Fiat 500 ticks all my boxes for style, function and price, and NO this isn’t a paid advertisement, the 500 truly left an impression. At $AU14,ooo you get a lot of little car. The closest European is the Soviet styled VW UP, and I dare you to find a Japanese or Korean model with this much pizaz.
This slick little city-car has been around since 2007 – and I’ve loved it that long – the latest upgrades, updates and slight remodelling go well beyond it’s emotional curves, 500 has kept pace with ‘what we expect’ from a new car, the smile you get driving this car still astounds me.
While I’m on the disclosure thingy, I must admit to convincing a girlfriend she needed a 500 Rockstar – sorry, think you’ve missed that gem – but keep your eye on the Fiat site for great limited edition models fiat.com.au ::::
500 was first announced in early 2006, and the first images were released in March 2007. The car was launched officially on July 4, 2007, with 250,000 people in attendance. The largest auto launch-party held in the last decade, a testament to the 500’s huge popularity.
From every angle, looking out from inside and perving from the street, this little gem evokes a smile. It’s beyond simply cute, 500 has a lasting look, a sure future classic.
The interior is not only a bunch of fun, it’s functional, comfortable, my only criticism is the seats are a little flat in the Pop, this is however resolved in the S, Lounge and Gucci. Perhaps my bum needs more padding?
The painted dash pays tribute to the original bare-bones 500, in this latest incarnation there’s a proper sense of build quality, comfort and modernity than its name-sake ever delivered.
The seating position is comfortable – even for taller drivers – standard inclusions mean first-time buyers don’t miss out just because of a tight budget. The windows are electric, there’s electric power steering, a height adjustable front seat, plenty of storage – clever cubby-holes and the rear seats fold down to liberate a surprising amount of boot space. 500 Pop is more than capable of swallowing gym bags, shopping or small dogs.
Dualogic option is an extra $1500
Cabrio versions tack-on $3900.
What’s Your Hard Earned Buy?
All models are kitted with class-leading 7 airbags, ABS, ESP, remote central locking, power windows and mirrors, daytime running lights, leather-rimmed steering wheel, Dualdrive steering, which alters steering ratio to make parking finger-tip easy, and Blue and Me, a Windows-based connectivity system that uses Bluetooth technology and has voice recognition. Ooh, the 500 has a Euro NCAP five-star safety rating.
The design of the 500 was based on the Fiat Trepiuno concept introduced at the 74th Geneva Motorshow in 2004. The Trepiuno was designed by Fiat Stile Centre by Roberto Giolito. The concept featured the now distinctive retro-look – resembling the original Fiat 500 – which proved to be an enormously practical and popular vehicle throughout Europe from the 1950s to 70s.
Pop and you get a responsive 1.2-litre petrol engine, a slick shift five-speed manual transmission. A 1.4-litre engine is available as well as a robotised manual – an auto, but not as we know it – we had a lot more fun driving the smaller motor and manual gearbox combo. The 1.2 litre motor sniffs petrol, 5.0 litres per 100km.
Pop has a trip computer, height-adjustable driver’s seat, a folding rear seat, this chunky little monster stomps around on 14-inch steel wheels. The retro-dash is colour-coded to the exterior paint, interior can be customised. Most of the driving data is shown in concentric gauges in one big dial.
The Sport slaps on a body kit, rear spoiler, sports seats, a button that changes throttle and steering response, sports flat-bottomed steering wheel, larger brakes, fog lights, tinted glass and 15-inch alloys.
The Lounge has a fixed glass sunroof, climate control, an engine stop-and-start function. And the Gucci adds in full leather trim, 16-inch alloys, chromed mirrors, an identifying stripe and xenon headlights.
The simplicity of pricing was a huge plus for us.
The 1.2-litre engine is a bunch of fun at any speed, it’s snappy, spirited and super perky, but never rough. Around town it’s a nimble performer, it’s quiet at highway speeds, with just enough of that fun engine-note to keep you entertained. The manual gearbox is excellent, a clever spread of ratios make for a well balanced, fun drive. Running around the city is just as much fun as touring the open road. Clutch action is easy enough for novice drivers, delivering enough resistance for the more experienced driver too. Did I mention the ADR fuel claim? a scant 5.0 litres per 100km, check the end of the post for detailed consumption.
We – tall gf and I – took the 500 for a spin down the infamous Great Ocean Road, giving a proper work-out on all sorts of tarmac. It’s a lot of fun, brilliant at high revs and unlike many pocket cars, 500 is a dream on harder roads.
I have to admit, I love the attention this car gets, perhaps it was the occupants – two girls having fun – but I reckon it’s got more to do with the cheeky Italian design, 500 oozes smiles, and it’s unabashed at showing off it’s sexiness.
While 500 isn’t a sports car, it offers almost as much fun, the suspension deals well with bumps and is stiff enough to maintain a tightness, it just clings to the road so nicely.
There’s no denying, 500 was designed as a city car, it’s very cool to know that it’s as much fun roaming the rural landscape as it is dealing with commuter hell, and did I mention the smile value?
OK, so downsides… The first is the lack of a capped-price service offer – come-on Fiat!? – the other is the warranty, 3 years or 100,000 kilometres isn’t the most competitive. Considering the car is aimed squarely at youngsters, you’d think the enticement of no-worry motoring would have been higher on the list?
Other Reviewers Said:
Sally Dominguez from DRIVE: “Now that I’m not in it, I’m missing that happy little Fiat. It has hooked me.”
Trent Nikolic from MYNRMA: “The ride around town is refined and composed enough to handle Melbourne’s tram tracks and pot holes with aplomb, never banging or crashing over obstacles”
Billy Buys from Cars Guide: “The car has a typical secure ‘Euro feel’ about it and the cabin is a pleasant place to be in. The Sport is a lively number, clings to the road like a cat to axminster and is a delight on road and track.”
Conclusion: The Fiat 500 Pop is brilliant value, a great buy. My recommendation would be to spend a couple of extra dollars for the 500s, I doubt there’s a car out there that offers such good value, quality, style and smiles. I’m in love with the 2013 Fiat 500!
|0.9 TwinAir :
|4.9 L/100 km
4.6 L/100 km
|3.7 L/100 km
3.6 L/100 km
|4.1 L/100 km
4.0 L/100 km
|6.4 L/100 km
6.2 L/100 km
|4.3 L/100 km||5.1 L/100 km
5.0 L/100 km
|8.2 L/100 km
7.3 L/100 km
|5.2 L/100 km||6.3 L/100 km
6.0 L/100 km