Fiat 500 Review & Prices

Few small cars can match the Fiat 500’s charm and desirability, however there are alternatives which are more comfortable and practical

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RRP £16,515 - £18,300 Avg. Carwow saving £2,156 off RRP
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Reviewed by Jamie Edkins after extensive testing of the vehicle.

What's good

  • Funky styling
  • Easy to drive in town
  • Loads of personalisation options

What's not so good

  • Tiny back seats
  • Dated infotainment system
  • Alternatives are more comfortable

Find out more about the Fiat 500

Is the Fiat 500 a good car?

The Fiat 500 is perfectly suited to short urban commutes or popping into town. In the same way you wouldn’t wear a miniskirt and heels for climbing Mount Snowdon, and you wouldn’t wear tweeds and brogues to the beach, you wouldn’t buy a 500 for long cross-country schleps.

The compact city car is something of a dying breed, but if you’re shopping for a Fiat 500 then you could also consider the Toyota Aygo X, Kia Picanto or the Renault Clio. The little Fiat has all these cars beaten on the style front though, offering a unique splash of retro chic.

Things get even funkier inside, where the body-coloured dashboard and optional white steering wheel help lift the ambience nicely. The seats themselves aren’t the comfiest, but there’s plenty of adjustment to help you get a good view out and all the controls are grouped sensibly together so they’re a doddle to use.

That said, the Fiat 500’s 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system takes a bit of getting used to thanks to the fiddly menus, but you can always use the standard-fit Apple CarPlay or Android Auto instead.

Sadly, there isn’t much you can do about the Fiat 500’s cramped seats. Two adults in the front will be fine, but anyone close to six-feet tall will struggle for knee- and headroom in the back, and there isn’t a great deal of space in the Fiat 500’s boot for everyone’s luggage.

The Fiat 500 is one of the most fun small cars around – not just for how it looks but also for the sheer number of characterful options you can choose from to make it your own

You probably won’t be packing the Fiat 500 with loads of bulky baggage though, will you? More likely you’ll be doing the school run, heading to work or popping to the shops. In these respects, it does a great job. Kids will have no trouble jumping into the back and the Fiat 500’s small size makes it just the thing for nipping through traffic and squeezing into tight parking spaces.

Its 1.0-litre mild hybrid petrol engine is best suited to town driving as well, and it’s pretty economical. The great all-round visibility and light steering also help to make light work of tight car parks.

Sure, it isn’t the most comfortable small car out there and it’s a bit noisy at speed, but it’ll tackle a twisty country road without much body lean and all models come with cruise control to help make the occasional motorway journey a bit more bearable. It’s just a shame that you can’t get the Fiat 500 with automatic emergency braking.

However, you shouldn’t let this put you off if you’re looking for a seriously stylish city car that’s cheap to run, easy to drive and comes with plenty of personalisation options.

See how much you can save on your next new car by heading over to our Fiat 500 deals page or browse the latest used Fiat 500s from our network of trusted dealers. You can also take a look at other used Fiats, and find out how you can sell your current car through Carwow, too.

How much is the Fiat 500?

The Fiat 500 has a RRP range of £16,515 to £18,300. However, with Carwow you can save on average £2,156. Prices start at £15,091 if paying cash. Monthly payments start at £174. The price of a used Fiat 500 on Carwow starts at £4,995.

Our most popular versions of the Fiat 500 are:

Model version Carwow price from
1.0 Mild Hybrid Top 3dr £15,091 Compare offers

The Fiat 500 is dearer than a lot of its alternatives, but not by a huge amount. The Hyundai i10 is around £800 cheaper, while the Kia Picanto undercuts it by over £1,000. The Toyota Aygo X is also a few hundred pounds less expensive, and it comes with a lot more standard equipment.

That said, the 500 still has an adequate amount of kit on board. All cars get a 7.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, cruise control, a leather steering wheel and a panoramic glass roof. If you want luxuries like heated seats and keyless entry though you’re out of luck. Go and check out a mid-spec Kia Picanto instead.

Performance and drive comfort

The Fiat 500 is great to drive in town, but feels out of its depth when venturing on to the motorway

In town

The urban jungle is where the Fiat 500 feels most at home. Its compact dimensions make it easy to thread through gaps in traffic, and you sit surprisingly high up for a small car giving you great all-round visibility.

The steering is also nice and light, and it can be made even more effortless by pressing the city button on the dashboard. This combined with a tight turning circle makes it a doddle to negotiate tight car parks.

If you want an automatic gearbox to take the strain out of stop-start traffic, then it’s bad news. The Fiat 500 is only offered with a six-speed manual gearbox, so you’ll have to look at something like a Toyota Aygo X if you want two pedals. On the plus side, the clutch is light and easy to use, and the gear shift is precise as well.

The suspension does a pretty good job of absorbing bumps in the road, although particularly large potholes will send a thud through the cabin. The only thing disturbing the peace inside is the 1.0-litre engine, which you need to rev out to get any sort of performance from it. On the plus side, the mild hybrid system will save you fuel when coasting.

On the motorway

Things start to unravel when you hit the motorway though. Being a cheap city car there’s not much insulation, which means wind and road noise are pretty intrusive. You may find yourself having to raise your voice to hold a conversation.

The suspension also becomes unsettled at speed, with the body wobbling over bumps, and you’ll find yourself making constant steering adjustments to stay on the straight and narrow. There’s no option of adaptive cruise control either, although normal cruise control does come as standard as a consolation prize. A Renault Clio will be a better bet if you do a lot of motorway miles.

