The Fiat 500 has been around for more than 60 years and it is a delight to drive now as it was in those heady 1950s!
While it was pretty basic in the beginning there are now more than 20 different models which cost from £13,000 to £26,000 and the all new electric model will be on the streets quite soon.
While the experts tend to go with the Volkswagen or Hyundai equivalents they don’t have the style and image which comes with a Fiat 500. And nine out of 10 drivers would prefer to be behind the wheel of a 500. Just ask them.
It is great to zoom around on the back roads or the motorways. Admittedly a 300 mile journey in one hit might be a little tiring but who does this sort of mileage these days?
The visibility is good because of the high seating position and even if you are a tall person there’s no problem on that front. But four adults on a long journey might be difficult because the back is quite small. The boot would give you a couple of small cases.
The Fiat 500 family – consists of the 500, 500X and 500L and pictured on one of Rome’s seven hills – all have been refreshed with five updated trim levels, exterior colours and interior designs. Is five too much? Probably one too many.
Last year 108,205 battery electric were sold in this country and you can guarantee that in 2021 that figure will certainly double.
I’ve just been driving the hybrid version and Fiat won’t be just keeping a 500 electric they will be running the models side by side with the hybrid version leaving for customers to make their choice.
The 1.0 litre petrol Hybrid Hatch goes from £12,770 to £16,900 with the Cabriolet version going from £15,420 to £19,550.
Comparing that to the forthcoming all-electric hatchback model the price will be from £20,000 through to £27,000 which means at least £7,000 more expensive. The electric cabriolet is from £26,000 to £30,000 and that is after the Government £3k grant is applied.
The 500 hybrid is the 1.0 litre model with a 12-volt belt driven starter generator unit.
It has a three cylinder direct injection petrol engine with a peak power output of 70 hp (51 kW) at 6,000 rpm and peak torque of 92 Nm (68 lb.ft) at 3,500 rpm. The system is mounted on the engine and is operated by the belt that also drives the auxiliaries.
The system gets back energy during braking and deceleration, stores it in a lithium-ion battery and uses it at a maximum power of 3,600 W, to restart the engine in stop & start mode and to assist it during acceleration.
This allows the internal combustion engine to switch off by shifting into neutral at speeds below 18 mph.
The mild hybrid unit uses a six speed transverse manual transmission with front-wheel drive. The petrol/electric hybrid combination makes the engine flexible even at low speeds in higher than normal fuel-saving gears.
The unit also has a battery pack and the CO2 emissions of the new petrol-hybrid unit range from 119 – 124g/km depending on the spec.
The top speed is just over the 100mph mark and 0 to 62 mph is about 14 seconds, but no-one is looking to be a speed merchant in this car. The six speed gear box is more than adequate and easy to use.
As for fuel economy the 1.0 litre hybrid will give you more than 50 mpg and the first year road tax costs £175 followed by £150 for year two and later. Company car users will pay 26% benefit-in-kind tax. Insurance is Group 8 and warranty three years or 60,000 miles.
The original 500 used to have a rear wheel engine but in 2007 things were swapped and a front wheel engine was brought in.
My ‘Rockstar’ model of the hybrid had bags of equipment including sat-nav, 15-inch alloy wheels, start & stop, central locking, rear speakers, speed limiter, airbags, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, seven inch touchscreen with DAB radio, electric adjusted door mirrors, air-con, heated rear window with wash/wiper, rear parking sensors, LED daytime running lights and a fixed glass sunroof. and chrome outside and inside trim inserts.
The Fiat 500 – one of the best fun cars on the British roads today.