From £9,915
Worth the few dynamic shortcomings if you want a car with feel-good factor like no other
22 January 2008

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.

Matt Rigby


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23 January 2008

This retro fad really shouldn't work.. but it does. Porsche perfected the art with the constant evolution of the 911 afterall. This cheeky chappy looks good on the street in black and white versions and Fiat deserves praise and the sales for this retro-chic itteration.

23 January 2008

Interesting that we have the test of this car (the Fiat 500) and the Daihatsu Materia in the same week. It raises an interesting clash of styles and motoring philosophy. The Fiat would seem to be for those who have a wish (and attitude) to dance their way through the city (and life), while the Materia (with its armored car looks) would probably be attractive to those intent on bludgeoning their way around (but cannot afford an SUV).

Its Rome on a sunny June day - the Fiat 500 and Vespa scooters are in harmony passing a city water-font - their occupants and riders smile and wave at each other and agree to meet for an authentic espresso.

A Materia driver scowls at the world on his way to Starbucks....


23 January 2008

The 500 is a great little car ... can't wait till mine arrives ...

However one thing that seems to have been glossed over is the actual detail of the "innovative financing" that was promised by Fiat at their July launch and in their press releases. It appears as though the free 5 year or 500,000km warranties that are available in other European markets as part of the 50to500 and 500cents a day financing aren't being offered here. Is this another example of UK customers getting a raw deal? Mini can offer a TLC package so why can't Fiat offer something that can rival that aftercare package?

24 January 2008

The new 500's iffy ride is mentioned in every review I've seen, and despite the UK's appalling network of potholed tarmac, writers here are still heaping praise on a car that - to quote this very article - "crashes and thumps over road scars". Why so many awards? Who wants to be crashed and thumped round London roads? Surely a modern city car needs to do a lot more than come in a fashionably tiny package...

24 January 2008

This sounds like the perfect engine for the car, frugal with enough zip to make it interesting. I love the styling and hope they succeed with this car.


21 May 2009

"Surely a modern city car needs to do a lot more than come in a fashionably tiny package.."

well said!

the answer surely is to send the 500 to Lotus to sort out the suspension - no one does light weight ride/roadholding better.


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