Three years after the Citroën Ami, it’s Fiat’s turn to lift the veil on its version of the city car without a license. This is how the Topolino was born, which we had the chance to discover during its world premiere in a mythical place: the Lingotto, the Italian brand’s former factory located in Turin.
If electric cars are still more expensive than their thermal equivalents, manufacturers are however working to design more affordable alternatives. It is in this context that the Citroën Ami was born three years ago, an electric city car displayed at only 6,000 euros at launch. Since then, its price has risen slightly, but it is still one of the most affordable zero-emission (exhaust) cars on the market today. And success is at the rendezvous, while more than 30,000 copies have already been sold since its arrival on the market.
Which seems to have given ideas to other manufacturers in the Stellantis group. First Opel, which unveiled its Rocks-e a little later, then Fiat. A few weeks ago, the Italian firm indeed published the first images of its electric quadricycle, which takes the name of Fiat Topolino. The latter was not chosen at random, since it pays homage to the eponymous car launched in the 1930s and means ” little mouse ” in Italian.
To say that this newcomer is doing well would therefore be a mild understatement. But is it content to be a simple re-bodied Citroën Ami? To find out, we were lucky enough to be able to board it on the trail of the mythical Lingottoformer historic factory of the Italian brand.
Not just a new logo
Some gossips will say that this new Fiat Topolino is onlya simple rebadged Citroën Ami. Admittedly, the two city cars share the same technical basis, as we will see a little later. But they still have many differences, which can be seen with the naked eye. And it would take real bad faith not to admit it.
And for good reason, the teams in charge of Fiat design have done a lot of work on the design of the small electric car, which offers a whole new face. The latter seems to be inspired more by the first generation of the Fiat 500 than by the original Topolino, but the main thing is that it is successful.
We find two small round optics, which overlook two other smaller lights. The shield has also been reworked by the designers so that it looks nothing like that of the Friend. In profile, the silhouette is obviously identical between the two cars, with doors that open in the opposite direction. It can be very confusing, but that’s not a mistake, it was done to reduce the number of parts, to save money. But if the rear part of the Ami is strictly identical to the front, this is not the case on the Topolino.
This one indeed benefits from different lights, and can be equipped with a small luggage rack allowing to install a cabin suitcase for example. We also note the presence of specific rims, which give it a very attractive retro look, and which help to make the car even more adorable.
It is possible to choose from two versions, one with a hard roof and doors and another convertible whose openings are replaced by ropes. Our preference will go to the latter, which looks more than ever like an adorable beach car. Unsurprisingly, the dimensions of this Fiat Topolino are strictly identical to those of the Citroën Ami, with a length of 2.535 meters for 1.40 meters wide and 1.53 meters high. Finally, only one shade is available in the catalog, namely the Verde Vita, which suits it rather well in our opinion.
A very bare but clever driving position
After taking a quick tour of the owner of the exterior of this Fiat Topolino, it’s now time to go see what’s going on inside. Of course, you won’t be surprised to learn that the manufacturer has kept all the attributes of the Citroën Ami, again in order to maintain the philosophy of the car, while saving money. Result, and if you have never had the opportunity to board the city car with chevrons, you will see that comfort is not the strong point of this newcomer.
Seats are hard plastic, but there is no need either to provide a small cushion which you want to preserve your buttocks and your back, since the Italian firm has equipped the seat with a small cushion as well as light padding on the backrest. This is certainly not what Fiat has accustomed us to with its 500th, among others, but we welcome the effort. Especially since this car remains above all a pure city car, only intended for very short journeys.
It will also be noted that the passenger seat is fixed, which leaves plenty of room for the legs. A real asset in this small car.
It also hides a little secret. It is indeed possible toinstall a cabin suitcase in front of the passenger, thanks to a dedicated compartment. What offer a semblance of versatility to the electric city car, which offers no less than 53 liters of storage in its driving position. We particularly like the Dolcevita Box, a wide strip of striped fabric that allows you to store various objects, while a location is provided to install a portable speaker. If the interior remains very bare, it is a little more exotic than that of the Ami and smells of Italy and holidays by the sea.
The Topolino will also be particularly at ease on the coast, since its interior is entirely made of hard plastic. If it is not very flattering to the eye or to the touch, it is however very practical in case of excursions to the beach. Cleaning is indeed easy, especially since the mats are also made of plastic.
Finally, the Italian city car has a little something extra compared to the Ami: a built-in showerwhose tank size has not yet been revealed by the manufacturer.
Infotainment: the bare minimum
Today, it is difficult to find a car without a touch screen, while this equipment has become the norm over the years. Yes, but now, this accessory is still expensive and drives up the price of vehicles equipped with it. This is why Citroën had chosen not to equip its Ami with it. And quite logically, Fiat followed the strategy of the firm with the rafters, in order again to offer the cheapest car possible and not increase development costs.
You will therefore not find the slightest screen in this car, and you will have to use your smartphone to take advantage of navigation via Waze and Google maps, which are currently in the process of merging. A phone holder is provided for this purpose.
To listen to your music, no speakers, but it is possible to buy a speaker among the many official accessories offered by the manufacturer. This reminds us of the Citroën Oli concept, which also offers supports to install one according to the driver’s wishes. And to tell the truth, it’s very good like that, since it makes this driving position even more intuitive.
However, the electric city car is equipped with a small digital handset, which almost clashes in this very sober driving position and without the slightest trace of technology. Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to test the latter yet, but it should be identical to that of the Ami, displaying the charge level as well as speed.
Note that the car is equipped with a USB-C socket located near the gearbox buttons in order to charge your phone during daily journeys. The set is practical and well thought out, and we do not expect much more from a car with this low-cost positioning.
Motorization, autonomy and recharging
You obviously won’t be surprised to learn that this new Fiat Topolino uses the technical basis of the Citroën Ami. It is powered by a small electric motor of only 8 horsepower for an equally ridiculous torque of 44 Nm. Characteristics that place it in the category of light quadricyles and that allow it to be driven from the age of 14, without a driving licence. Its maximum speed is limited to 45 km/h. and it achieves 0 to 50 km / h in about ten seconds. Is a more powerful version planned? Nothing is to be excluded, while this possibility would be studied by Citroën.
With its small 5.4 kWh lithium-ion battery, this newcomer to the Fiat range obviously has a fairly low range, displayed at 75 kilometers according to the WMTC cycle.
Recharging is only done with alternating current and requires a little less than four hours on a 230 volt household outlet, at a power of 2.3 kW. Like its French cousin, it is not compatible with direct current charging on faster terminals.
Price and availability
For now, Fiat has not yet announced an exact date for the launch of its new Topolino in dealerships, but it should arrive by the end of the year. It will be possible to buy it in the brand’s showrooms, of course, but also online, via an ultra-simplified process in just a few clicks. If the prices are not yet known with precision, the Italian firm specifies that the electric city car will be located below the 10,000 euro mark.
There is no doubt that the price will be slightly above the 7,790 euros for the Citroën Ami. But one thing is certain, the small light quadricycle will be eligible for the ecological bonus of 900 euros. This newcomer will compete head-on with the Ami of course, but also with the new Ligier Myli, which we tested recently, as well as the Microlino Lite, among others. Several accessories will be offered as options, including a travel bag, an insulated water bottle or a USB fan.