Even before it was launched in 2008, few doubted the Fiat 500 would be a hit. The Volkswagen Beetle and, more successfully, the Mini had proved the market for retro was on fire. And so sales of the little Fiat roared ahead and, just like the Mini, it spawned spin-offs in the shape of the convertible, warm and hot Abarth versions, the 500L, 500L MPW seven-seater and 500X crossover.
But it’s the standard 500 hatch we’re interested in here – specifically, the facelifted version launched in 2015. Fiat claimed it made 1900 changes, including to the bumpers but also to the suspension and brakes, and to the engines in terms of efficiency improvements. Our tester wasn’t entirely convinced but was pleased to note that the 500’s cheeky charm remained intact.
With the 2015 facelift, buyers could choose from three petrol engines: a 68bhp 1.2-litre and a more modern twin-cylinder 0.9-litre, called the TwinAir, in 84bhp and 104bhp outputs. A few months later, an eco version of the 1.2-litre arrived boasting a tax-free 99g/km CO2, as well as a 94bhp 1.3-litre Multijet diesel for the few high-mileage 500 drivers out there.