compact family car that, at 4.17m long and 1.78m wide (without the wing mirrors) is a bit bigger than a traditional supermini and a bit smaller than a traditional mid-size family car. It's more of a high-riding hatchback than an SUV, which means it’s designed to offer the best of both worlds as a conveniently urban-appropriate parking ninja, and a practical grown-up car for the longer motorway trips.
It looks cute, too. The styling cues from the electric 500 are unmistakable, and that’s no bad thing as the 500e is one of the best-looking cars out there, to our eyes. For the 600e the proportions are stretched and there’s chunkier finishes all round, with contrasting chequer-finish surrounds to the rear lights and - on the top-spec La Prima - also on the wheels. La Prima also gets the contrasting black body kit and chrome badging for additional premium SUV-ish appeal.
For all that, of course, the 600e is a front-wheel drive car that has no pretensions towards off-road capability – for that, you want to look to the Jeep Avenger, with its various terrain modes which help out a little more in slippery conditions.
The Fiat’s focus is on space, comfort and style, and that shows in the inside, too. A contrast dash insert – body colour on the entry-level (RED) and contrasting matte ivory on the La Prima - is a focal point, but it is generally comfortable and spacious. There are certain features which are unmistakably pinched from the Jeep Avenger, such as a big, 15-litre cubby which sits beneath a magnetic, soft-touch lid that flips and folds back rather like one of those iPad covers. Some of the plastics feel a bit cheap, especially lower down the cabin, but all the bits that you regularly touch feel nice and solid.
There’s also plenty of movement to the driver’s seat, and enough width to the cabin that you feel comfortable even with two taller adults up front.
Access to the back seats is a little tight for larger passengers, as the door aperture is a bit narrow, but the high roof makes bending in to faff about with car seats nice and easy. There’s decent legroom, too, plus two Isofix fittings, so getting two chunky car seats in will be fine.
The 360-litre boot will be fine for a single chunky buggy, but it’s annoying that the entry-level 600e doesn’t get variable boot floor that also creates a bit of underfloor cable storage. As a useful family car, we reckon that should be a standard feature as it also levels out a drop down over the boot lip, and the bump up to the 60/40 split rear seats when they’re folded. A VW ID.3, MG4 or Cupra Born are all a bit more spacious, but they’re also bigger cars – and that may be trying to avoid the bloat that many modern cars have become susceptible to.
Fiat 600e technology
We love that there are physical air-con controls in the Fiat 600e; they’re logical, nice to use and makes it easy to adjust the temperature without taking your eyes off the road. And yet, the dash still looks minimalist and smart – not least thanks to the 10.25-inch colour touchscreen infotainment with its ‘Uconnect’ software.
Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard in every 600e, as are some configurable shortcut buttons on the home page, but you have to go for the La Prima to get the company’s in-built, TomTom nav system. Generally, the system is good – the graphics are good, straightforward commands like turning the nav voice off are easy to find, and it’s easy to hop between the functions you want. Others, not least Kia and Hyundai, have better graphics, but this system is better better than the systems you get in the MG4, Renault Zoe and Nissan Leaf, and is even a bit more intuitive than the system in the VW ID.3 and Cupra Born.
The Fiat 600e also gets a standard heat pump, which is a useful bit of kit that makes the car more efficient in winter running - when EVs are prone to seeing quite drastic drop in range. Basically, when you put the heater on full whack on a wintery morning, you shouldn’t see the range drop as much in the Fiat 600e as you might in another electric car that doesn’t have a heat pump – which is also a pricey option on many of the Fiat’s rivals.
There is no vehicle-to-device charging on the Fiat 600e, though. This tech allows you to plug a converter into the car’s charging port, so that you can plug your portable fridge, laptop, other electric car or any electric device you fancy into your EV and charge it using the car’s main battery. It basically turns your EV into a huge, portable charging device. It’s a nifty, useful feature that MG, Kia and Hyundai all offer as standard, so it’d be really good to see Stellantis following suit, but they don’t seem to be too bothered at the moment.
