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FIAT 500 (2008–)

Last updated 16 October 2018

Funky looks and desirable image. Faithful to original. Easy to drive in town. TwinAir and Multijet emit less than 100g/km. Suspension improved from 2010.
Not as good to drive or as practical as a Volkswagen Up or Hyundai i10. 1.2-litre petrol engine sluggish but economical. Dualogic best avoided.
Updated 16 October 2018

Report of tailgate microswitch falure on FIAT 500. Complete handle including switch available on eBay for £69 where the vendor claims to have sold 69 of them. 84 dated faults reported since January...

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Introduction

A huge success for Fiat, the 500 is certainly cute, plus it’s available with a huge range of customisation options, right down to coloured keyfobs. Unfortunately, it’s not the most practical small car, with a cramped cabin and a small boot but, if you’ve fallen for the cute looks, you’ll forgive a few flaws.

The engine range consists of a 1.2-litre petrol, a 0.9-litre TwinAir petrol or a 1.3-litre diesel. Of these the TwinAir suits the 500 best – it’s responsive and eager, although meeting official economy figures in real world driving is tricky. Earlier cars were also offered with a 1.4-litre petrol, but this was discontinued in 2011.

On the road the 500 is unremarkable to drive. The steering is light but reasonably accurate, while the compact dimensions make urban driving tremendously easy. However, on a twisting road or on the motorway the 500 never feels settled and there is noticeable body roll when cornering.

Inside, the cabin has the same retro look as the exterior, with a painted dashboard panel and big, circular speedometer. Unfortunately, while it looks good it’s not very practical. The front seats are cramped for taller occupants and the back row is too small to be of any real use. The boot isn’t very big either, at just 185 litres.

Fiat has constantly tweaked the 500 since its original launch in 2007, with the most significant changes in 2015. Externally the updated car has different headlights, tail lights and running lights, while the interior benefits from a new, user-friendly touchscreen infotainment system and a new dashboard layout. 

If you’re looking for a sensible, practical town car, the Hyunndai i10 or Volkswagen Up are better choices since they are more spacious, better-equipped and more competent on the open road. But if you’re style-conscious then there is no small car to match the Fiat 500 for image or personalisation. 

Fiat 500 2008 launch test 1.2 and 1.4

Fiat 500C Multijet Road 2009 Test

Fiat 500 TwinAir 2010 Road Test

Fiat 500 1.2 Lounge Long Term Test 

Owners' reviews

3
Cheap motoring with a few frills
5
100k miles and still going strong
3
Good little car for two in the front seats
4
Fab funky but bumpy ride!
4
Better than ever
3
Great looking-designed and built by bafoons!
 

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