The two new models join the existing mild hybrid versions of the Panda and (old) 500 city cars in the Fiat line-up. However, only the all-new Fiat 500e (which is completely unrelated to the old 500) is available as a fully electric model.
The new mild hybrids combine the existing four-cylinder 1.5-litre 130hp petrol engine with a 15kW electric motor (equivalent to 20hp). A new seven-speed automatic transmission is standard on both models.
The setup is slightly more useful than a regular mild hybrid installation as it can provide a limited amount of power to the vehicle using just the electric motor, which most mild hybrids can’t do. However, this is limited to start-up, creeping in stop-start traffic and some parking manoeuvres. When you actually want to drive at more than a few mph, the petrol engine will immediately kick in.
Most of the time, the electric motor works like any other mild hybrid to support the petrol engine. It provides additional performance to minimise turbo lag, and it can also warm up the catalytic converter in cold weather to reduce pollution on short journeys. Overall, official CO2 emissions are improved by up to 11%.
In addition to the mild hybrid engines, the 500X will continue to be available with a 1.0-litre 120hp petrol engine, and the Tipo with a 1.0-litre 100hp petrol unit.
As with the 500 and Panda, the mild hybrid models will be distinguished by a Hyrbid logo on the tailgate depicting two leaves with blue dew drops. They will be specified in similar fashion to their petrol equivalents, with both models available in three trim levels and the 500X with both hard and soft-top options.
Optional on both models will be Fiat’s driver assistance package – among its features are autonomous emergency braking, a driver drowsiness alert, traffic sign recognition, lane control, blind-spot warning and auto high-beam headlamps.
Fiat dealers start taking orders for the new versions this month, the 500X Hybrid priced from £27,585 and the Tipo Hybrid from £27,595. First deliveries are expected in the spring.