The interior layout, fit and finish
Driving position and dashboard
There’s no height-adjustable driver’s seat if you opt for entry-level Pop trim, and although Fiat claims you'll find one on Lounge and up, in reality the lever on the side of your chair merely changes the angle of its base, not how high it sits.
The driving position is further compromised by a steering wheel that adjusts for height but not reach, preventing many people getting comfortable behind the wheel. In fairness though, this is an issue that also affects most of the 500’s rivals, including the Kia Picanto and Volkswagen Up.
Still, at least the 500’s heater controls are relatively straightforward to use. The gearlever is mounted conveniently high up on the dashboard, too, where it’s within easy reach.
Visibility, parking sensors and cameras
The 500 isn’t as easy to see out of as its boxier Fiat Panda sibling – nor the Hyundai i10 or Up for that matter. Its front screen pillars are relatively wide and there's a pretty poor view out of the back, too. However, at least the extremities of the car are easy enough to judge.
Rear parking sensors are standard from Lounge trim and up, and take some of the guesswork out of reversing. These are available as an option on entry-level Pop trim.
Sat nav and infotainment
Go for entry-level Pop trim and you get an extremely basic stereo that consists of a small screen surrounded by a handful of buttons. It's the sort of thing you'd expect to find in a Ford Fiesta from the early 2000s. That said, you do get a DAB radio, a USB socket and a multi-function steering wheel.
Every model from Lounge trim upwards gets a 7.0in touchscreen with Bluetooth, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring. The screen is positioned conveniently high up on the dashboard, and is relatively easy to use. However, its angle gives it a nasty habit of reflecting sunlight, so it can be tricky to see on bright days.
Visually, the plastics and fabrics used in the 500’s interior suit its retro image. The face of even the cheapest Pop model’s dashboard is finished the same colour as the outside of the car – a feature that really livens things up. The result is an interior that’s as bright and bubbly as a children’s TV presenter, and a real contrast to the drab dashboards of its rivals.
You won’t find any soft-touch plastics, though, and overall build quality isn’t quite on a par with the rival Kia Picanto or Volkswagen Up – but the 500’s interior doesn’t feel at all cheap or shoddily assembled.
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