Otherwise, the Fiat 600e gets all the safety features and driver aids that you’d expect, but you have to go for La Prima to get adaptive cruise control and blind spot warning.
Fiat 600e battery, range and charging
The Fiat 600e has a 54kWh lithium-ion battery, with a usable capacity (the amount that you’re actually charging and discharging) of 51kWh. That’s good for a range of up to 254 miles in the cheaper 600e (RED) model, or 252 miles in the La Prima, and in our summer test drive through a variety of faster country roads and slow town stuff, we managed a real-world figure of 220 miles, which is only a fraction less than you get in an MG4 Long Range or VW ID.3.
You plug the Fiat 600e in where you’d expect a fuel filler cap to be, in the rear three-quarter of the car. The CCS and Type 2 sockets are compatible with the vast majority of public chargers in the UK and Europe. Rapid charging peaks at 100kW, which will get you a 10-80% charge in around 30 minutes, or a 100 mile top-up in some 15- to 20 minutes. Plug into a normal 7kW home charger and you can expect a full battery in around eight hours. If you want to charge from a normal, domestic three-pin plug point, be warned that it’ll take some 24 hours, and you have to pay over £300 for the relevant cable. Mind you, we always say that it’s worth adding this ‘trickle charge’ cable, as it can still be super useful if you’re away on holiday.
Fiat 600e driving
The Fiat 600e is exactly what it needs to be, really; calm, confident and generally assured whether you’re wheeling through town or winding down a mountain road. The steering is light and fairly slow, but it’s easy to predict and weights up well when you’re going round a faster corner, so while it doesn’t encourage you to drive it hard – despite the Sport mode that noticeably perks up the throttle response, steering weight and acceleration - it is capable enough if you do choose to enjoy a nice stretch of road.
More importantly, ride comfort is well judged. You hear more than feel the suspension over coarse surfaces and smaller bumps, but it does a good job of soaking up all but really big potholes and is generally a cushy, relaxed place to be. There’s a bit of roll in corners, of course, but nothing that’s going to have the kids reaching for a sick bag. It really is a composed, comfy car. An MG4 Long Range or Cupra Born will be faster and more fun, but the Fiat strikes a nice blend of smooth and confident. We’d like a touch more power, chiefly just for a bit more response at higher speeds; the 154bhp electric motor is more than zingy enough at town speeds but can feel a bit breathless if you want an overtake or fast motorway merge – as the 9.0sec 0-62mph time suggests. Even so, the Fiat 600e is more than punchy enough for everyday use.
Brake feel is a bit stodgy, but you do get used to it and it becomes easy to stop the 600e smoothly. Standard brake recuperation is quite mild, and deliberately feels a bit like what you’ll be used to if this is the first electric car you drive after stepping out of a diesel or petrol car. You can make it stronger, though; hit the ‘B’ mode and you’ll feel the car braking as you lift off the throttle as it works to harvest as much energy as possible. It’s not quite a ‘one-pedal’ mode, as you get in the Nissan Leaf and Fiat 500e, and there’s also no adaptive brake regen’ in the Fiat 600e.
Fiat 600e pricing and availability
The cheapest model in the range is the Fiat 600e (RED), which costs just under £33,000 and gets rear parking sensors, climate control, cruise control, auto lights and wipers and that Uconnect infotainment system. The La Prima is a big price jump, up by £4000 to nearly £37,000, but it will likely be the more popular trim as it gets sat-nav, adaptive cruise, keyless entry, heated seats, 18-inch alloy wheels and lots of style upgrades.
Monthly prices will be critical for the 600e’s success in the UK, of course, but they’re ye to be confirmed. We’d expect to see monthly deals for £350 and under, as Fiat aims to compete with its many rivals – not least the in-house Stellantis Group competition, in the form of the Citroen e-C4, Vauxhall Mokka Electric and Peugeot E-2008.
Orders open in October this year, with customer deliveries starting at in early 2024.