No, the all-new Topolino looks nothing like the original 1936 “Little Mouse” you can see above, but before we get to the new car, let’s just for a moment focus on what’s happening here. Stellantis – who owns Fiat and Citroen among many other brands – seems to be in love with recycling. Not only it revives old names, but it also shares the same cars among its many brands, merely slapping new badges on them and hoping for them to stick – is it a dangerous or clever game?
The original Woody – Fiat Topolino Belvedere
The original Topolino was a marvel of technology when it came out in 1936, it stayed in production for nearly 20 years and sold over half a million units in that time, despite being twice as expensive as initially promised. It was the very first car with an aerodynamically-friendly slanted grille thanks to the radiator sitting behind the engine.
Designed for only two people, it would happily carry 5 around – because back in those days there were hardly any rules. It was the smallest car in the world at the time, just a smidgen larger than the cyclecars of yesteryear – so, it was an upgrade. With a 13 hp engine and 53 mph top speed, it felt like a proper car.
So, with a slight disappointment, we opened an email from Stellantis to see the announcement of the new (Citroen Ami? Opel Rocks-e?) Fiat Topolino. Stellantis is not even trying hard to hide the similarities – sure, the front is a little bit cuter than on the other cars. With the body in pastel colors, it looks warm and fuzzy, like a pair of hotel slippers. And then there’s the door situation – rope? Really Stellantis – a rope?
Actually, the rope could be the fun part of the new Topolino, it has so many more uses than just holding the passengers inside. It can be used as a defense weapon against raging Karens, it can be used to tow the Topolino behind a bicycle when it runs out of juice, or it can be used to tie the Little Mouse to a lamppost on a windy day to make sure it doesn’t float away. So many uses – can you, just for a moment, imagine pulling up at the posh hotel in this thing, and the concierge undoing the rope for you? A 5-star experience, all we need is a red carpet.
Citroen Ami tries to look brave – ends up looking even cuter than an angry pup
Seriously though, reusing the Topolino name and slapping it onto a Citroen Ami – Stellantis should have released the Fiat first, then it would have made a lot more sense. It is a downgrade from the original because the new one isn’t even a car – it is a quadricycle. The advantage is that in many European countries, you won’t need a driving license to get behind the wheel of this cutie. The disadvantage is its range, performance, and price.
On the one hand, we could say that any new electric car costing less than $11,000 is a bargain. But with half the power of the original Topolino, half its top speed, and with 31 miles of range with the wind blowing from behind – is it really a bargain? Fiat claims the Topolino is the answer to inner-city transport issues. Citroen Ami is very popular, in fact it surprised the company with its popularity, and yet – the reviews aren’t all that rosy.
Opel’s take on the city transport is a result of way too much coffee
The range in real life is nowhere near the claimed number, and the little rascal can only charge from a domestic socket. That takes about 3 hours – how do you charge an EV if you live in a city, in an apartment block with no garage? If we all were to swap for the Topolino – can you imagine the jungle of cables hanging out of every window? And yet, despite all that – we can’t help but smile at the new tiny Fiat. It’ll fit perfectly in Saint Tropez, Paris, or Rome, not so much in Berlin or Stockholm – will Hollywood be brave enough to embrace it?