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Italians champion small car world, not our World Cup.
8:10pm Tuesday 29th June 2010 in Test Drives
Chirpy, cute, quirky are just a few words that spring to mind when you first set eyes on this dinky little car. You can’t help but have a smile on your face seeing this – it’s adorable. As a small car, this has to be the happiest in its class.
But it’s not that small, the Fiat 500 is surprisingly roomier inside than the Mini and you bizarrely have a feeling of being quite high up when seated. It’s quirky but not all that quirky having acute resemblances to it’s now classic predecessor. The circular headlamps that fashioned its sincere little face back in the 1950’s coupled with the smile-like expression evoked by the chrome strip on its nose are just a few of the external references to that of the cute yet more boxey 1950’s version.
As for drive quality in the Fiat 500 C, well from a 69bhp 1.2 litre engine – what do you expect? You don’t get the same, "woo hoo lets go" feeling that the look of this car gives you but unless you buy the feisty Arbath version of the 500 – you ain’t buying this car for speed. You’re buying it for a feeling of when the roof is down, you drive off, put your sunnies on and wave out of the roof with a “ciao for now” to your chums.
The short wheel base of the car means that you feel most bumps on the road but you’re not going that quickly anyway and it somewhat adds to the fun of driving it – the car behaves as chirpily as it looks. With an estimated 70% of purchasers being female and the rest being more akin to Wayne Sleep than Wayne Rooney it’s perfect for the pop-tastic generation of drivers around town (so much so that although mine was the ‘Lounge’ model – you can also get the lower spec but equally fun ‘Pop’ version).
The 500 is a neat little car all round. An NCAP rating of 5 means that its tip top for safety, you’ve got 7 airbags (one even for your knee, if the unthinkable happens) and its got one of the lowest CO2 emissions of any soft top on the market – it’s a winning car all round. Even if Rooney and his chums did let us down - driving this, you won’t care about that.
Under the bonnet: 1242cc, 4cyl , 69bhp @ 5500rpm, 75 lb ft @ 3000rpm
Transmission: Five-speed manual
Performance: 0-62mph: 12.9sec Fuel: 55.4mpg (combined cycle)
In showrooms: Now
Thank you to Guest Fiat Willenhall, Armstrong Way, Willenhall, West Midlands. WV13 2QU Tel: 01902 544200