First DriveFirst UK test of Fiat's best-selling city car, which has been overhauled for 2015
First DriveIconic Italian city car gets a refresh, with more standard equipment, better infotainment and styling revisions inside and out
What is it?
This is the diesel version of the new Fiat 500, available at last in right-hand drive. And if you believe Fiat’s advertising spiel, this car is like a pencil sharpener. Why? Because it’s an everyday masterpiece – an elegant, brilliant piece of design that slips seamlessly into everyday life.
And if a city car is to be functional as well as funky, it has to be cheap to run. This is where the 1.3-litre Multijet diesel comes in. It emits just 111g/km of CO2 and returns 67.3mpg (combined).
What’s it like?
On the move, the little 75bhp turbodiesel feels as impressive as its on paper stats sound. There’s none of the bottom-end gutlessness that mars so many small-capacity diesels (thank the 500’s low kerb weight for that), meaning easy progress in stop-start traffic.
The most impressive aspect of the Multijet motor’s performance, however, is its refinement. Both at speed and at idle, the 500 diesel is less raucous and more sophisticated than its petrol siblings.
Things continue to go well for the 500 when you realise that this is the first city car to achieve a five-star EuroNCAP rating and the first whose entire range is Euro V compliant.
Perhaps the least impressive aspect of the 500 is its dynamics. There’s nothing wrong with the 500’s handling, and the transition to right-hand drive, if anything, slightly improves the ride. However, the 500 doesn’t feel quite as lively as you feel it ought to, given its cheeky looks, and the suspension still crashes and thumps over road scars.
Should I buy one?
It’s not exactly the zenith of fun-handling runabouts, but the slight dynamic shortcomings are a sacrifice that we’d quite understand you making in return for the fabulous way this car makes you feel. If you want the latest fashion accessory with a proper feel-good factor, there is simply nothing better.