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What is the Fiat 500?
The 500 is a small city car notable for its fashionable retro styling. It’s available either as a three-door hatchback or as a 500C cabriolet with an electric fabric foldback roof and a boot. There are four engine choices and seven trim levels, plus frequent limited editions. An automatic option is available, and there is also a sporty Abarth 500, reviewed separately. The current 500 was introduced in 2007 and has received detail improvements since, but no facelift.
What is the Fiat 500 like to drive?
The 500 is appealing to sit in as it is to look at, the pleasing effect of the body colour dashboard, ivory controls and fashionable upholstery heightened by their good quality. You sit quite high-up, as does the gearlever, this and most controls easy to use. The 500 is reasonably quiet - the distinctive warbling of the two cylinder Twinair version is unmissable, but far from unpleasant - and easy to handle around town. It’s reasonably comfortable, and an adequate motorway cruiser, particularly in more powerful from. On the open road it handles neatly enough, and rides acceptably well on the small-sized wheels. The 500C convertible creates a pleasing alfresco experience, even if the car is less fully open than conventional cabriolets. Parking sensors are provided to compensate for the roof’s bulk when it’s folded.
What engines are available?
Three petrol engines and one diesel are offered. The petrol range starts with a 1.2 four cylinder of 69hp. Above that are two turbocharged twin cylinders, the so-called Twinair engine offered with 85hp and 105hp. The 1.3 Multijet diesel produces 95hp. All versions provide a five-speed gearbox except the 105hp Twinair, which gets six-speeds. A five-speed automated manual Dualogic transmission is available with the two lower-powered petrol engines. Fuel-saving engine stop-start is standard on all models.
What are the key standard features of the Fiat 500?
The entry-level 500 Pop provides radio/CD/MP3, remote central locking, electric front windows, electric door mirrors, two-way adjustable column, height-adjustable driver’s seat, folding rear backrest, trip computer, heat-reflecting glass, 14in steel wheels with covers
- 500C only: air conditioning
- Colour Therapy (over Pop): air conditioning, pool ball-shaped gear knob, steel wheels with white covers
- Cult (over Pop): Climate control, Bluetooth, USB port, voice recognition, remote audio controls, leather wheel, leather upholstery, 7in TFT instruments, climate control, electric heated door mirrors, fixed glass sunroof, rear parking sensors, 16in alloy wheels.
- Lounge (over Pop): air conditioning, radio/CD/MP3 player, Bluetooth, USB port, voice recognition, remote audio controls, leather wheel, heated door mirrors, seat, split folding rear seat, fixed glass sunroof,
- 500C only: climate control, rear parking sensors, foglights, hillholder.
- Twinair only: climate control, hillholder
- 500S (over Pop): Climate control, Bluetooth, USB port, voice recognition, remote audio controls, leather wheel, 7in TFT instruments, sports seats and steering wheel, sports exterior styling kit, dark-tinted windows, fixed glass sunroof, rear parking sensors, 15in alloy wheels.
- 500C only: foglights, 16in alloy wheels.
What are the key options?
Bluetooth connectivity, voice recognition, USB port and remote audio control package, Tom Tom sat nav, electric door mirrors, fragrance dispenser, 7in TFT instruments, air conditioning, climate control, bi-xenon headlights, electric sunroof, rear parking sensors and split-folding rear seat backrest. There is also a vast array of colour, trim, décor and decal options.
How spacious is the Fiat 500?
The 500 provides reasonable room for adults up front, while its rear seat is fine for younger teenagers.
What will it cost to run?
CO2 emissions range from 90g/km for the 95hp Twinair with Dualogic transmission to 113g/km for the entry-level manual 1.2 petrol. The 1.3 Multijet diesel emits 97g/km of CO2, the 105hp Twinair 99g/km. Fuel consumption ranges from 76.3mpg for the 1.3 Multijet diesel to 58.9mpg for the manual 1.2 petrol. The most economical petrol engine is the 95hp Twinair Dualogic, at 72.4mpg. Benefit in kind exposure ranges from 19% for the 95hp Twinair to 23% for both the 1.2 petrol manual and the 1.3 diesel.
What safety features does it have?
Seven airbags and antilock brakes are standard. ESP anti-skid control is optional on the two lowest trim levels, standard on the rest. The 500 scored a five star EuroNCAP safety rating. There are Isofix attachment points for two child seats in the rear.
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