Used Fiat Seicento Hatchback 1998 - 2004 review

Category: Small car

It's not too bad in town, but the Seicento is blessed with very little versatility

Fiat Seicento Hatchback
  • Fiat Seicento Hatchback
  • Fiat Seicento Hatchback
Used Fiat Seicento Hatchback 1998 - 2004 review
Star rating

What's the used Fiat Seicento hatchback like?

City cars aren't normally renowned for their cute looks, but this is where the Seicento steals a march on its rivals. Compared with the high-sided and boxy competition, the Seicento looks like a proper car, but in miniature.

However, there's a good reason that the competition is built that way - it gives more space inside. And, since Fiat chose to go another way, the Seicento is seriously cramped. The Seicento drives well enough if you stay in town, but its weak engines, so-so handling and patchy ride mean that it struggles everywhere else. It will hit the motorway limit, but it takes an age to get there, and is horribly noisy once it has. No version is particularly well equipped, and the base car is extremely sparse. But, perhaps the most worrying thing is the omission of basic safety kit. Well, that and the poor two-star Euro NCAP crash test results.


It's not too bad in town, but the Seicento is blessed with very little versatility

  • The little Seicento looks good and its spirited engine makes it fairly nippy in town
  • It's cramped, runs out of puff and safety equipment is conspicuous by its absence

Ownership cost

What used Fiat Seicento hatchback will I get for my budget?

How much does it cost to run a Fiat Seicento hatchback?

It was a cheap car to start with, and prices are rock bottom now that it's older. You can pick one up for significantly less than you'll pay for many other city cars.

If you can stand having such little power, the 899cc car will return an average of 46.3mpg. Don't bother, though, because the 1.1 isn't far off the mark with an average of 45.5mpg. The smaller engine will pay dividends on insurance, however, as it has a group 1 classification. The 1.1 sits in group 3. For young drivers, that's enough of a difference to make a case for the 899cc unit, provided they only use it in town. The only bad news as far as running costs are concerned are that servicing costs are expensive for a city car. Although hourly labour charges aren't outrageous at Fiat dealers, some parts are pricey and can be hard to come by.

Our recommendations

Which used Fiat Seicento hatchback should I buy?

Most early cars come with a 39bhp 899cc petrol engine, which is peppy enough around town, but quickly feels out of its depth above 40mph.

The 54bhp 1.1 in the Sporting is better, giving enough performance to make it just about useable out of town. Mind you, the word Sporting is optimistic - its performance is still very limited. In October 2000, the smaller engine was binned and all Seicentos came with the 1.1 engine, so it's best to find a car from after that date. Early cars came in S, SX, Citymatic (with a clutchless manual gearshift) and Sporting trims. The base trim had very little kit, and even the Sporting lacked some essentials. Later on, the three lowest trim levels were replaced by Mia, Active and Sound, but the only real differences were that power steering and a driver's airbag became standard across the range. So, whatever age of car you're looking for, the best advice is to buy the best specified model you can find.


What alternatives should I consider to a used Fiat Seicento hatchback?