2014 Fiat 500S 0.9 Twinair review

* Sporty-looking version of Fiat 500 city car * Tested with 92g/km, 0.9-litre Twinair engine * On sale now, priced at £12,960...

28 January 2014
2014 Fiat 500S 0.9 Twinair review

The Fiat 500 is nearing the point when it is due to be face-lifted, so it is no surprise to see a steady increase in the number of well-specified limited editions intended to tempt people to buy a current model rather than wait for the new one.

The 500S’s enhancements are largely visual, coming with a Sports kit that includes sports seats, a top rear spoiler, new side skirts, and a chrome exhaust. It also offers 15-inch alloy wheels, tinted windows and chrome door handles.

You can spec the 500S with the 95bhp 1.3-litre diesel engine, or one of two petrol engines – the 69bhp 1.2 or the 84bhp 0.9 Twinair, which is the one tested here.

What is the 2014 Fiat 500S like to drive?

With all the 500S’s enhancements concentrating on the visual elements, the special edition is little different to the standard car on the road. This means that, with the Twinair, you get an engine that is energetic and happy to rev, that feels nippy at lower speeds rather than blisteringly quick.

This nippiness means that the Fiat 500’s most natural environment is around town. The downside of the Twinair’s rev-happy nature is that it's very noisy, and there is a fair amount of vibration that kicks through the cabin as well. 

At higher speeds the ride gets bouncy and unsettled, even on the comparatively small 15-inch alloy wheels that come as standard on the 500S. It tends to wallow around corners somewhat as well.

What is the Fiat 500S like inside?

As well as the visual enhancements on the outside, the 500S gets several sporty upgrades inside. A red 500S logo and red stitching on the sports seats are the most notable ones, while a chunky sports steering wheel continues the theme.

Like the rest of the additions on the 500S, the sports seats are more for looks than any improved performance. While they look smart, and are comfortable, they don't hug you at the sides enough when you're going around corners.

You sit high in the 500, which gives you a good view of the road ahead, and the car's compact dimensions help with this. As the 500 is so small, the boot space on offer is disappointing compared with rivals, and the sloping boot line means it is an impractical shape that is suitable only for small items.

The 500S does come with split folding seats as standard, though, which helps boost practicality, but there is a large step in the floor when the seats are down.

Should I buy one?

With prices starting at £11,410 for the 500S, and this Twinair model coming in at £12,960, this is one way to get your 500 looking a bit sportier without raiding the options list. However, equally well- equipped, and in some cases better specified, rivals like the Hyundai i10 and Volkswagen Up are available for less.

Another downside is that the add-ons also boost the car's insurance rating, from an already high 10 to 12 in the case of the Twinair.

Although the CO2 emissions are impressively low at 92g/km, and qualify for a free tax disc as a result, buyers should also be aware that achieving the Twinair's claimed fuel economy of 70.6mpg is not realistic in everyday driving.

If the 500's looks appeal, then this is a cost-effective way to get a version that is a bit more stylish, but there are more competent and better-equipped models available for less.

What Car? says...

Rivals: Hyundai i10

Volkswagen Up

Fiat 500S 0.9 Twinair

Engine size 0.9-litre turbo petrol

Price from £12,960

Power 84bhp

Torque 107lb ft

0-62mph 11.0 seconds

Top speed 107mph

Fuel economy 70.6mpg

CO2 92g/km