Some of you may remember the original Fiat 500. Indeed, a good few of you may have owned one.
Some of you may remember the original Fiat 500. Indeed, a good few of you may have owned one. The diminutive car, designed by Dante Giacosa, was launched in 1957 and soon became one of the iconic cars of our time.
Precisely 3,893,294 of the little beauties were produced until the end of line in 1975.
So it has been a while, but the new incarnation was well worth the wait. Absolutely jam-packed with Italian chic, just sitting in the car makes you feel as if the sun is shining, the sea is blue and you are ready to take on whatever the Italian roads have to offer, even if it is a rainy day in the UK.
Fiat tells us that the new 500 is not “a car that ‘looks like’ a 500 but, rather, one that ‘could be’ a 500 again. That said, at first glance, you could be forgiven for thinking that Fiat had never ceased production of the 500 and that the new model is the simply the latest example and the result of natural progression.
The front end, with its short, snub-nosed bonnet, is now more in keeping with the rest of the modern Fiat range. It still retains the echoes of the past in the circular, upper headlights but now with separate ‘full-beam’ lights below and the cute, so-called, ‘whisker and logo’, badging, reminiscent of the 1936 Topolino - the first 500.
From the side, the blacked out B-pillars make the car look even squatter than it is, with the help of a low roofline. The rear view emphasises the wide stance, with a deep bumper that curves smoothly around to form the rearmost part of the muscular wheel arches. The tailgate sits between the small (by today’s standards) but high-visibility, taillights and features a hefty chrome handle bearing the ‘500’ logo.
The boot space may be easily accessed but only has a capacity of 185-litres. However, by folding the rear seats, this can be increased to 550-litres.
The folding function of the rear seats is a clue to how the designers at the Centro Stile managed to get so much rear legroom for such a small car. There are only two seats in the back, accessible via the wide front doors. Unfortunately, while they will easily accommodate adults, taller people may, on occasions, find their circular headrests touching the steeply raked, rear windscreen.
The driver and front passenger get the best deal and the best view, as the fascia is unlike anything you will have seen before although it may look familiar to people who lived through the 50’s. This is where you need to carefully consider the choice of exterior colour, as it will also feature heavily on the fascia.
The top and lower parts of the dash and the gear selection pod are black, while the instrument nacelle and control panels come in either Black or Ivory. In between is a deep moulded panel that stretches the full width of the fascia; this is co-ordinated with the body colour.
Fiat 500 Road Test Data
|Model Reviewed||Fiat 500 1.2 Lounge|
|Body Type||3-Door Hatchback|
|Colour||Cha Cha Azure|
|Performance (manufacturers data)|
|0 - 62 mph||12.9 Seconds|
|Top Speed||99 mph|
|Fuel Type||Unleaded Petrol|
|CO2 Emissions (NEDC Figures)||g/km|
|Economy (NEDC Figures)|
|Extra Urban||65.7 mpg|
|Euro NCAP Rating||5|
|Warranty||3-Year / 60,000 Mile Warranty|
|Price (when tested on the 24/02/08)||£9,300|