2014 Fiat 500 Twinair 105 Cult review

  •  Range-topping version of new 500 driven in UK
  •  99g/km from 104bhp 0.9-litre Twinair engine
  •  On sale now, priced from £15,060

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The new Fiat 500 Cult is the latest in a long line of special-edition 500s designed to boost appeal until an all-new model arrives next year.

The range-topping Cult is packed with kit and is available as either a hatchback or a convertible (CC). It's also available with a new, more powerful, 104bhp Twinair petrol engine, which we're testing here.

Immediately noticeable visual enhancements include a glass/gloss black roof, black rear light surrounds, chrome detailing on the mirrors and front bumper, plus new 16-inch alloy wheels.

What's the 2014 Fiat 500 Cult like to drive?
The new 104bhp 0.9-litre two-cylinder engine offers good performance; the extra 20bhp it has over the existing version of the same engine is especially welcome at motorway speeds. It’s pleasingly nippy in town, although performance can feel distinctly flat before the turbo cuts in. Power also drops off steeply if you rev the engine to the redline.

The 500's ride is still fairly choppy, not helped by the larger 16in wheels that are standard on this model. It's nowhere near as comfortable as a Hyundai i10 or Volkswagen Up.

The Twinair motor is fairly busy and noisy, with its distinctive drone easily heard in the cabin. Some vibration can be felt throughout the cabin, too. Selecting Sport mode makes the engine even louder, especially when you rev it hard.

However, with a claimed fuel economy of 67.0mpg and CO2 emissions of just 99g/km, the 104bhp engine has obvious appeal – even if our experience with the 84bhp of the engine suggests you might be disappointed with real-world fuel economy.

The 500 Cult is also available with the existing 84bhp 0.9-litre unit, along with a 68bhp 1.2-litre petrol and a 94bhp 1.3-litre diesel.

What's the 2014 Fiat 500 Cult like inside?
The Cult sits at the top of the Fiat 500 line-up and it feels pretty plush inside. Leather seats are standard – either black with a choice of red or ivory inserts, or tobacco or red leather options, both available with ivory inserts.

Fiat claims the 500 is the first car in the segment to boast a TFT display in place of a conventional speedometer. The multi-function display incorporates a rev counter, temperature gauge, speedometer and trip computer functionality directly ahead of the driver. In models fitted with the 104bhp engine, the Sport button on the dash changes the display to incorporate a turbo boost gauge. It can also display sat-nav instructions when paired with the optional TomTom sat-nav system.

The Cult also gets a leather steering wheel with integrated controls for the stereo, climate control, rear parking sensors and Bluetooth as standard.

Should I buy one?
A lot of people choose the 500 based on its cute looks, and this top-of-the-range Cult model is perhaps the best looking of the lot. There are plenty of more talented small cars around however – particularly when this model’s £15,000 price tag is taken into account. That's Audi A1 and Mini Cooper money.

If your heart's set on a 500, though, and you want lots of standard kit, stick with the 1.2 petrol engine. It's not quite as punchy, but is much smoother and quieter and, crucially, £2000 cheaper.

What Car? says…

 

Rivals

Audi A1

Mini

 

Specification
Engine size 0.9-litre turbo petrol
Price from £15,000
Power 104bhp
Torque 107lb ft
0-62mph 10.0 seconds
Top speed 117mph
Fuel economy 67mpg
CO2 99g/km

 

 

 
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