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Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 5 4.0
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PROS

  • Stylish exterior and interior
  • Easy to drive
  • Vast accessories list
  • Retro appeal

CONS

  • Noisy
  • Uncomfortable on long journeys
  • Small boot

Verdict

Since 2004 Fiat has been doing what it does best - producing small cars whose appeal is in their character and value. Following the success of the Panda and Punto, the Fiat 500 is another small car.

However, this one unashamedly appeals to the emotions and is a modern interpretation of a classic small Fiat from the past. Introduced in 2008, the 500 hatch echoes the design of the rear-engined original, although is built to modern standards and has scored well in safety tests. Easy to drive and available with a host of customisation options, the little Fiat is a stylish small car with plenty of character.

Stylish

Much of the modern Fiat 500’s appeal lies in its retro looks that hark back to the 1950s original. Fiat has carefully updated these looks to retain the essence of the original while making the car bigger on the inside to give it a modicum of practicality.

Like the MINI that also borrows so much from its heritage, the Fiat 500 has an instant appeal for many buyers and they can build on this with a vast array of options. These include everything from a set of alloy wheels to bold stripes for the bodywork, and Fiat introduced the Colour Therapy line in mid-2012 to offer some distinctly 1970s colour shades and trim variations.

Best in town

The zippy handling and compact size of the Fiat 500 make it ideal as a city car, which is what its main function is. It’s also more of a 2+2 due to the restricted amount of rear legroom in the back seats, though kids can fit in easily for the school run. A small boot further underlines the 500’s city dwelling credentials. A button on the dash lightens the steering for city driving and to make parking in tricky spots easier.

However, on the motorway, the 500 feels a little out of its natural habitat as steeper inclines can require the driver to change down a gear on the motorway. There’s also some buffeting from trucks and larger cars felt in the compact Fiat. However, the small size does make the 500 a good car for country lanes, where its narrow dimensions let it slip through gaps more readily.

Facelifted twice

The Fiat 500 had a mild facelift for 2014 with new interior fabric, a new digital display behind the steering wheel and a more powerful 0.9 litre TwinAir petrol engine joining the range.

There was also a new top trim added called Cult which brought a host of new equipment and upgrades.

New engines and equipment added in 2015

The 2015 facelift was more substantial with tweaked Euro 6 engines, different styling, and a longer list of customisations.

A 3D effect grille and LED daytime running lights which echo the “0”s in the badge were added, plus ring-shaped tail lights with body-coloured centres.

From launch there will only be petrol engines available, a 1.2-litre and a pair of TwinAir two-cylinder engines. An economy-focussed version of the 1.2-litre will follow, plus a 1.3-litre diesel.

To find out more read on for the full Fiat 500 review.

What owners say about this car

Really easy to park and has a lot of equipment on it, its also surprisingly spacious with plenty of... Read owner review

It's tiny, easy to park, but has a deceptive amount of space inside. It's very comfortable indeed,... Read owner review

It;s size and fuel economy. I see some people have had issues with MPG only being in the 30's but... Read owner review

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