I’m happy to see the propulsion system from the Fiat 500e among the 2014 Ward’s 10 Best Engines.
The 500e was one of just two all-electric vehicles we tested and shows EVs, as much as the haters wish they were, aren’t dead yet.
Further, it proves a motor-and-battery combo still is a wise choice for those with short, urban commutes.
The 83-kW (111-hp) electric motor helps make the 500e a helluva fun car to drive. Forget your misperceptions about EVs being pokey, unexciting or nerdy.
While the Chevy Spark, which we also tested, was a peppy little thing, it couldn’t match the exhilarating acceleration of the 500e, thanks to the Fiat’s 147 lb.-ft. (199 Nm) of instant torque.
Editor Byron Pope sums it up best on his score sheet when he says: “If this thing had more power, it would come apart.”
Some critics might suggest the 83-kW motor doesn’t belong on this year’s list, arguing the gearing is what makes the 500e fun to drive, not the motor, and that the Chevy Spark EV could be more deserving because it’s bigger, more practical and has even more torque.
I agree the 500e’s gearing makes it more fun to drive, but proper gearing makes any car more fun to drive.
And while I enjoyed the Spark very much and found it to outperform its stated range as well, it didn’t inspire my lead foot in the same way the Fiat EV did. The 500e’s go-go nature changes the thinking about EVs. They can be green and performance-minded, too.
And the Spark EV being bigger and more practical is an argument for Ward’s 10 Best Interiors, not 10 Best Engines, as Editor Steve Finlay astutely points out.