Updated Fiat 500 is more a facelift than a new car, with changes to the looks, engines and infotainment system
15 September 2015

The latest version of the Fiat 500 has been revealed, with lightly refreshed looks front and rear.

Although Fiat is referring to the latest version as a new car, it only gets small revisions to the styling while retaining the same small dimensions as the outgoing version. However, Fiat says that it has made as many as 1800 changes to the details on the new car.

The front end gets the most notable updates, although the overall impression remains largely unaltered. It now comes with LED daytime running lights and a restyled grille. The main headlights are now more slanted than before, while the lower lights are the same shape as the zeros of the car’s ‘500’ badging. The grille is larger and trapezoidal in shape, with chrome strips on either side.

At the rear, Fiat says the car gets newly restyled light clusters with a ring-shaped structure. The rear fog lights and the reversing lights have been relocated and are edged in chrome or black. The large chrome boot grab handle has been retained.

Other visual changes on the outside include new alloy wheels of either 15in or 16in in diameter. Two new colours - Corallo Red and Opera Burgundy - take the total number of colours offered up to 13.

Fiat will continue to offer a wide range of personalisation for the 500, with a ‘Second Skin’ option allowing the buyer to choose a range of patterns, decals or two-tone paint effects for their car.

The interior gets a selection of tweaks, with the most striking being the Uconnect infotainment screen. This is standard on all models and has touchscreen capability on Lounge trim and above. The Uconnect system sits lower than it did on the previous car and comes with Bluetooth, aux-in and USB sockets as standard.

The range-topping Lounge trim also comes with Uconnect Live services, which are available for the first time on the new 500. Fiat says it can connect with either Android or Apple smartphones and display applications from your phone on the screen. This will allow the driver to stream music over the internet, connect to internet radio, access Facebook and Twitter or display driving statistics. DAB digital radio is also available, as is a Uconnect TomTom satellite navigation system.

The steering wheel is new and now features buttons with chrome-plated edging, while the high-trim models come with a 7in instrument cluster, which displays all the driving data.

Other changes to the interior include new upholstery on the seats, which is now available in nine colour combinations. Fiat also says the seats are now made with more ergonomic materials to improve comfort and access to the rear of the cabin. The cabin also has a new lidded compartment to boost storage, while there is more soundproofing throughout the car to improve noise levels. The changes apply to both the hatchback and convertible versions of the 500.

There will be three trim levels available on the new 500 from launch - Pop, Pop Star and Lounge.

As well as the Uconnect system, the Pop comes with steering-wheel mounted controls and LED daytime running lights. Pop Star adds air conditioning, chrome plated door mirrors and alloy wheels. The top-of-the-range Lounge model adds parking sensors, a panoramic glass sunroof, a leather steering wheel and a chrome plated front grille.

A full range of accessories is also available from launch, including vintage style wheels, a further range of alloy wheels, chrome roof detailing, a rear roof spoiler, chrome-effect or coloured door mirrors and a tailgate rack for transporting skis or snowboards.

The 500 comes with the same range of engines as before, but with a series of tweaks to improve emissions and economy. A 0.9-litre Twinair petrol is available in two power outputs - 84bhp and 104bhp. The former now produces less than 90g/km and is capable of 74.3mpg. The most efficient is the 94bhp 1.3-litre Multijet diesel, which conforms to Euro 6 emissions requirements and now produces 89g/km of CO2 - a drop of 6g/km. The final engine is a 68bhp 1.2-litre naturally aspirated petrol unit. This is capable of emissions of just 99g/km of CO2. The 1.2-litre petrol and the diesel are not yet confirmed for the UK, though.

Fiat also says that the suspension on the new car has been revised to improve comfort and handling.

Pricing for the new 500 has not changed drastically, with the starting point now at £10,890 - £200 more than the outgoing version. The full range of prices will be revealed closer to the car’s arrival in the UK.

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Comments
13

3 July 2015
It is a decent facelift of the car, shame it isn't an all new version though. This has been on sale for 8 years now. I suppose, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. It still looks good to me, and the added connectivity to the stereo will keep most new buyers interested. Only thing I don't understand. Why isn't aircon standard? Surely that should be in this day in age

3 July 2015
If I were in the market for a city car marginally bigger than a motorbike then I won't perhaps mind a hot version of the 500. It keeps to the original proportions of the small city cars while the Mini has grown.

