Fiat 600 Hybrid driving report: Electric instead of electric

Stellantis boss Carlos Tavares has announced that he only wants to bring fully electric vehicles to market by 2038. But there’s still time until then, and demand for electric vehicles is currently only so. It’s always good to have another disc option up your sleeve. Like the Jeep Avenger, which was only announced as an all-electric car but is now available as a combustion hybrid, Fiat is now following its sibling’s lead in the US with the 600. After launching as an electric version, the B-segment crossover it is now also available with a mild hybrid drive – even in two performance levels.

As with the Jeep, the internal combustion engine used is a 1.2 liter turbo petrol engine, which produces 74 kW (100 hp) of power from a displacement of 1.2 liters. In the most powerful version, the three-cylinder produces 136 hp (100 kW). Both are always paired with a 21 kW (29 hp) starter generator. In the first case, this creates 260 Nm of torque, in the other 285 Nm, which in both models reaches the road via a newly developed 6-speed dual-clutch gearbox with manual shift controls on the steering wheel. Curiously, Fiat specifies the performance as the same 10.5 seconds for the sprint from standstill to 100 km/h and 184 km/h on top system created. The starter belt generator (RSG) starts the internal combustion engine faster and with significantly less vibration than a conventional starter. At start-up, the system seamlessly switches from electric to internal combustion engine mode. And during acceleration, the electric motor noticeably supports the gasoline engine with additional power and torque. When braking, the RSG acts as a power generator producing electricity for the additional lithium-ion battery by recuperating short distances of up to one kilometer in stop & go traffic, when maneuvering or even when sliding, where the internal combustion engine is completely . disconnected from the drivetrain, the Fiat 600 Hybrid drives purely electrically. There is no noticeable change when driving. But at the pump, electrification helps reduce fuel consumption to the standard WLTP figure of 5.5 liters and thus CO2 emissions by up to 15 percent compared to clean-burning engines with automatic transmissions. During our 70km test ride in the Rhine-Main region, the on-board computer actually showed just half a liter more Driving itself is extremely comfortable. The little 100-horsepower three-cylinder is audibly reserved in normal operation, and is heard only when you step harder on the throttle, with the electric motor providing a little extra boost. The dual-clutch automatic turns the whole thing into propulsion quickly and calmly. The chassis is decently trimmed and knows how to confidently deal with the inadequacies of local road conditions. This at least makes room for a large compartment in the central tunnel, which is protected by a simple and practical folding compartment cover. In the top-of-the-range ‘La Prima’ version, the colors are tasteful, with the dashboard and door armrests in light grey, giving the otherwise monochromatic black interior a smart touch. The Fiat lettering extensively embroidered on the seats is also really impressive. People up to 1.85 meters tall should not complain about the legroom and headroom in the rear seats. Boot volume increases compared to the electric Fiat 600 by 25 to 385 litres, with the rear seat backs folded down to 1256 litres. Prices for the Fiat 600 drop significantly with the hybrid model. While the electric version starts at €36,490, the base model of the 600 Hybrid is available from €24,990 and the most powerful version costs €1,500 more. Standard equipment already includes the digital cockpit and the 10.25-inch infotainment system that includes smartphone integration, air conditioning, heated seats, LED headlights and several assistance systems. However, 17-inch alloy wheels and ambient lighting are only available with the Style package (1,600 euros), a reversing camera, automatic climate control and keyless operation with the Comfort package (1,600 euros). Top equipment “La Prima” (from 29,990 euros) comes with everything from the factory, including 18-inch alloy wheels, massage function for the driver’s seat, imitation leather covers with “Fiat” monograms, navigation system, wireless pad charging, electric tailgate and more driver assistance in the form of blind spot monitoring and adaptive cruise control with traffic jam function. Most of these features are also part of a special model with which the Italians are celebrating the brand’s 125th anniversary this year. The Fiat 600 Hybrid 125 Years Edition is offered as a leasing vehicle with no down payment for just 125 euros per month, but only with an annual mileage of 5,000 kilometers. (aum)Data Fiat 600 HybridLength x width x height (m): 4.18 x 1.78 x 1.53 wheelbase (m): 2.56 Drive: R3 petrol engine, 1199 cc, (21 kW E-RSG) FWD, 6-speed dual-clutch gearbox output: 100 HP / 74 kW Max. Torque: 260 Nm at 1750 rpm Top speed: 184 km/h Acceleration 0 to 100 km/h: 10.5 seconds WLTP average consumption: 5.5 liters CO2 emissions: 125 g/km Response weight / payload load: min liter Max. Trailer load: 1100 kg Base price: 24,990 euros Test car price: 29,990 euros

By Frank Wald

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