The Fiat 500 is very much a city vehicle and a car that will suit the followers of fashion, says our motoring journalist, Tim Barnes-Clay.
If you’re into retro looks, then you’ll love the diminutive Fiat 500. Not only does it look good enough to eat, it’s as easy as pie to park. The car is available in more colour combinations that you can shake a stick at, and that makes it a fun motor to tootle around in. Kit and fitments, such as electric windows, LED running lights, remote central locking and USB connectivity are pretty cool, too.
One of the best engines is the 1.2 petrol. I borrowed this one, in top of the range Lounge spec, from Fiat’s press department for a few days – and I was impressed – and not just because I’m six-foot tall. Yes, the fact I could fit myself into the Italian car was a surprise. The Fiat 500 is actually pretty spacious in the front – making it a comfy commuting machine as well as a city slicker. Sure, the rear seats are only useful if you’re vertically-challenged – or if you’re a kid – but at least they’re there.
The 1.2 petrol engine is capable on motorways, having enough pull to leave slip roads and keep up with the 70mph traffic. It’s by no means a rocket, though, with zero to 62mph arriving in 12.9 seconds. Top speed is 99mph. But there’s no getting away from the fact that this version of the Fiat 500 is happier in town. It’s even happier if you use its ‘City Steering’ system that, with the press of a button, makes the steering really light – handy for parking manoeuvres or for weaving in and out of jams.
The Fiat 500 model I drove was updated in 2015 – but it was mostly minor cosmetic work around the rear tail-lights. An all new version is due in 2017, which we’re excited about because it may address minor issues, such as those weeny rear seats. The boot isn’t much cop either. It’s fine for a work bag or a small carry-on suitcase if you’re going on holiday – but that’s about the size of it.
None of this has mattered to the 1.5million people who have bought the Fiat 500, though. And why should it? You’re never going to buy this car for its practicality!
All Fiat 500s come kitted-out with numerous airbags and electronic safety aids, so, as well as looking and feeling funky, you’ll be well-protected in this small car. The Fiat won’t cost a fortune to run, either. The 1.2 69PS Lounge model returns an official combined average fuel consumption figure of 60.1mpg, and emissions are 110 g/km.
Why not come and check out the Fiat 500 for yourself at one of our dealerships!
Pros ‘n’ Cons
- Fashionable √
- Kit √
- Frugal √
- Small rear seats and boot X
- Max speed: 99 mph
- 0-62 mph: 12.9 secs
- Combined mpg: 60.1
- Engine layout: 1242cc 4-cylinder, petrol
- Max. power (PS): 69
- CO2: 110 g/km
- Price: £12,800