Test: Fiat 500e 3+1

The new generation of the Fiat 500 will only be offered electrically. And in a new body variant that has a second door on the passenger side. This should improve the practical utility and make the charm of the Italian, literally, accessible to families. The corresponding variant is called “3+1”. A driving report will clarify whether it can meet expectations.

How he looks: Countless special models line the path of the Fiat 500. The popularity of the small retro vehicle has been kept alive since 2007 with extra editions such as “Dolce Vita”, “Spiaggina 58” or “Gucci”. However, the latest measure goes beyond equipment details, chic decorative stripes and special colors. It remains reserved exclusively for the new and fundamentally electrically driven Cinquecento generation: in addition to the sedan (what a big word) and the soft-top convertible, the 500e 3+1 has also joined the range.

Arithmetically, the addition results in the number 4. Ultimately, however, it is more like half a door, which was also attached on the passenger side and opens in the opposite direction to the front. This does not change the iconic charm of the electric Cinquecento – the expression is not out of place here – nor the dimensions, which remain the same at 3.63 meters, 1.68 meters wide and 1.53 meters high.

In contrast to the combustion engine – which remains in the program – the 500e has fluffed up. The figures show that, as does the appearance. In general, the conventional and the electrically powered variant have nothing in common technically. The Stromer is an all-new car that Fiat engineered from a dedicated electric platform, but cleverly dressed up as its successful heartthrob.

How it is set up: When it comes to the interior design, Fiat has let the safe Italian sense of taste prevail. The choice of materials is nice, with the seat covers – which were also woven from the sea plastic recycling material Seaqual – carries the 500e pinstripe, the soft-touch steering wheel is easy to hand. Buttons were installed as a door opener and for selecting the driving levels, the driver’s display is designed as a semicircle, the 10.25-inch touchscreen placed on the dashboard with the responsive Uconnect 5 infotainment system, which readily listens to spoken commands, fits harmoniously into the overall picture one. The smartphone content is mirrored as standard. Nice: the mobile phone finds its place on a tray with the silhouette of Turin that creates an identity.

Cockpit: This is where the electric Cinquecento differs fundamentally from the combustion variant.

How much space he has: At this point we want to deal with the special door concept. Especially because – apart from the defunct Hyundai Veloster and the first generation of the Mini Clubman – you won’t find it anywhere else. But also because the narrow additional door on the passenger side cannot be opened “just like that”. First the front door has to be opened, only then can the rear one swing open. The reverse order applies when closing. The rear door cannot be opened from the inside, which is not a disadvantage with regard to children.

Because the 3+1 does not have an intermediate pillar, i.e. a B-pillar, and both doors open in opposite directions, an invitingly wide entrance can actually be used, which also makes the task of lashing kids in the child seat less complicated – and thus probably less conflict-free . The seat belt stretches from the top of the door to the bottom of the seat, we were careful not to get tangled in it when exiting.

Otherwise, the 500e 3+1 is simply a small car, too high demands on the space are therefore prohibited. As a backbench in the two-seater rear, only children will feel comfortable in the long term, the trunk deserves the diminutive “trunk” thanks to its mini capacity of 185 liters. To save our honour, it must of course be said that the rear seat backrest (optionally divided in a 50:50 ratio) can also be easily folded down from the luggage compartment, which expands the storage space to 550 liters, which is suitable for shopping.

Fiat 500e 3+1

Invitingly open: “Magic Doors” is what Fiat calls the concept, traditionally referred to as portal doors.

What drives him: In principle, the 500e is available in two drive variants. The basic combination of 70 kW/95 hp electric motor and 23.8 kW battery fails Fiat 3 + 1, however. For him, it must be the stronger expansion stage. That means: 87 kW/118 hp and 42 kWh gross or 37 kWh net. The engine power allows the 0-100 sprint in nine seconds, at 150 km/h regulates the electronics.

