Its steering offers up no feedback and feels inconsistently weighted throughout a turn when you start to push. Of course, pressing the 'city steering' button on the dash drops the weight of the helm to comically low levels and makes tight, twisty urban navigation a cinch, which is arguably more important.
It won't be long until the front tyres start to give up their grip, and you'll notice the 500's body is prone to swaying its way through bends a tad more than a Hyundai i10 or an Up/Mii/Citigo would. That said, given the target audience, we doubt any of this will prove to be a deal-breaker.
Our potted Italian test route exposed the 500's poor ride, too. Low-speed bumps are felt and heard too often, with vertical body movement the order of the day. High-speed driving is more settled, although expansion joints still thud their way inside.
The best-selling 500 engine is the 1.2, a unit that needs serious coaxing beyond the city limits. This pricier TwinAir is a different story; even in 84bhp form it feels far more urgent, spinning up more quickly and forcing you up through the five-speed manual with greater haste.
Trouble is, beyond 5000rpm the urgency dies off rapidly, meaning you have a tighter window in which to work. Far more noise and vibration are felt in the cabin at higher revs, too, and the TwinAir's manual gearbox suffers the same lack of precision as the 1.2's.
Fiat has been busy improving soundproofing for this new 500, but our example suffered a similar level of tyre roar at high speeds to the previous model, although the retro looks help elsewhere, as wind noise is never an issue.
Two adults will have sufficient space in the front seats, but the driver may find it difficult to fine-tune a position due to an abesence of reach adjustment on the steering wheel and a poor range of driver's seat adjustment to go with it - not uncommon in this class. A new-for-2015 glovebox is a decent size and a welcome addition.
Rivals such as the i10 have shown that adults can sit in the back of city cars, but the 500's rear quarters are too tight for most. Boot capacity is 185 litres, which is smaller than most rivals and features a large lip to lift heavy bags over. Split-folding rear seats are standard from mid-range Pop Star trim up.
Interior quality is a strong point, with substantial plastics in all the right places. Lounge models get a Uconnect touchscreen system already seen in various other Fiats, Alfas and Jeeps. Its 5.0in screen is underlined by clear menu buttons and it's easy to navigate, but there are more responsive systems in this class that aren't affected so badly by bright sunlight.
Importantly, the Uconnect system now supports smartphone app integration, something uncommon in this class but increasingly sought after by the younger, tech-aware group of people walking into showrooms and buying them.
All 500s now get LED daytime running lights, USB and aux sockets, a multi-function steering wheel and electric front windows. Pop Star models add air-con, 15in alloy wheels and split-folding rear seats, while Lounge cars get the touchscreen infotainment system, rear parking sensors and a leather steering wheel.