Fiat 500 – Eco Car
The Fiat 500 is a snappy, modern recreation of one of the all-time great Italian style icons. Though reviews often point out how its major competitor handles better, the Fiat easily has more panache and is significantly cheaper than the MINI. The Fiat is also great fun to drive. A new Fiat costs between £9,465.00 and £16,885.00.
Fiat 500 – Running Costs
Car tax on the Fiat 500 ranges from low to non-existent. The Fiat 500 0.9 Twin Air Pop (0.9) model is in Car Tax A bracket which is untaxed and even the worst enjoy the relatively low car tax rates of tax band E, so you can easily enjoy an Italian city car with style while saving money on tax.
All of Fiat’s modern 500s are excellent performers when it comes to minimising the production of CO2. C02 emissions start at 92g/km (0.9 Twin Air Pop). Higher performing models such as the 1.4 Sport model have emissions of 135 g/km CO2. There are different sized engines to choose from.
There is a fantastic choice of petrol and diesel engines, all of which come with excellent fuel economy and low CO2 emissions. For example the 0.9 Twin Air pop 3dr Dualogic engine manages up to 78.5 miles to the gallon with an average figure of 70.6MPG.
Fiat 500 – Safety Features
A good range of safety features comes as standard. You get seven airbags - for driver, driver’s knee and passenger, as well as window and side airbags. Antilock brakes (ABS) and electronic brake distribution maximise safety when you need to stop in a hurry. The electronic stability programme is a pricey option.
With car tax varying between low and none, plus fuel economy that starts at very good and goes up to excellent, daily running costs are very reasonable. In addition, the Fiat 500 falls into a nice low insurance bracket, so you should have little to fear from insurance companies.
Comfort is where things perhaps aren’t quite so rosy for the gleeful little Fiat. The original 500 of the 1950s was atrocious in the back. The new car is better but not 60 years better. Rear-seat passengers are unlikely to enjoy long rides and a little yoga experience could come in handy when getting in or out of the back seats. Up front, the roof is a tad close for tall people. Otherwise, ride comfort is pretty good.
The Fiat 500 certainly feels solidly build and benefits from a fantastic retro design aesthetic. The cabin feels cohesive and expensive, with the retro design used to great effect in a cocktail of fun, heritage and usability. Overall, the 500 feels much pricier than it actually is. The first reports of mechanical problems have started to trickle out, however, and doubts remain about whether Fiat’s traditional reliability issues have been addressed.
Fiat 500 – Speed
None of the engines available in the current range of 500s provide the speed the car’s looks appear to promise, but they’re all fairly lively and combined with the car’s energetic handling make the 500 a joy in city traffic. Out of town, however, the 500 is often more show than go and could ideally do a better job of keeping noise at bay. Overall, the 500 is generally entertaining, if not entirely accomplished. The top speed of the 0.9 Twinair Pop 3dr Dualogic model is 108miles per hour, and reaches 62MPH in 11 seconds. The much less economical 1.4 Sport version, (48.7 MPG, Car Tax E), manages only 113 miles per hour and gets to 62MPH in only half a second less, (10.5). You have to ask yourself if those extra 5 miles an hour and half a second worth the extra running costs?
Fiat 500 – Conclusion
There are other more practical options when it comes to small city cars but at this price, only the Fiat 500 provides such style, brio and usefulness. The 500 is very cheap to run, should enjoy good resale value and is hard to beat when it comes to charm. Interior space could be an issue, however.
The little Fiat’s handling is much like its performance. Ultimately, the 500 is not the most accomplished handling car but it is very entertaining, particularly in town where the tiny size, nimble chassis and light steering mean the 500 loves to thread through busy streets. All new fiats are sold with a full manufacturer warranty, Roadside assistance cover, first registration fee and road fund licence, (if applicable). More Green Car reviews can be read here.