The Fiat 500 has proven to be incredibly popular since its release in 2008, with its retro-inspired aesthetic wrapped in a modern package, the 500 answered the call for a funky yet still relatively practical city car.
In a trend pioneered by MINI, the 500 could be personalised to one’s content with two different body styles (a hatch and cabriolet) plus a multitude of bright paint colours, alloy wheels and trim highlights in addition to a range of different decals and accessories.
Initially available with 1.2 and 1.4-litre petrol engines as well as a 1.3-litre diesel, during 2009 Fiat added a 1.2-litre fitted with a fuel-saving stop-start system, along with a 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol with 135bhp in the Abarth hot-hatchback version.
In 2010, a 0.9-litre TwinAir petrol engine was introduced, getting its name from the two-cylinder layout. Despite its small size, power was an adequate 70kW and an even more powerful version arrived in 2014. Also in 2010, the 1.3-litre Multijet diesel was given a power boost to 70kW.
The 500 is available with a manual or “automatic” transmission with the manual shifter action being relatively light and precise. Unfortunately this is a far cry from the less-than-satisfactory Dualogic “automatic” transmission which seems to be incapable of delivering either a smooth or engaging driving experience, regardless of which variant you choose.
While fundamentally available in three trim levels (Pop, Lounge and Sport), Fiat has added numerous special editions and collaboration models since the 500 launched. While we understand the appeal of a special or limited edition, it’s important to check exactly what kit comes with each version. For example, the recent 500 S added fairly substantial changes, including a bodykit and sporty interior add-ons.
The 500 received a mid-life facelift in 2015 with trim updates and new exterior styling, including redesigned headlights and bumpers. However, the update was very subtle and the 500 still looks similar to the original.