So why might you become smitten by the Italian maker’s diminutive city car?
#1 Personality plusFiat took a leaf out of MINI’s book by offering a retro take on an old classic. In MINI’s case it was of course the 1950s original Mini, in Fiat’s it was the original 500 that sold for several years between 1957 and 1975.
The chance to own a distinctive retro styled car bang up to date with modern car tech is a strong draw. Prices to buy new are competitive, while leasing deals, where you pay a set and agreed amount every month, are also proving popular.
#2 Fun and flairThe distinctive looks hint at fun, and that’s what the 500 offers on the road. With its light weight and a range of peppy engines, it makes brisk progress around town and on twisty country roads.
The 0.9 litre TwinAir is a highly recommended engine option over the entry level 1.2 litre version (yes, the smaller engine is the more powerful). For more performance the 1.4 litre 135bhp Abarth or even more powerful Competizione version turns the 500 into a genuine pocket rocket.
The weak point of the 500 used to be its handling and ride, but since 2010 things have improved with changes to the suspension and steering making the car more comfortable and much sharper to drive. A raft of detail changes and increased customisation options introduced in 2015 freshened the 500 up.
#3 Frugality as StandardThe 500 holds its value very well so if buying outright you’ll get a good chunk of your money back when you sell. Fuel economy is good with near 50 mpg in mixed use available from the 0.9 TwinAir, and this model also avoids road tax with emissions of just 95g/km of CO2.
Insurance costs are competitive with other city cars.
#4 Customisation in 500,000 StepsWith equipment and personalisation options there are over 500,000 different ways of specifying your 500 with a plethora of paintwork and colour contrast options and interior touches to choose from. That’s a bit different to the one engine and two seats-only specification of the 1950s original.
#5 Sunny Side UpFancy a convertible? The 500 can go topless with its folding soft top roof.
#6 Characterful interiorThe car’s cheeky charm extends to the interior; a body colour dash, simple yet effective instrument cluster and switchgear and gear stick mounted high on the dash present a unique yet practical interior. The white steering wheel is a popular choice.
#7 Well built with advanced engineeringThe 500 isn't just a pretty face; it’s a well built and carefully engineered car designed to not only put a smile on your face but be a practical owning proposition day to day.
The engine technology deserves a special mention; the TwinAir offers diesel-like power and torque while offering petrol engine levels of refinement.
The 500 is the sort of car that its owners fall in love with thanks to its distinctive and eye catching styling and classy interior. More and more people crave some individuality in the car they drive, and the little Fiat delivers it in spades.