In this article weíre concentrating on a car thatís transformed the fortunes of its maker, not once but twice Ė the Fiat 500.
The original Fiat 500, or Cinquecento, was launched way back in 1957 as a tiny city car with a rear mounted engine. Production ran from a full eighteen years and during its time four million of the little cars were built. It was in 2007, fifty years after the original Fiat 500 made its debut, that Fiat launched the all new model. The latest incarnation has the engine mounted up front. However, with its dinky dimensions and retro styling cues the lineage between the old car and the new one are clear. Itís the same whether you go for the pre-facelifted 500 or a post-facelift car from 2016 onwards like the one in our photo.
The Fiat 500 doesnít just look great on the outside, it looks just as fabulous in the inside too. Fiatís added lots of retro styling cues here too with body coloured dash panels and metal effect door handles. Controls used for things such as the heating and windows are nice and chunky so theyíre easy to use on the move. As far as quality goes, the 500 might feel a little cheap in some places but for many buyers it will make up for this for being so stylish.
Before you even think about test driving a Fiat 500 you need to make sure you can get comfortable. This is because the 500 doesnít have as much adjustment in its seat or steering wheel that youíll find in other small cars. For example, although you can adjust the angle of the seat base, you canít adjust its height. You should also note that although the steering wheel does have an up and down adjustment but it doesnít come in and out. The visibility out of the 500 is very good and combined with its light controls and small size it makes this car very easy to drive and park.
If you fancy an automatic gearbox rather than a manual then you need to be aware that Fiatís Dualogic system is somewhat of an acquired taste. If you fancy something a bit faster then thereís an Abarth model available. The Abarth gets you a more powerful turbo-charged 1.4 litre engine, racy styling and sports suspension and all of this combined will give you a much more engaging drive.
Whatever 500 you choose you need to bear in mind that itís a small car with a short wheel-base and therefore the ride can feel a bit fidgety. Itís also not the most refined car on the motorway either. Saying this, neither of these things have harmed the sales of the 500. Sit in the back and youíll find that itís not the biggest car around even when compared to cars in its class but it is still a four-seater. Therefore, you can get a couple of people in the back, albeit at a tight squeeze, but theyíd probably be happier if they were kids. On the subject of sitting in the back, you also have to be made aware that the rear windows donít open. However, if you do require a more open-air experience then then 500c convertible model with its full length fabric roof might be the one for you.
The boot in the hatchback is just shy of what youíd expect in a modern Mini. This means that the 500 is ok for carrying a weekly shop but if you need to store anything bigger than this might make you think twice. If you want split folding rear seats then youíll have to go for a higher spec model.
As for the 500ís engine line up there is a 1.3 litre diesel, a 1.2 litre and 1.4 litre with four cylinders or an 875cc with two cylinders known as the TwinAir. However, in a city car like this itís one of the petrol engines that will make more sense to most people. Power outputs vary throughout a carís life so CO2 emissions and road tax will depend on whether the car youíre considering is equipped with stop-start. So, itís important to check these things before committing to buy a particular model. After all, when the cheapest Fiat 500 doesnít cost anything to tax whereas the most expensive costs more than £100 a year it does make a difference. Also, you shouldnít be fooled by the on-paper fuel economy of the TwinAir engine because in normal driving itís actually no more efficient than the 1.2. From both units youíll get around 45-50 miles to the gallon (mpg). If you go for a diesel then youíll get around 10 mpg more than this providing you do a lot of motorway miles.
If you like the idea of a Fiat 500 sitting on your driveway then take a look at the used Fiat 500 cars for sale we have available on DesperateSeller.co.uk.