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Fiat 500

Aggregated reviews, user reviews, videos, photos and stats

8.0 10 wowscore
36
 
 
Fiat 500
  • Stylish
  • Good value
  • Very customisable
  • Isn’t great to drive
  • Some noisy engines
  • Ride quality isn’t perfect
Inspired by the iconic Italian city car from the 1950s, the new Fiat 500 has been met with a very positive reception.

It gets mostly favourable reviews from the critics, who all seem to admire its retro looks, its cheeky character and the surprisingly adequate practicality for such a small car. There are a few flaws, but overall it’s still a very impressive little car.

Interior

Much like the exterior, the design of the 500’s cabin harks back to the roots of its ancestor, with plenty of nostalgic references in the layout of the controls and gauges. Build quality is also quite good, though there were some complaints about some cheap materials. Despite being quite a short car, there’s a decent amount of space inside by supermini standards, though there isn’t a huge amount of knee and head room for rear passengers.

Driving

Being a supermini, it’s a pretty useful bit of kit in town. Visibility is decent, and all the controls are light and easy to use – there’s even a mode that lightens up the steering to aid with parking manoeuvres. It’s also quite a fun car to drive, especially on flowing roads. However, it’s not quite as sharp or as composed as its main rival, the Mini, as the ride is a bit too jiggly and there isn’t a huge amount of feedback through the wheel. Some testers report a fair amount of road noise at higher speeds as well.

Engines

There’s a small array of engines on offer, and all are well suited to city life, especially the nippy little petrols. All the motors offer decent amounts of power for a car of this size, and all return good fuel economy figures, especially the diesel and TwinAir models. However, there have been a few complaints regarding intrusive engine noise on some of the petrol models, especially at motorway speeds.

Value for money

In quite a few ways, the 500 can be seen as good value. It’s not the cheapest supermini on the market, but it’s still an affordable car to buy, and does undercut its premium rivals by a noticeable margin. Running costs are quite low, and even the most basic models have a decent amount of kit as standard. Also, given its popularity, residual values are expected to be fairly strong.

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Worth knowing

Much like the Mini and Citroen DS3, the Fiat 500 has a wide range of personalisation options, ranging from shiny trim pieces to decals for the side skirts and roof. According to Fiat, there are 550,000 or so different possible combinations, so there are plenty of ways for you to customise the 500 to your liking!

Conclusion

Overall, the Fiat 500 is a very capable and incredibly stylish little car. It’s not quite as dynamically sharp or practical as some of its rivals, but the Fiat does have its merits – it’s fairly cheap to buy for a premium supermini, offers decent space and practicality and is oozing in character and charm – it’s almost impossible to get the same ‘feel good factor’ in a car for less money.

If you’re in the market for a stylish city runabout, the Fiat 500 is a car that we can easily recommend.

Read Fiat 500 reviews >>

Key Details

Price range:
£10,160 - £16,810
MPG:
58 - 76
Date released:
2008
Replacement due:
Not for a couple of years
Engine to go for:
The 1.2 Petrol is a nice little engine if you just drive in the city. The new 0.9 TwinAir is fuel-efficient but it is noisy.
Engine to avoid:
The 1.4 seems to get the worst reviews, though it's still not a bad engine
Options to go for:
There are too many options to list the best, there are hundreds to choose from!
Options to avoid:
The Dualogic gearbox doesn't get fantastic reports
Other variants:
There’s also a convertible, the 500C. Or there’s a really fast version, the 500 Abarth. Need a bit more room, there's the larger Fiat 500L too!
Engine naming:
MultiJet engines are diesel, the rest are petrol!
Read Fiat 500 reviews >>
Type Reviews Score
0.9 TwinAir 16 7.7
1.2 7 8.2
1.3 MultiJet 4 8.3
1.4 7 8.6
General 5 7.6
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Fiat 500 User Reviews

1.2 Sport (2010) 47.0 mpg
9 10 wowscore

I have owned this car for almost a year now and am still absolutely in love with it. It looks great, performs extremely well as a city car and has been very reliable so far. It's cheap to run, comfortable and the Blue & Me handsfree was hassle free to set up and use. The only thing I would point out is that the boot is actually pretty small! 

  • By Harriet S, who owns this car
1.2 Lounge (2011) 45.0 mpg
5 10 wowscore

Warning: this car has not been designed with below average height persons in mind! I'm 5 foot 2 and it was an absolute mission to put the seatbelt on once I'd shifted the seat forward so that I could actually reach the pedals. It's a real shame as I love the styling on this car and the interior is great.

  • By Yvonne, who test drove this car
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