Fiat 500 Review 2022

Fiat 500 At A Glance

3/5

+Funky looks and desirable image. Faithful to original. Easy to drive in town. Suspension improved from 2010.

-Not as good to drive or as practical as a Volkswagen Up or Hyundai i10. Increasing number of reported reliability problems.

New prices start from £13,020
Insurance Groups are between 5–19
On average it achieves 76% of the official MPG figure

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. 

Looking for a second opinion? Read heycar's review of the Fiat 500

Real MPG average for a Fiat 500

RealMPG

Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance

76%

Real MPG

35–74 mpg

MPGs submitted

637

Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

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Ask Honest John

Does the Fiat 500 Twin Air use a belt or chain?
"I have a 2015 Fiat 500 Twin Air which has done 33,000 miles. Should I be considering having the cam belt changed? "
The Fiat 500 875cc TwinAir uses a timing chain and not a belt. It's designed to last the life of the car, which it should do as long as you keep the oil clean with a change every 12 months or 12,000 miles (whichever comes first).
Answered by Dan Powell
What is the safest small car?
"What would be the safest small car to buy, Fiat 500 size? "
The smallest cars (classed as city cars) generally have lower Euro NCAP safety ratings than larger models, but it's often more due to the reduced level of driver-assist technology rather than their crash test scores. This is done to keep the price low. We'd avoid the Fiat 500 in petrol form as it has below average adult and child occupant protection scores, but the new electric 500e has decent ratings. Pretty much every other city car has a three star Euro NCAP rating, which is acceptable, but the Seat Mii/VW Up/Skoda Citigo models all have good occupant protection scores. The latest Kia Picanto also scores well, particularly with the optional safety pack, as does the Smart ForFour. If ultimate safety matters, though, larger models like the latest VW Polo and Skoda Fabia have top five star ratings.
Answered by Lawrence Allan
What is the best engine for a Fiat 500?
"What's the best engine for a Fiat 500?"
I'd personally go for the TwinAir for its character and relative punch, although you won't get the fuel economy that Fiat quotes. Here's our review: https://www.honestjohn.co.uk/carbycar/fiat/500-2007/
Answered by Russell Campbell
Does the Fiat 500 1.2 petrol have a timing chain or belt?
"Does my Fiat 500 1.2 petrol have a timing chain or belt?"
Cam belt. I'd suggest changing the belt, tensioner, pulley and water pump every 60,000 miles or five years (whichever comes first).
Answered by Dan Powell
More Questions

What does a Fiat 500 cost?