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Reviewing the Fiat 500 - Is it as Good as it Looks?

Reviewing the Fiat 500 - Is it as Good as it Looks?

This bubbly Italian classic is one of the most popular compact cars there is, and for good reason. With it's gorgeous retro style and small efficient build it's clear why so many people want a Fiat 500. But is it as good under the bonnet as it is on the eye? We've taken an in-depth look to find out. Here's our review of the Fiat 500:


Styling and image

Clearly style is what sells the Fiat 500 - its playful look makes this one compact car people are clamouring to drive. In recent years the Fiat 500 has become a mainstay on the roads around the South West, popular with urban drivers, commuters and as company cars. Available in a variety of colours, including a pastel range of pinks, greens and blues to complete that retro feel - this is definitely a car that demands to be seen and raises a smile. You'll find the Fiat 500 in a wide-variety of models including Lounge, Pop, Pop Star and Sport. Depending on which model you get you'll find some great trim including alloy wheels, and a panoramic roof for a stunning cinematic vista of the skies.


Side view of Fiat 500 in pastel green
Cream interior of Fiat 500
Fiat 500 rear view with boot open


Interior and practicality

The Fiat 500 was designed with Fiat's 1950's Cinquecento in mind and it's clear that vehicles from the past have had a heavy influence upon this modern machine. But it's not just pretty on the outside, the interior doesn't let this car down either. The retro feel continues inside with swathes of plastic combined with Bakelite-style switches making it feel like you have been transported back in time.

At just 3.5 metres long, the Fiat 500 can't be considered as a car for all the family. The boot is small but with a wide-access space. However with folding seats you'll find that there is a surprising amount of space if you are heading off camping or for a weekend away.  

Typical additions you will find in the 500 are Bluetooth connectivity, daytime running lights and air conditioning.


Performance and economy - is the Fiat 500 reliable?

The Fiat 500 isn't a car which will see you at the pumps every other day with an urban mpg approaching 50. With regards to differences between the convertible and hard-top versions, Fiat have produced cars which are almost identical, so you won't be punished for having the soft-top version. The Fiat 500 comes with either 0.9 Twinair engines, a 1.2 petrol engine or a 1.3 diesel engine. At Carbase, we find the petrol version to be the most popular but you'll get a great drive no matter which one you choose.


Ride and handling

The zippy steering control makes the Fiat 500 the ideal city car, being compact it can be parked either on the road side or within a busy car park. At the touch of a button you can make parking easier by activating the city driving function. On the motorway, the Fiat 500 does feel a little out of place but holds its own when it needs to do so. The 0.9 TwinAir comes with either 84bhp or 104bhp both of which give the car that extra push. Early versions of the Fiat 500 could be described as a little bouncy, but changes to the rear suspension in 2010 smoothed the car's drive out a little. Safety ratings are also high with the Fiat 500 achieving the best five-star score in the NCAP tests. Overall, it's a car which is not only great to look at, but a pleasure to drive as well.


Is the Fiat 500 the best small car?

Small cars are a great option for those who have just passed their driving test and want to keep costs to a minimum, or those drivers who simply want a comfortable vehicle that will get them from A to B.

One of the best small cars on the market, the Fiat 500 will ensure that you always take to the roads in style. With its iconic status and styling, the Fiat 500 is a popular first car, loved by both young and older drivers. Characterised by its agile handling, compact yet comfortable design and eye-catching interior, this small car is also a great option for city driving. A small turning circle and light steering will allow you to manoeuvre busy city roads with ease. This model is also available in a fantastic choice of colours and even comes in a convertible option.

As well as the Fiat 500, there are other fantastic small car models to choose from, including the highly acclaimed Ford Fiesta and reliable and stylish Renault Clio.


Fiat 500 FAQs

How much is a Fiat 500?

A brand-new Fiat 500 sells from £13,294, however, the price you will pay depends on the specification, engine size you choose, and where you buy it from. You can purchase a pre-owned RAC Approved Fiat 500 from us and rest assured that you are getting a great deal!

What safety rating is the Fiat 500?

The original Fiat 500 scored a maximum five-star safety rating in Euro NCAP crash tests in 2007. However, when it was tested in 2017, it scored a safety rating of 3 out of 5 stars, mainly due to its adult and child occupant protection.

How long is a Fiat 500?

The Fiat 500 measures 2.97 metres long and is widely considered one of the first purpose-designed city cars due to its compact yet spacious design.

How many seats does a Fiat 500 have?

The Fiat 500 has four seats. Offering lots of comfort and flexibility, the Fiat 500 also offers great interior storage with plenty of cubby holes and storage bins, as well as ample boot space.

Is there an automatic Fiat 500?

Yes. You'll be pleased to hear that you can also get an automatic Fiat 500, in any model that uses the lower-powered TwinAir engine.


Here at Carbase we have an extensive range of used Fiat 500 vehicles for sale. Prices range from £4700 (at time of review) and finance packages are available.

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