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What Car? says

4 out of 5 stars

For Iconic styling, easy to drive in town

Against Not the best to dynamics; limited space inside

Verdict A great, stylish city car, but it falls short of rivals

Go for… 1.4 Sport

Avoid… 1.2 Pop

Fiat 500 Hatchback
  • 1. Most buyers will look to the 99bhp 1.4-litre petrol model. It's far from fast, but still manages to feel nippy.
  • 2. The 1.4-litre petrol and 1.3-litre diesel models also come with stability control as standard, while engine Stop and Start was introduced to all non-Abarth models in early 2010.
  • 3. Want something a bit more nippy, check out the 1.4 T-Jet Abarth with either 133bhp or 157bhp.
  • 4. Despite its solid feel the interiors of some cars have suffered with items of trim falling off and rattles and squeaks appearing.
  • 5. A great city car with plenty of panache, but make sure you don't get carried away and pay over the odds.
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Fiat 500 Hatchback full review with expert trade views

The current Fiat 500 reinvents one of the most iconic cars of the '60s, in the same way that BMW did with the Mini. Cute styling, bags of personality and lots of kerb appeal make it a sure-fire hit on the used car market.

Urban streets are where the 500 excels, with its nimble handling and light steering. On faster roads its limitations become more apparent because of its nervous and unsettled ride. The 500's refinement also suffers as the speed builds, with wind- and road noise becoming increasingly irritating. At least the engines aren't too noisy, though.

The retro cabin is almost as good to look at as the exterior, with plenty of neat design touches. It's also well built using quality materials. All models come with front, side, curtain and knee airbags as standard, as do ISOFIX child-seat mounting points. The 500 has a five-star Euro NCAP crash test rating.

The current incarnation is bigger than the original 500, but is still compact by today's standards. There's good passenger space in the front, but the back is cramped for adults. The boot isn't great either, but it is bigger than that of its arch rival – the Mini.

Trade view

The 500 is one of the few cars that looks good in white, but you should avoid the bright yellow paint to protect future values.

Matt Sanger
What Car?'s Used Car Editor

Most buyers will look to the 99bhp 1.4-litre petrol model. It's far from fast, but still manages to feel nippy. The 69bhp 1.2-litre petrol engine is adequate if you really can't afford the more powerful car. Diesel fans will opt for the 75bhp 1.3 Multijet, or the 94bhp unit that was introduced in early 2010.

The range starts with the Pop model, which comes with power steering, electric front windows, an MP3/CD stereo, and colour-coded bumpers and body trim. Sport models get air-con, alloy wheels and Bluetooth phone connectivity, while Lounge trim has a fixed glass roof and split folding rear seats.

The 1.4-litre petrol and 1.3-litre diesel models also come with stability control as standard, while engine Stop&Start was introduced to all non-Abarth models in early 2010, to improve fuel economy and lower emissions.

For those wanting something a bit more nippy, check out the 1.4 T-Jet Abarth with either 133bhp or 157bhp. It's fun and fast, but the ride is too firm and the steering needs more feel.

Trade view

A great city car with plenty of panache, but make sure you don't get carried away and pay over the odds.

Matt Sanger
What Car?'s Used Car Editor

The 500's popularity will ensure that cars hold more of their original value as they age – making them a sound purchase as long as you don't pay over the odds in the first place.

Diesel models don't have noticeably better resale values over petrol models, but will save on fuel costs. The 1.2-litre has an official average of 55.4mpg (58.9mpg with Stop&Start), the 1.4-litre 46.3mpg (48.7mpg with Stop&Start), the 1.3 diesel 67.3mpg (72.4mpg with Stop&Start) while the Abarths manage 43.4mpg.

Road tax for a 500 shouldn't prove expensive. The 1.2 litre petrol emits just 119g/km (99g/km with Stop&Start) of CO2, with the 1.4-litre emitting 140g/km (135g/km with Stop&Start) and the diesel just 110g/km (104g/km with Stop&Start). Insurance is a similar story with cars in groups 3-6. Only the Abarths reach double digits, in group 13 and 14.

Servicing costs are in line with other models in the Fiat range, and similar to rivals' cars. Look out for models with the transferable three-year, 27,000-mile service plan that will help keep your maintenance bills down. This covers all standard service items, but not wear and tear parts such as brakes and clutches.

Trade view

The 500 is one of the few cars that looks good in white, but you should avoid the bright yellow paint to protect future values.

Matt Sanger
What Car?'s Used Car Editor

Historically Fiat hasn't had the best reputation for reliability, but the 500 is performing well to date. It uses proven engines from the Fiat Panda, as well as sharing major components with Ford's latest Ka supermini.

Problems reported to date include the diesel engine failing and the engine warning light coming on – which requires an immediate trip to the dealer to solve.

Despite its solid feel the interiors of some cars have suffered with items of trim falling off and rattles and squeaks appearing. The paintwork can mark easily – with black and bright red models appearing to be especially at risk.

A large number of 500s have been used as driving instructor's cars. Although this shouldn't be a problem if the car is well maintained, it could shorten the life of components such as the clutch.

Trade view

A great city car with plenty of panache, but make sure you don't get carried away and pay over the odds.

Matt Sanger
What Car?'s Used Car Editor
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