In association with OVO Energy
Electric Car Awards 2022: Best electric small car
With electrified cars now coming in all shapes and sizes – and available to suit every budget – we’ve named the best models in every class. Here we look at the best electric small car...
You'd be forgiven for thinking that the Fiat 500 breezed away with our small car trophy by being the cheapest model in the running. Well, it’s not that simple. Yes, the 500’s price is one of its plus points, but we crowned it the winner because it perfectly encapsulates what’s needed on high-stress urban runs.
For a start, it’s little enough to weave around congested town and city streets, and its compact dimensions, light steering and tight turning circle let you use parking spaces that other cars can only dream of squeezing into.
Despite those dimensions, though, it can seat four adults, and you can fit more into its boot than you can in the rival Honda E's.
More importantly, with our recommended 42kWh battery, the 500 will take those adults farther on a full charge than its rivals. The official range of 199 miles has the Honda E (137) and Mini Electric (145) well beaten. And when you do get close to 0% charge, it’s quick to top up, with a maximum rate of 85kW. That means you can go from 10-80% in just 25 minutes.
You get plenty of grunt for such a small car, too. The electric motor produces 116bhp, giving the 500 a sprightly 0-62mph time of 9.0sec. Those figures tell only part of the story, though. The instant way the acceleration is delivered means you get away from a standstill sharply, and keeping up with traffic feels effortless.
There is a cheaper, less powerful 94bhp version available, but the added brawn of our preferred choice makes it better suited to travelling at sustained motorway speeds. That’s great when you want to venture out of the city, as is the fact that the 500 doesn’t lean excessively in fast, sweeping corners and there’s lots of grip. We just wish the steering had a bit more feel.
Another positive is that this is one of the few small cars where the interior doesn’t feel cheap and plasticky. In fact, the 500’s is delightful inside; its dashboard looks clean and smart and the controls are easy to use. The driver gets a comfortable seat that’s quite high-set for a good view out, and there are plenty of storage areas for your urban survival kit (phone, keys and so on).
In our preferred mid-range Icon trim, the 500 gets fetching 16in alloy wheels and a 10.3in infotainment touchscreen with sat-nav, DAB radio and wireless smartphone connectivity.
With all that for a relatively low price, it’s no surprise that this repeat winner is still top dog.
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