The 500 isn’t as cheap to buy as many of its rivals, many of which have more doors and more standard equipment. Discounts are available, but are smaller than you can expect on any of Fiat’s other models due to high demand.
However, the flipside of the 500’s strong desirability is that it will hold on to its value better than many of its peers.
The two-cylinder Twinair petrols will tempt those searching for low running costs. However, although the low CO2 emissions of these engines make for cheap company car tax bills, you’ll be disappointed by their real-world fuel economy, which our True MPG tests have shown to be miles short of the official government figures. We’d recommend the much cheaper 1.2 petrol to the vast majority of buyers.
Fiat 500 equipment
You can spend an awful lot of money on a Fiat 500, but it’s the cheaper trims that make the most sense. The cheapest of which is Pop, which comes with a USB, an aux-in connector, stereo controls on the steering wheel, electric front windows, remote central locking and electrically adjustable door mirrors. Air-conditioning is notable by its absence, as are alloys wheel (steel rims with plastic trims come as standard).
Next up is our favourite trim, Pop Star, which adds alloys, air-con and split-folding rear seats. Or, if you want a few more luxuries, consider Lounge trim. This brings a 5.0in touchscreen with Bluetooth, a leather steering wheel, rear parking sensors, climate control, a driver’s seat-height adjuster, along with some extra chrome detailing.
Of course, when you’ve settled on a trim, you’ll have access to a myriad of personalisation options to make your 500 stand out from the crowd, from chrome door mirrors to Italian flags emblazoned across the roof.
Fiat 500 reliability
The 500 was one of the least reliable cars in its class according to the most recent ownership satisfaction survey. Owners complained about a comparatively high number of seat and fuel cap problems, while the heating and ventilation system also caused plenty of headaches.
Like all Fiats, the 500 comes with a two-year manufacturer warranty and plus a further one-year dealer warranty. Mileage is limited to 100,000 during that three-year period, unless you plan to use the car for hire or reward (ie to rent it out or use it as a taxi), in which case the mileage limits drops to 60,000.
Fiat 500 safety & security
All models have seven airbags as standard – including a driver’s knee ’bag that’s a relatively unusual feature in this class – and the 500 was awarded the maximum five-star rating by safety body Euro NCAP. However, it’s important to stress this was under an older, less stringent set of criteria than newly launched cars are tested under.
There’s no option of a city braking system, which some rivals offer, but all versions come with stability control – an important safety aid that helps prevent you sliding off the road in slippery conditions – and a tyre-pressure monitor.
Disappointingly, though, no version comes with an alarm system; if you want one you’ll have to pay extra and have it fitted by your dealer. This explains the poor ratings awarded by Thatcham for the 500’s resistance to being stolen or broken into.
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This entry-level trim is pretty basic. You get electric front windows, remote central locking, electrically adjustable door mirrors, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, plus USB and aux-in connectors. Air-conditioning is notable by its absence, as are alloy wheels (steel rims and plastic trims come as standard). Air-con is definitely worth paying extra for, not least because it’ll make your 500 easier to sell on in the future.
Our pick Pop Star
This is our favourite trim. It gets the same kit as the entry-level Pop, plus the all-important air-conditioning, alloys, split-folding rear seats and rear-head restraints. Also included are heated, body-coloured door mirrors.
This is worth considering if you like your creature comforts, because as well as climate control and a leather-trimmed steering wheel, Lounge models also come with a 5.0in touchscreen infotainment system and Bluetooth, a fixed glass sunroof, a height-adjustable driver’s seat, rear parking sensors and fog lights. There are also body-coloured rubbing strips and extra chrome detailing.