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Best in Class: B-segment SUVs

Date: 17 November 2023   |   Author: Martyn Collins

Can the new Fiat 600e impress on a whole-life cost basis?

Fiat 600e

The continued success of the modern Fiat 500, or more recently the 500e is not a surprise - in fact it's Stellantis' best-selling EV. However, what do you do if you need more space and doors? Well, the same success can't necessarily be levelled at its derivatives, the 500L and 500X - which have largely been forgotten. Although, the 500X will carry on alongside this new 600e. 

Thankfully there's a new 500e derivative, and Fiat's designers have been very clever this time round - almost scaling-up the 500e's hatchback shape. At the front, there's the same smiley, round-eyed expression as the smaller car. The sides showing the same smooth detailing - but adding an extra set of doors. The back is probably the biggest change, with the same falling roofline and hatch as the baby EV. In our opinion, the 600e's upright shape is far better proportioned than any other 500 derivative, but with items such as extra 600e logos on the edge of the headlights looking like eyeliner, we wonder if the overall design is a bit too soft.

Inside, thanks to this Fiat's upright shape, the 600e feels spacious. It shares its e-CMP platform with other Stellantis brands, but the 600e is probably closest to sister car the Jeep Avenger (also in this group), as they're built in the same plant in Tichy, Poland. As such, apart from the Ivory-coloured top half of the dash of the La Prima version we're covering here, which is very 500e, the rest is very Jeep. 

Fiat announced petrol hybrid versions at the launch, but for now there's just the EV version that we're looking at here available. The single front-mounted motor produces 156hp and 260 Nm of torque. Performance is adequate rather than fast, and dependent on mode. 'Normal' is where this Fiat feels happiest, and it doesn't feel slow unless you're forced to do emergency overtaking - where you wish there was more power. 'Sport' works best out of town - making the accelerator noticeably more responsive. Although the brakes need more feel and are a bit snatchy at low speeds. 

Choose any one of this set and because they're all EVs, you'll be benefitting from the lowest BIK figure, at 2%. 

We've said it before, but 200 miles of EV range is more than enough for everyday use, so you'll be pleased to know that all of these do that, and at least 50 miles more. Although, the Fiat at 252 miles, is only good enough for third place in this group, with the Hyundai coming top.

The Fiat might be cheapest, but all the EVs in this set are closely priced. However, its 37% residual figure is the lowest here, some way behind the Jeep and Hyundai in joint second place, with the Kia at the top. 

The Fiat is the cheapest of this set, with its P11D figure of £36,940, but this affordability has we think played a part in the depreciation, with its £22,689 figure, the 600e finds itself taking last place behind the Hyundai, Jeep, and the winning Kia. The only other area where the Fiat comes top of the pile in this comparison, is National Insurance, which at £102 is a whole pound cheaper than the joint-winning Jeep and Kia. The estimated 46.96p cost per mile figure, is because Fiat hadn't released an SMR figure for the 600e in time for press, putting it in last place. Apart from the depreciation, the Fiat wasn't that far away from the other cars here.

Fiat 600e La Prima 54kWh  

P11D: £36,940

CO2 (tax): 0g/km (2%) 

BIK 20/40% a month: £12/£24

Range: 252 miles

National Insurance: £102

First year VED: £0

Subsequent VED: £0

Battery size/power: 54kWh/156hp

AFR: 10p

Residual value: 37%

Depreciation: £22,739

Fuel costs: £3,516

SMR: £1,925*

Cost per mile: 46.96p*

*Estimated at the time of going to press

Jeep Avenger Summit _Lake Blue Exterior -64 Copy

Jeep Avenger

Jeep is back and its first EV has already walked away with major awards, including the prestigious Car of The Year 2023 title. Outside, the floating roof, chunky trapezoidal wheel arches, seven-slot sealed grille, and tall styling shout off-roader, but the Avenger still looks neat and attractive.