On a twisty road

Adequate is the best way to describe the Fiat 500 on a twisty road. It doesn't roll too much through the corners and the steering is precise. The suspension may do a decent job of mitigating body roll, but it can get jiggly over bumps and undulating surfaces making it feel quite unsettled. A Kia Picanto is more comfortable for back-road commuting, and a SEAT Ibiza is more fun to drive. If it’s hot hatch thrills you’re after then check out the Abarth 595, a sportier and more raucous version of the 500.

Space and practicality

Even for a tiny city car the Fiat 500 isn’t particularly spacious, however kids should be fine in the back

The Fiat 500 is a very small car, but most people will be able to find a comfortable driving position. That said, the steering wheel only adjusts for height, and even then it doesn’t move much, so you’ll need to try one out to make sure it suits you.

There’s plenty of adjustment in the seats, although you are perched pretty high up so especially tall adults may struggle for headroom. The seats themselves aren’t particularly supportive, and you may find yourself with backache after a long stint behind the wheel.

Interior storage isn’t great either. You get a pretty below-average glovebox, some tiny door bins and a couple of cupholders which aren’t really deep enough for a lot of drinks. There’s also a weird slot behind these cupholders which looks like it should house your phone while it’s plugged in, but unless you’re still using an iPhone 4 it won’t fit. This means you end up with nowhere to put your phone if it’s charging.

Space in the back seats

Things don’t improve much in the rear seats, where only children will find themselves with enough space. Legroom is especially tight and headroom isn’t great. There are also only two seat belts back there, not that you’d want to try and get three across the bench anyway.

You won’t find much space for your bits and bobs either. Both rear passengers have to fight over one central cup holder, and there are no USB charging points in sight.

Fitting a child seat is a mixed bag. Unlike many alternatives, the 500 is only available as a three-door. This makes the process tricky to begin with, but the front doors do open nice and wide - provided you have enough space around the car. Once you’ve threaded the seat through then locating the ISOFIX anchor points is easy, however you will have to move the passenger seat forward to accommodate bulky rear-facing chairs.

Boot space

You may be thinking that Fiat has sacrificed rear seat space to give the 500 a cavernous boot, well sadly not. You get a pretty meagre 185 litres of space with the rear seats up, 70 litres down on the Picanto’s luggage capacity. If you need a lot more space for the money then the Dacia Sandero has a much more generous 328 litres on offer.

Fold the rear seats down and you have up to 550 litres to play with, which is just over half what you get in the Picanto. The load lip is pretty high as well making loading heavy items a chore, and there’s a big ridge in the floor when the seats are folded to try and haul things over.

Interior style, infotainment and accessories

The Fiat 500 has a super stylish and colourful interior, but it’s let down by sub-par material quality

The 500’s cabin carries over some of the retro design cues of the exterior to make it look and feel totally unique. The splash of colour across the dashboard is a nice touch, and everything is logically laid out.

The entry-level car gets physical knobs for the climate control like you might find on a car from the 90s, but they’re really simple to grab on the move. Higher-spec Top models get climate control with small displays showing the temperature which also works well.

Being on the cheaper side of things you can’t expect the material quality to rival something like a Volkswagen Polo, and it doesn’t. Everything is hard and scratchy, while some of the controls such as the steering column stalks feel a bit flimsy. The Hyundai i10 feels more solidly screwed together.

In terms of infotainment, all models get a 7.0-inch touchscreen as standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It’s good to have the smartphone mirroring, because the native Fiat system is pretty tricky to navigate and the screen isn’t very responsive to your inputs.

Range-topping cars get a small digital driver’s display behind the steering wheel, and it shows you everything you need to know in a clear and concise way. It’s not particularly customisable, but it’s better than the displays you get in an Aygo X or i10.

MPG, emissions and tax

There’s just one engine option for the Fiat 500, and it’s a 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol with 70hp and mild hybrid tech. That allows for marginally better fuel economy than a car without it, but it does nothing to aid the rather pedestrian performance.

Fiat claims this car will return 61mpg, which is about the same as most alternatives. You may see this dip when you work the engine hard though, something you find yourself doing a lot to get up to speed on faster roads.

The 500 does come in on the lower end of the first-year Vehicle Excise Duty scale thanks to its low emissions of 108g/km of CO2, and it won’t attract too much in the way of Benefit In Kind (BIK) tax either.

Safety and security

The Fiat 500 scored three out of five stars when it was tested by Euro NCAP back in 2017, meaning it’s not the safest small car out there, and the test has become even stricter since then. The Toyota Aygo X scored four stars, as did the Kia Picanto when fitted with optional safety equipment.

The 500’s main downfall was on driver assistance tech. There’s no lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control or autonomous emergency braking fitted here, which leaves it lagging behind most new cars today.

Reliability and problems

The Fiat 500 isn’t a particularly complicated car, so there aren’t many horror stories to report when it comes to reliability.

For added peace of mind you get a three-year or 60,000-mile warranty, however this isn’t a patch on Kia’s seven years of coverage. Toyota even offers up to 10 years if you keep your car serviced on time within its network.

Fiat 500 FAQs

There aren’t too many issues to speak of when it comes to the Fiat 500, although there are a couple of recalls to be aware of on cars built in 2022 relating to a loose bolt in the steering rack and a loose battery terminal. Check with your local dealer that this has been tended to.

The main reason UK buyers love the Fiat 500 is for the way it looks. Very few small cars offer this level of style for such a small outlay, and it’s dirt cheap to run as well.

The Fiat 500 is what’s known as a mild hybrid. This differs from a self-charging hybrid because the car can’t be driven using only electric power, it just has a small 48V electrical system to help save fuel when you’re coasting. You still don’t need to plug it in though.

Buy or lease the Fiat 500 at a price you’ll love
We take the hassle and haggle out of car buying by finding you great deals from local and national dealers
RRP £16,515 - £18,300 Avg. Carwow saving £2,156 off RRP
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