How it drives: Nimble, brisk and wonderfully manoeuvrable. Thanks to the immediately available torque of 220 Newton meters, the electric Cinquecento gets off the spot quickly, silently anyway, and the chassis noises remain unobtrusive. Damaged asphalt is equalized with decency, the low center of gravity ensures that you can get the little Italian around the curve, but the somewhat spongy steering is to be criticized.

Three driving levels regulate the degree of recuperation and manage the power reserves: “Normal” (full power, recuperation only when the brake pedal is pressed), “Range” (extra-intensive energy recovery in the form of one-pedal driving) and “Sherpa” – the latter Mode is recommended as a rescue when the power quota is running low. The performance is then throttled, more than 80 things are no longer possible, electricity consumers such as the heated seats are switched off. The question does not arise with the steering wheel heating, because unfortunately there is no such thing as a heat pump.

Depending on the equipment, however, the co-driver drives along, which automatically keeps the 500e in the middle of the lane and at a distance from the vehicle in front and adjusts the speed to the applicable limit.

How far he gets: The data sheet speaks of 307 to 314 kilometers. At 290 kilometers, we didn’t stay far away from that, although the prevailing, still mild temperatures of 15 to 20 degrees at the time of our test have to be mentioned. More is possible in city traffic with its frequent recuperation phases.

Fiat 500e 3+1

Unobtrusively integrated: The extra door does not detract from the retro charm.

What he consumes: On average 15.1 kWh/100 km.

How it loads: The 500e uses three phases and up to 11 kW at the wall box or public charging station. One “full tank” takes four hours and fifteen minutes. Fiat includes the required Mode 3 charging cable as standard. Fast charging from direct current is done according to the CCS standard and with a respectable 85 kW, the battery is 80 percent full in a good half hour. You have to be patient for about 15 hours at the household socket for the full charge.

What it offers: The 500e 3+1 is delivered from the middle equipment level “Icon”. The dowry includes 16-inch alloy wheels, 10.25-inch infotainment with navigation system, automatic climate control, rain sensor, traffic sign recognition, cruise control, rear parking sensors, lane departure warning and fatigue assistant and an emergency braking system with pedestrian/cyclist detection.

The “Magic Eye” package (full LED headlights, high-beam assistant) costs a thousand, the winter package with heated seats 500 euros. Reversing camera and co-driver are only available for the top model “la Prima”, here both are standard. It’s fine if you like black, because that’s the only color without a surcharge.

What it costs: Fiat calculates at least 32,990 euros for the 500e 3+1. The surcharge for the additional door is therefore 2000 euros. After all, the environmental bonus of 9570 euros can be deducted.

What we mean: The electric Fiat 500e is the ideal city car. Local zero emissions, nimble manoeuvrability, decent range and efficient charge management speak in its favour. On top of that there is the almost irresistible retro charm. The additional door of the 3+1 undoubtedly means a gain in comfort and also makes the Cinquecento attractive for the new target group of small families. It is up to the individual to decide whether the not inconsiderable surcharge of 2000 euros is worth it.

Ulla Ellmer

The data of the Fiat 500e 3+1

power 87 kW / 118 PS, Max. Torque 220 Nm. Batterietyp lithium ion, capacity 42 kW / h. Ladeanschluss Type 2 (up to 11 kW) and CCS (up to 85 kW). top 150 km/h, Acceleration 0 to 100 km/h in 9,0 sec. Range WLTP 307 – 314 km. Standard consumption WLTP 14.3 – 14.5 kWh/100 km, test consumption 15,1 kWh. CO2-Emission 0 g/km, Emission class electric vehicle, energy efficiency class A+++. Long 3,63 m, broad 1.68 m without, 1.90 m with exterior mirrors, height 1.53 m (including antenna). Trunk 185 – to 550 l. Empty weight 1395 kg, maximum weight allowed 1795 kg, Payload 400 kg. Automatic 1-speed gearbox, front-wheel drive. Insurance Type Classes 13 (KH), 18 (VK), 16 (TK). price from 32,990 euros.

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