When Fiat released the new 500 they did so for one reason; to compete directly against BMW’s very popular Mini. Now, years later, there are new contenders on the market such as the Vauxhall Adam and, to a lesser extent, the Skoda Citigo and Volkswagen Up!.
Buyers are now spoilt for choice in the super mini market and dealers are luring in motorists with the promise of low finance payments and free insurance. These offers certainly shift cars but they neglect the fun factor out of the buying decision. If you’re after a fun super mini that looks the part, is available in multiple designs and with a range of solid engines, the Fiat 500 is the way to go.
The Fiat 500 is a wonderful super mini because it has been designed perfectly for its surroundings – whereas the Mini tries to be a cruiser and city car all in one, the 500 opts firmly for the latter with a cheeky face, flexible engines, supple ride and reasonable trim levels.
The first thing you notice when you sit inside the 500 is just how quirky it is. The centre dashboard can be fitted with the same coloured plastic as your paint work and the steering wheel and gaiter are available in white or black. The former looks particularly great. Getting comfortable in the 500 is a piece of cake as the seat is height adjustable and the steering wheel is height and reach adjustable. Whether you are 6 ft 2 or 5 ft 0 the 500 should accommodate you nicely.
On the move, the 500 is relaxed. The TwinAir 0.9-litre turbo engine delivers 85bhp, and this engine is our pick. There is also a 1.3-litre MultiJet diesel engine which promises even better real world economy out of town. Unlike some super minis, the 500 makes do with a 5-speed gearbox, and one improvement for the future would be the inclusion of a 6th cog for refinement at speed.
Other quirks include the ability for new buyers to choose from a variety of interior colour schemes at no additional cost. Red Cloth / Black Ambience is recommended for those who want a little bit of sportiness in their lives. The main competitor to the 500 for personalisation is the Vauxhall Adam, which actually trumps it – however, the 500 is always going through seasonal promotions and trending promotions, with the latest being 1960’s inspired pastel paint work.
Our pick of the range, the 0.9-litre Twinair Lounge 3dr, rolls in at £12,810 brand new. This is the highest trim level and it gives the 500 a few extra creature comforts. Standard equipment includes climate control, heated and electric mirrors, alloy wheels, MP3 / iPod Connectivity and Bluetooth. This model of the Fiat 500 from Bristol Street Motors Derbywill return a fantastic 60.1 mpg around town and out of town you could see 78.5 mpg. It is also road tax exempt and London congestion charge exempt.