It is the latest electric city car, the Italian Fiat 500e. Opposite, one of the stars of the category in France, the Peugeot e-208. Two models, two philosophies. We put them in parallel between Paris and Turin. And you will see that both have quite new arguments! But we have determined a winner. Answer at the end of the comparison.
Presentation of the Fiat 500e
Not easy to see a real revolution for the Fiat 500e! Always a face and such a crisp silhouette. However, note that this is indeed a new generation. A real new model, which will coexist with the current one, remaining for its part only offered in thermal.
Chrome-colored elements highlight the beltline, the turn signal reminders are shaped like small fins, and the rims change to 17 inches. We can clearly see a move upmarket.
In fact, it is especially the 500 logo on the grille and the two-part front optics that will put us in our ears. From the back, we will also notice that the more generous hips make the little 500 even sexier than it was. But despite appearances, the size and performance also go up a notch, with a brand new platform and a single motor offered: 100% electric.
Indeed, this is not really obvious, but Fiat has started from scratch to develop this new generation of 500, which nevertheless retains all its charm while generally retaining the same silhouette and the same proportions, although its size swells. significantly: +6 cm in width and +6 cm in length (3.64 m or +6 cm including +2 cm at the wheelbase).
Difficult to distinguish an e-208 from a 208: only a careful glance will notice the small blue “e” stuck on the rear pillars, the specific rims, the personalized grille patterns, and the absence of an exhaust!
Presentation of the e-208
But the 208 will always stay a size up. It is 40 cm longer (4.06 m vs 3.63 m), it has two more doors, moreover it only exists in a 5-door version. At Peugeot, the approach is also very different, with an e-208 which has very few distinctive signs vis-à-vis the thermal versions.
These peculiarities can be observed at the level of logos and amounts, but for the rest, aesthetically an e-208 remains a completely classic 208. We thus find a sharp look, very sharp, fully assumed. Proof if it were necessary that in France too we know how to look after the style.
Fiat 500e “3 + 1” vs e-208 “five-door”
Yes, but with the new generation of 500, Fiat is launching a brand new body: one driver’s door and two passenger’s side. Call the “Fiat 500 3 + 1”. This makes 3 versions in the catalog with the sedan and the convertible. The 208 cannot say the same!
On the practical side, the Italian city car no longer has much to envy the French. The rear door with opposing opening facilitates access on board. And the absence of a central foot frees up a wide opening. Practical when it comes to installing a baby seat.
The 208 nevertheless makes the difference in terms of livability by offering more legroom. Logical, since it is much longer (4.06 m vs 3.63 m). The same goes for the trunk, where the Fiat cannot fight (185 vs 311 liters).
Two minds two atmospheres
On the other hand, in the front seats, there are two spirits, two atmospheres: Italian elegance meets French “modern chic”. The Fiat 500 amazes with its move upmarket, which makes us totally forget the “toy” spirit of the previous generation!
The seats are superb, the comfort is good and the disappearance of the gear lever frees up space. In practice, we gain a little space everywhere against the previous generation 500, but we always stay in a rather narrow vehicle.
The revolution can be seen with the integration of a very elegant and refined dashboard. Very modern also with its two multimedia screens of respectively 7 and 10 1/4 inches.
Drawn techno side between our two competitors of the day. There is also a 10-inch multimedia screen on board the e-208. With also the same ergonomic defects, in particular concerning the air conditioning control, forcing to go either through the screen or via touch keys. So what do you have against good old wheels that are much more precise and faster?
But the Lioness still stands out for its materials and its daring : it’s less classic thanks to its famous i-cockpit, always more high-tech with its new 3D screens. We also appreciate the piano keys that overhang the center console, avoiding having to venture into the menus of the infotainment system.
The 500e can recover 50 km of range in just 5 minutes with a 22 kWh system and recharge to 80% in 35 minutes.
320 km of autonomy for the 500th
Fiat offers two versions of its electric 500: the range begins with a 95 hp engine powered by a 23.8 kWh battery. A good solution to contain the call price! But our test model is equipped with a 118 hp engine and 42 kWh battery offering a theoretical range of 320 km. In practice, we have rather observed an average consumption of 17 kWh, which by extrapolating it would result in approximately 250 km of autonomy. But there is no doubt that it is achievable. Fiat even promises 420 km in a 100% urban cycle.
It’s hard to judge right in downtown Turin, but you immediately appreciate the driving comfort of the 500th. The most astonishing concerns the flexibility of damping. Despite the large diameter 17-inch rims, the 500 has never been so pleasant to drive, whether on cobbled roads or even when crossing donkeys.
The electric motor delivers quite interesting performance with a 0 to 100 performed in 9.1s but above all a 0 to 50 km / h shot in just 3.1s thanks to the maximum torque delivered instantly.
The overweight of this generation is felt, but the widened frame and the mechanical vigor largely compensate for the overweight Italian. Better still, with the battery located in the floor, stability is better than ever. Thus, we find the agility of the 500, with its ability to sneak into traffic without exaggerated body movement.
The e-208 supports the load in 100 kW, and can go back from 0 to 80% of autonomy in 30 minutes on a fast charging station.
340 km of autonomy for the e-208
Peugeot announces 340 km of autonomy for its e-208 equipped with a 136 hp and a 50 kWh battery! More powerful than the Fiat therefore, but also heavier by 100 kg. Suddenly, the same observation as for its competitor: it is achievable in the city, but we fall to 260 km on a mixed route.
One of the hallmarks of the 208, it’s his sportsmanship. Whatever the versions. This is valid for its look, its cockpit, its driving position and also for its mechanics very often. This is confirmed once again behind the wheel of the e-208, which features a 100% electric motor offering in its own way a real character.
Despite the efforts of the Italian, the e-208 does better in performance, but also in terms of precision and agility. It is even one of the models with the best driving pleasure in the category. Indeed, the electrification did not harm the excellent driving qualities of the 208, despite the overweight of the battery.
Still very stable, perfectly balanced, quite comfortable too. The damping remains very well filtered. Electric motor level, acceleration is linear but very energetic with a 0 to 100 performed in 8.1 s and a 0 to 50 km / h shipped in 2.8 s!
Bonus of 6,000 euros deducted, the electric 500 starts at 18,500 euros. Count 3,000 euros extra for the big battery. And another 2,000 euros more for the 3 + 1 version. This leads us, not very far from the prices of the e208 starting at 26,100 euros.