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The Fiat 500 is a desirable small car with plenty of retro design appeal. It follows the spirit of the original by being very compact and affordable, but reboots it for the modern age with more performance and technology.
As one of the most keenly priced small cars on sale, the Fiat 500 is an excellent low-cost choice whether you’re looking to buy or lease one. It’s also been very popular for years, meaning there’s plenty of Fiat 500s to be found on the used market.
The Fiat 500 has plenty of competitors, but not all of them are as stylish. There’s many similarly priced city cars on the new and used markets including the Volkswagen Up, the small Smart Fortwo and the well built Hyundai i10.
However, given the retro design is such a core part of its appeal, the more expensive MINI Hatch is also a key rival. On the used market, there’s also the VW Beetle, which offers a similarly traditional look. There's also a hot hatch version in the shape of the Abarth 595.
If you’re after a stylish and affordable small car to run about town in, the Fiat 500 is a good car to buy or lease.
It has loads of charm and character, meaning you’d never accuse it of being boring. It’s also easy to drive and a doddle to park, with seating for four (just) despite being one of the smallest cars on sale.
It’s also a lot better equipped than the old Fiat 500, whether you’re buying secondhand or a looking at a new one. Avoid the basic model and you’ll get kit such as a touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, rear parking sensors and climate control.
There’s also loads of customisation options and colours, meaning you can put your personal stamp on the car. What’s more, you can have it as a convertible, called the Fiat 500C or as an EV with the latest Fiat 500 Electric.
Sure, there are more practical city cars on sale that can comfortably seat four adults, while the Fiat 500’s driving position won’t suit all shapes and sizes. It’s not great for motorways and fast roads, either. But if all you need is something to zip about towns and cities in with only the occasional longer trip, it’s a fun little car.
There’s a reason why the Fiat 500 has been on sale for fifteen years now and is still a very popular new or used car: nothing at this price point can match its sense of style and charm.
Overall, the Fiat 500 is a car that can’t fail to make you smile. With it’s charming looks, retro cabin design and nippy, agile feel, it’s a great choice for city or town dwellers looking to buy or lease something that’s cheap to run.
We wouldn’t recommend the Fiat 500 if you’re planning regular long journeys, as many of its city car rivals are more comfortable and refined at speed. But like the original Mini, its success is not defined by objective merits, but how it makes you feel.
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The Fiat 500 has received many revisions since it was relaunched in 2008. The most significant change was in 2015, when the 0.9-litre TwinAir and a 1.2-litre petrol engines were introduced. Both engines are frugal and notably more refined than the old 1.2-litre and 1.4-litre engines they replaced.
A petrol mild hybrid was added in 2019, which combines a 1.0-litre engine with a 12v electric motor and a lithium-ion battery to reduce tailpipe emissions and boost low-gear acceleration. The 70PS 1.0-litre hybrid is mated to a smooth shifting five-speed manual gearbox and delivers good fuel economy, with Fiat claiming 53mpg.
The older 1.2-litre petrol develops 69PS but is offered with a Dualogic automatic gearbox only. This transmission makes the 1.2-litre engine extremely noisy under acceleration. It isn’t particularly refined at low-speeds, with lots of hesitancy between gear changes.
There are a number of different trim levels available with the Fiat 500 and all can be customised with additional style features. They are:
If you’re looking to buy a used example of the Fiat 500 you’ll find a vast array of different trim levels and special editions. We’d avoid the basic entry-level Pop trim, with Lounge models or above offering a good level of standard equipment.
The Fiat 500’s exterior dimensions are:
The Fiat 500’s boot size is:
All Fiat 500s registered after 1 April 2017 will cost you a flat rate of £180/year in VED (tax). If you buy on of the newer Fiat 500 mild-hybrid models it will qualify for an annual discount of £10 (meaning you'll pay £170 a year currently). That's the same as any of its competitors - if you're looking for free road tax, take a look at our Fiat 500 Electric review.
The latest Fiat 500 falls into insurance group 8 in Pop form, rising to group 9 for the most expensive to insure Dolcevita Plus or Red edition. Any model should be among the cheapest car to insure on the road.
Read our full Fiat 500 review
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