11/04/2019
Adam Binnie, New Cars Editor, @adambcars

Fiat 500 Hatchback Review

Small and styling, the Fiat 500 is every bit as desirable for city-dwellers as the 1950s original –its youthful looks and performance making it a fun car to own and drive.

While the current crop of small urban hatches including the MINI, DS 3, Volkswagen Up, Peugeot 108, Renault Twingo and Smart Fortwo are compromised on size, like the 500 they’re not short on character.

While the Fiat relies heavily on its retro cool to stand out from those rivals, it also backs this up with solid handling and fizzy petrol engines.

 

Huge amount of personalisation

 

Along with the MINI Hatch, the Fiat 500 borrows much from its heritage, and builds on this appeal and desirability with a huge range of personalisation options to make your car truly your own.

This includes everything from alloy wheels to bold vinyl designs to apply to the bodywork, plus more exterior colour options and interiors trims than you could shake a stick at.

Since the 20015 facelift the Fiat 500 has featured a bold 3D-effect grille and ring-shaped tail lights with body-coloured centres – it’s the best-looking iteration yet.

 

Born in the city

 

Much like the original car was design for zipping around the streets of Turin, the modern Fiat 500 has the urban driver in mind from the offset.

For a start it’s tiny on the outside, making it agile and simple to thread down crowded city streets, but clever packaging means it’s bigger on the inside than you’d expect.

Still, the boot isn’t huge and neither is the amount of space available to rear passengers, but given its tiny exterior footprint, both attributes are easily forgivable.

 

Perky engine range

 

A small, light car like this doesn’t need an enormous amount of power to get it up and moving so you won’t be surprised to hear most 500 powerplants are around the 1.0-litre mark. Some only feature two cylinders.

A higher performance Abarth range is available but the standard car makes do with a set of engines that need to be ruthless revved out to the redline if you want to make speedy progress. This is actually quite fun in itself and the petrol units fitted to the 500 seem prepared and even keen for this sort of punishment.

Where you will find the lack of punch troublesome is on the motorway or even a dual carriageway – here the Fiat 500 starts to feel a little out of its depth.

 

The Parkers Verdict

 

Despite existing since 2008 the 500 is still a no-brainer for fashion-conscious city-dwellers. It looks and feels cheerful to drive and is priced reasonably too – a properly likeable hatchback.

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