What Car? Green Awards 2010 - Superminis
It's no surprise that Fiat’s brilliant 500 has won this category for the second year in a row. Nothing else in this class can mix such style, affordability and fun with such green credentials.
Read our review of the Fiat 500 1.2 Pop
Last year, stop-start technology was available on only one model, but Fiat has now added the system to every 1.2-litre petrol-engined 500 (and the 99bhp 1.4, too), so the entire range is cleaner and greener. We still think the entry-level Pop trim makes the most sense.
It keeps costs as low as possible, but although it’s cheap to buy, even this most basic 500 has the ability to make you feel a million dollars.
Impossible not to love
The 500’s chic, retro exterior is impossible not to love, and it’s just as appealing inside, with a cheerful and colourful dashboard. The materials used are a cut above, too, with exquisite details and a user-friendly layout. There’s lots of space upfront, and although rear legroom is tight and the boot is small, the 500 will still take four people and their luggage.
Admittedly, the car isn’t quite as exciting to drive as it is to look at, but it’s good enough. The light steering is perfect for city driving, and hitting a switch makes it lighter still, so parking is a doddle. The ride’s a bit firm, but the payoff comes at speed, with the 500 feeling very composed on faster roads. The 1.2 petrol engine doesn’t feel out of its depth, either. There may be only 68bhp to play with, but performance is lively and the car is impressively refined.
Crucially, thanks partly to the slick stop-start system, the engine’s also very efficient. Average fuel economy is only a fraction short of 60mpg, and CO2 emissions of just 113g/km make the 500 good for the environment and your bank balance. For the first year of ownership you’ll pay no road tax, while company car tax is just £15 per month for 20% taxpayers. A group 5 rating means that it costs peanuts to insure and, in the long run, the 500’s must-have image pays dividends – after three years, it’ll still be worth a mighty 47% of its list price.
Admittedly, many buyers will end up bumping up the 500’s price with options. Standard kit includes seven airbags, remote central locking and electric front windows, but air-conditioning costs £510 more and alloy wheels will set you back a further £310. That’s before you look at the huge array of ways you can personalise your 500 with exterior upgrades, decals or plusher interior trim. Even if you spend more on such extras, your conscience can remain clear as you’ll still have a car that’s greener and better value for money than most.
Green car fact file: superminis
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