2020 Nissan Leaf vs. 2019 Fiat 500e

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/02/29

To maximize occupant safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Nissan Leaf have pretensioners to eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Fiat 500e doesn’t offer pretensioners.

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Nissan Leaf are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The Fiat 500e doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.

In the past twenty years hundreds of infants and young children have died after being left in vehicles, usually by accident. When turning the vehicle off, drivers of the Leaf are reminded to check the back seat if they opened the rear door before starting out. The 500e doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.

The Leaf has standard Automatic Emergency Braking, which use forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The 500e doesn't offer collision warning or crash mitigation brakes.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Leaf has standard Rear Automatic Braking that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The 500e doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

The Leaf’s lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane and gently nudges the vehicle back towards its lane. The 500e doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

The Leaf (except S) offers an optional Around View® Monitor to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The 500e only offers a rear monitor and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the front or sides.

To help make backing safer, the Leaf’s cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The 500e doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

The Leaf (except S)’s optional driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The 500e doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Leaf and the 500e have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front wheel drive, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, rearview cameras and available daytime running lights.

The Nissan Leaf weighs 558 to 966 pounds more than the Fiat 500e. The NHTSA advises that heavier cars are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts. Crosswinds also affect lighter cars more.

Warranty

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/02/29

There are almost 3 times as many Nissan dealers as there are Fiat dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Leaf’s warranty.

Reliability

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J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Nissan vehicles are more reliable than Fiat vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Nissan 15th in reliability. With 112 more problems per 100 vehicles, Fiat is ranked 31st.

Engine

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/02/29

The Leaf’s standard electric motor produces 36 more horsepower (147 vs. 111) and 89 lbs.-ft. more torque (236 vs. 147) than the 500e’s electric motor. The Leaf PLUS’ standard electric motor produces 103 more horsepower (214 vs. 111) and 103 lbs.-ft. more torque (250 vs. 147) than the 500e’s electric motor.

As tested in Car and Driver the Nissan Leaf (base engine) is faster than the Fiat 500e:

Leaf

500e

Zero to 30 MPH

2.7 sec

2.8 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

7.4 sec

8.7 sec

Zero to 80 MPH

12.9 sec

16.8 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

7.3 sec

8.7 sec

Passing 30 to 50 MPH

2.8 sec

3.5 sec

Passing 50 to 70 MPH

4.5 sec

6.2 sec

Quarter Mile

15.8 sec

16.8 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

88 MPH

80 MPH

Top Speed

92 MPH

86 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/02/29

The Leaf’s maximum EPA estimated driving range is 149 to 226 (Leaf PLUS) miles on a full charge, up to over two and a half times as far as the 500e’s 84-mile range.

Brakes and Stopping

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The Leaf’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the 500e are solid, not vented.

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the Leaf has larger standard tires than the 500e (205/55R16 vs. 185/55R15). The Leaf SV/SL’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the 500e (215/50R17 vs. 185/55R15).

The Leaf SV/SL’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 50 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the 500e’s 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Leaf S has standard 16-inch wheels. Only 15-inch wheels are available on the 500e. The Leaf SV/SL has standard 17-inch wheels.

The Nissan Leaf’s wheels have 5 lugs for longer wheel bearing life, less chance of rotor warping and greater strength. The Fiat 500e only has 4 wheel lugs per wheel.

The Leaf has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The 500e doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling

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The Leaf has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the Leaf flat and controlled during cornering. The 500e’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Leaf’s wheelbase is 15.7 inches longer than on the 500e (106.3 inches vs. 90.6 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Leaf is 5 inches wider in the front and 6 inches wider in the rear than the track on the 500e.

The Leaf SV handles at .79 G’s, while the 500e pulls only .77 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

Chassis

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/02/29

The design of the Nissan Leaf amounts to more than styling. The Leaf has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .28 Cd. That is significantly lower than the 500e (.311) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the Leaf get better fuel mileage.

Passenger Space

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Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the Leaf a Mid-size car, while the 500e is rated a Minicompact.

The Leaf has standard seating for 5 passengers; the 500e can only carry 4.

The Leaf has 20.8 cubic feet more passenger volume than the 500e (92.4 vs. 71.6).

The Leaf has 2.3 inches more front headroom, 1.4 inches more front legroom, 3.9 inches more front hip room, 4.9 inches more front shoulder room, 1.8 inches more rear headroom, 5.9 inches more rear legroom, 7.4 inches more rear hip room and 6.1 inches more rear shoulder room than the 500e.

Cargo Capacity

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/02/29

The Leaf has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the 500e (23.6 vs. 7 cubic feet).

Ergonomics

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/02/29

The Leaf SV/SL has a standard remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The 500e doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

The Leaf’s standard power windows have a locking feature to keep children from operating them. Fiat does not offer a locking feature on the 500e’s standard power windows.

The Leaf’s driver’s power window opens or closes with one touch of the window control, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and tollbooths. The 500e’s power windows’ switch has to be held the entire time to close it fully.

The Leaf’s standard power window controls are mounted on the armrest for easy access. The 500e’s available power window controls are spread out on the center console where they can’t be seen without the driver completely removing his eyes from the road.

The Intelligent Key standard on the Leaf allows you to unlock the driver’s door, trunk and start the engine all without removing a key from pocket or purse. This eliminates searching for keys before loading groceries, getting in the vehicle in bad weather or making a hurried start to your trip. The Fiat 500e doesn’t offer an advanced key system.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Leaf has a standard rear fixed intermittent wiper with a full on position. The rear wiper standard on the 500e only has an intermittent setting, so in a hard rain visibility isn’t as good.

The Leaf has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. The 500e doesn’t offer automatic headlights.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the Leaf detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The 500e doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the Leaf has standard extendable sun visors. The 500e doesn’t offer extendable visors.

Both the Leaf and the 500e offer available heated front seats. The Leaf SL also has standard heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the 500e.

On extremely cold winter days, the Leaf’s optional (except S) heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The 500e doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

For greater rear passenger comfort, the Leaf offers optional rear heat vents to keep rear occupants more comfortable. The 500e doesn’t offer rear vents.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the Leaf SV/SL has a standard Intelligent Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The 500e doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/02/29

The Nissan Leaf outsold the Fiat 500 by almost four to one during 2019.

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