Fiat 500 La Prima Review< Back to blog
While Fiat’s new electric 500 isn’t yet being mass produced and is expected towards the end of the year, 500 units of the high-spec special edition Fiat 500 La Prima (or “The First”) are now available. Each comes with a dedicated 1 of 500 plaque, a modern take on the classic 500 design and Level 2 autonomous driving capabilities.
The La Prima shows that Fiat is making a serious attempt to disrupt the established all-electric small city car market and to rival the likes of Volkswagen’s e-UP and Smart’s ForTwo EQ. If you want to buy a brand-new one then it will cost you around £29,000, although being less than £35,000 means it qualifies for the government’s £2,500 plug-in grant, meaning that you’re more likelt to pay around £26,500.
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The new electric 500 will be wider and longer than previous models and the wheels will be planted further out, meaning the cabin will be more spacious than ever before.
Endorsed by the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio, the La Prima boasts a cruelty-free interior based on leather-free seats and leather-free wrapped dashboard which emphasises the vehicles forward thinking nature.
Embossed with the Fiat logo, the front seats promise maximum comfort thanks to their six-way adjustable nature and supportive and heated backing. However, the slightly wider and longer frame is unlikely to rectify the cramped rear seats of the traditional 500.
Infotainment and tech
In order to support the idea that the new Fiat 500 is the small city car of the future, numerous futuristic and industry leading tech is crammed into the La Prima.
A Cinerama infotainment system comes with a bright 10.25″ display as standard that dwarfs the 7″ or 8″ systems that come with most electric vehicles. The new 500 also boats ultrafast Bluetooth pairing which will connect all smartphones in less than five seconds from the door opening. These can then be used through Apple CarPlay or Android Auto and can be charged through the wireless mobile charger.
In conjunction with the release of the La Prima, Fiat is also releasing their “Fiat all-in” mobile application which will allow you to manage your vehicle remotely through services like my remote, my navigation and my car.
The new electric 500 also makes parking simple. A setup of 11 parking sensors placed on the front, side and rear will detect any obstacles around the vehicle when driving under 8mph leading to easier parking and safer manoeuvrability. Moreover, a rear reversing camera will provide a sharp high-resolution real-time image of whatever is behind you accompanied by centre line graphics and dynamic grid lines to improve distance perception.
Safety is also more than just covered. A three stage emergency breaking system will automatically avoid or mitigate collisions when travelling up to 80mph. The car will first alert the driver, jerk the brakes to prompt driver response and finally perform an emergency stop. Furthermore, the vehicle helps keep you awake with fatigue monitoring and both audial and visual alerts.
As well as providing more space, the wider and longer structure also provides redesigned storage compartments that include a new smartphone holder and retractable cup holder showcasing how Fiat are utilising as much space as possible.
Moreover, since it’s the first four-seat Cabrio (semi-convertible) electric vehicle it’s likely that its convertible nature provides extra practicality. The ability to lower the roof provides limitless headspace and further storage capabilities for tall objects like surfboards.
However, with no official dimensions or boot capacity, it’s hard to say how practical the all electric 500 will be. Given that the existing 500 has around 180 litres of boot space, it’s likely the La Prima will follow suit but with no mention of battery placement it’s best to take this estimate with a pinch of salt.
On the road
The Fiat 500 La Prima is hoping to take the city car to the next level, literally, with Fiat’s co-driver autonomous software making it the first Level 2 autonomous city car. As such, you can expect a well assisted driving experience with road sign recognition, speed suggestion, automatic lane adjustment (when driving over 37mph) and automatic distance control (when driving over 18mph).
Moreover, sensors on both the rear and side of the car alert you to blind spots with an audio tone and a light on the relevant side wing mirror ensuring safety and avoiding any nasty surprises.
While the advertised range of 199 miles isn’t as impressive of other city cars on the market, such as the Corsa-e’s 209 miles, a rapid 30-mile range charge in five minutes is perfect for city driving and small commutes. Furthermore, the “Sherpa” mode minimises energy use and calculates exactly how to get to your destination while optimising the car’s outputs i.e. mobile charger, air conditioning, speed and acceleration.
Another novel feature that will affect your driving experience is the Fiat’s one pedal driving where acceleration and braking is handled by only one pedal. In order to slow down the vehicle, the driver will need to release and lift off from the accelerator which will cause the vehicle to slow and convert kinetic energy to electric power which will help recharge the battery.
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Image Credit: Fiat