Designed and built in Europe, the Avenger's raised ride height, short front and rear overhangs, underbody protection, plus sand, mud, and snow modes, even Hill Descent Control, are something different and equal what must be the most capable B-segment SUV around. The Avenger feels spacious inside, especially in the front, stowage is impressive with a total of 34 litres around the interior, but taller rear passengers will be wishing for more space. Still, there's a 380-litre boot.

Whilst the Avenger shares much underneath with the 600e, the Jeep's off-road style is more attractive to buyers. As such, the Avenger finishes in second place,  behind the Kia Niro, its figures in key areas such as depreciation and residual value, being closer to it and the Hyundai than to the Fiat.  

Jeep Avenger Altitude 54kWh 

P11D: £37,435

CO2 (tax): 0g/km (2%)

BIK 20/40% a month: £12/£24

Range: 249 miles

National Insurance: £103

First year VED: £0

Subsequent VED: £0

Battery size/power: 54kWh/156hp

AFR: 10p

Residual value: 47%

Depreciation: £19,395

Fuel costs: £3,566

SMR: £1,925

Cost per mile: 41.47p

Large -22369-Kia Niro EV64.8k Wh 4 Copy

Kia Niro 

The latest Niro is longer, wider, and taller, but the basic crossover hatchback shape remains unchanged from the original. That's where the similarities with the rather tamely styled, original come to an end. 

Inside, the feel is modern, spacious, and obviously influenced by Kia's larger EV6. There's plenty of space throughout, and a big 475-litre boot, so this Kia is practical too.

On the road the Niro offers a tidy drive with a comfortable ride. To sum up, it has its own sense of style and looks interesting when compared to its rivals. 

The Niro has the highest residual value at £19,625 and is the lowest depreciator holding 51% of its original value. Had sister car the Kona been cheaper and depreciated less, it might have had a stronger showing here. As it is, the Niro in 2 spec finishes in a solid first place and again justifies its recent 'Highly Commended' title at this year's Business Car Awards. 

Kia Niro 2 65kWh  

P11D: £37,240

CO2 (tax): 0g/km (2%)

BIK 20/40% a month: £12/£25

Range: 285 miles

National Insurance: £103

First year VED: £0

Subsequent VED: £0

Battery size/power: 65kWh/201hp

AFR: 10p

Residual value: 51%

Depreciation: £17,920

Fuel costs: £3,731

SMR: £1,869

Cost per mile: 39.29p

Hyundai -kona -electric -uk -1023-16 Copy

Hyundai Kona

The second-generation Hyundai Kona takes its lead to a certain extent from the first, in that it's available with a choice of petrol, hybrid and the electric powertrain that we're focussing on here. This Kona has grown significantly too, being 145mm longer, 25mm wider and 20mm taller. As a result of this, the Hyundai is almost knocking on the door of medium SUVs. 

It seems the EV focus of the new Kona has encouraged the futuristic look, with its dramatic angles and slashes. Inside, the extra space results in a sense of roominess. The Kona Electric is available in two versions - as standard range with 156hp and the long-range version that we're looking at with 218hp and a 65.4kWh battery.  

Previous EV versions of the Kona were popular and well-regarded by buyers, so it's a surprise that the Hyundai is the second-highest depreciator at £20,215 and has a lower 46% residual figure than the Jeep Avenger. However, the Kona goes significantly further than any of the other cars in this set, at 319 miles.

Overall, the Hyundai does well enough in the right areas to achieve the third-best cost per mile figure of 42.35p. 

Hyundai Kona Advance 65kWh  

P11D: £38,540

CO2 (tax): 0g/km (2%)

BIK 20/40% a month: £13/£25

Range: 319 miles

National Insurance: £106

First year VED: £0

Subsequent VED: £0

Battery size/power: 65kWh/218hp 

AFR: 10p

Residual value: 46%

Depreciation: £20,215

Fuel costs: £3,864

SMR: £1,834

Cost per mile: 42.35p