2020 Fiat 500 La Prima electric hatchback introduced

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Fiat is celebrating the launch of the third-generation 500 by releasing an array of limited-edition models that move the electric city car upmarket. The latest installment in the series is a variant named La Prima (which means “the first” in Italian) based on the hatchback version and priced well into Mercedes-Benz territory.

The first limited-edition 500 introduced in March 2020, when the car made its debut, is sold out. The second chapter in the story is similar to the first but it’s offered exclusively as a hardtop. Hard doesn’t mean metal, though, and it comes equipped with a panoramic sunroof. The list of standard equipment also includes 17-inch alloy wheels, full LED headlights, and edition-specific emblems below the rear windows. Buyers can choose one of three paint colors named Ocean Green, Mineral Grey, and Celestial Blue, respectively.

Inside, Fiat added a seven-inch digital instrument cluster, a horizontal 10.25-inch touchscreen that displays its fifth-generation Uconnect software, plus cow-less upholstery on the seats and on the dashboard. The stitching on the middle section of the seats spells out Fiat, which is a nifty touch that adds a bit of flair to the cabin. 

There are no powertrain modifications, meaning the La Prima gets a 42-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack that spins a 118-horsepower electric motor. Its maximum driving range checks in at 199 miles, though Fiat obtained that figure by putting the 500 through the optimistic WLTP testing cycle. Hitting 60 mph from a stop takes nine seconds, a respectable time for its segment, and it stops accelerating when it reaches 93 mph. It can fast-charge at up to 85 kilowatts, which is more Abarth 500-quick than Porsche 911 GT2 RS-fast. However, because the battery pack is small, it takes five minutes to zap it with up to 31 miles of driving range.

Achieving early adopter status by being one of the first motorists to be seen behind the wheel of the new 500 is costly. Fiat priced the La Prima hatchback at €34,900, which represents nearly $40,000 at the current conversion rate. That figure generously includes a home charger and it excludes available incentives that vary from market to market, but it catapults this once-humble city car into Mercedes-Benz’s domain. In Italy, the A-Class sedan costs €28,630, the entry-level GLA starts at €35,580, and the last-generation 500 (which is no longer sold in the United States but will remain in production for global markets in the foreseeable future) is priced at €15,350.

Cheaper variants will join the range a little later in the production run, though Fiat hasn’t detailed them yet. As of writing, there’s no indication the Italian firm will sell the new 500 in the United States, where motorists harbor a great amount of disinterest in electric cars that tick the “relatively small” and “reasonably expensive” boxes.

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Saurabh Shukla

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