3 July 2015
This should maintain interest in the 500 for a few more years and gives owners of the current model something a little different to swap to. A rival weekly mag has offered images of a completely new, larger model in recent times, and said a few weeks ago that we'd be getting that now, but I think some may be glad of this instead? Picking at details, I'm not too sure that they should have made the lower lights nearly as big as the headlamps, and I'm not keen on the rear lights, but I'm sure owners will welcome the better upholstered front seats. As ever, though, I am put off by the twin-air engines, which sound so good on paper, but appear quite thirsty in the real world.

3 July 2015
Hopefully they got the engine software right this time and made a car that can actually get up a hill!

3 July 2015
I'd rather they left the original shape alone. Proportion and relationship between elements is a very subtle art. By changing one element a little can affect the overall look. I don't think the front is a successful facelift. The enlarged auxiliary lights look odd, and the large air vent below the licence plate now draws too much attention to itself. The simplicity and rightness of the pre-facelift is gone.

3 July 2015
abkq wrote:

I'd rather they left the original shape alone. Proportion and relationship between elements is a very subtle art. By changing one element a little can affect the overall look. I don't think the front is a successful facelift. The enlarged auxiliary lights look odd, and the large air vent below the licence plate now draws too much attention to itself. The simplicity and rightness of the pre-facelift is gone.

I am with you on this, @abkq! My own words may somewhat repeat your own thoughts, but the magic and cohesiveness of the original was the simple clean lines, front and rear treatments, and on smaller wheels, overall balance. Re-style with chunkier forms brings it in line with other more recent styling in the 500 range, but for me, the uniqueness and USP of the original appears to have been lost. I like to be positive, but for me it is a sigh on this occasion. I have little doubt, though, they will sell like hot cakes, certainly very popular around my way. Can I order one, please, with optional old front and rear bumpers, and no side strakes?

3 July 2015
I have to agree with both of you. This facelift just beings unnecessary fussiness to what was a lovely simple design. The enlarged lower lights together with the chrome strakes either side of the grille now make the headlights look too small, and too close together when viewed from dead ahead. There's just too much going on at the front end now. What's with those stupid tail lights? The pointless body coloured insert reduces the lens area, with the result that the fog and reversing lights have had to be moved down into the bumper, so more unnecessary fussiness. Fiat has previous form with dodgy facelifts, for example the Punto Evo, which spoilt the attractive looks of the Grande Punto. I guess they felt they had to do something to refresh the 500, but I'd sooner have the original. I'm also curious about the source of the recent misinformation circulating that suggested this would be a completely new model, whereas there are no metalwork changes at all, only new front rear bumper mouldings

3 July 2015
.....I would also add that Fiat ruined the sharp looking 2nd generation Punto by sticking on an ugly black plastic grille. Come to think of it, the Strada and Uno were also completely spoiled by facelifts!

3 July 2015
Ah yes, the Ritmo/Strada, an interesting and very modern looking car when launched. It had a smooth front end with round headlamps bisected by the bonnet and plastic bumper, funky steel wheels and circular door handles, and tail lights housed within the plastic rear bumper. All these nice features were lost in a hideous facelift, with a huge and horrible black plastic grille. Google it if you're too young to remember! Seat showed how to do it properly with their facelift of the Ronda, a Spanish built Ritmo. Incidentally, if I recall correctly, the Ritmo was renamed Strada for the UK because they thought the name would not go down well here, and yet the car was sold in Ireland under its original name. Odd...

3 July 2015
I feel like they've updated the exterior for the sake of doing an update. Surely the fact that it's gone 8 years unchanged should've sent alarm bells going when they were working on updates? Rear bumper makes the car look needlessly chubby, and I fail to see the logic behind moving the reversing light so far down the bumper. The tail lights are an oddity; body-coloured plastic in the middle? This suddenly makes the default 500 white look awkward. I'm not too bothered about the front treatment but the real mess is that interior, where they've quite clearly PLONKED the Fiat connect system into a space that wasn't designed to house it. It's also a shame that this unit appears to come in black only, even with the 500's trademark ivory interior details. So for me, the interior is the least successful element here. I do find it odd that Fiat are considering not selling the 1.2 over here, though. I'm fairly sure that's still the most popular engine, over and above the TwinAir?


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