Fiat 500 review - fashion victim or stylish mover? - Prices, specs and rivals

Retro charm offensive that’s inoffensive to drive

Evo rating
Price
from £11,050
  • Retro charm, reasonably inexpensive, compact, did we say charming?
  • Too compact, a bit too charming, more fun to look at than actually drive

Prices, Specs and Rivals

Three standard trim levels are offered; at least today that’s true, as Fiat changes the 500 range by adding special editions and suchlike as frequently as the Kardashians go shopping.

Currently, the core models stand at Pop, Pop Star, and Lounge. The former is apparently 'a car with casual style', the middle option a 'smash hit' and Lounge is 'elegant and chic at first sight'. There's a range of other trim levels available too: Cult, Vintage '57 (which does a good job of echoing the car's 1950s roots) and the designer-orientated Ron Arad Edition. It may be a modern-day 500, but in special edition terms it's more like a 1980s Rover Mini.

Prices start at £11,050 for a Pop, though really you’ll need to spend a bit more if you want more than the very basics, as it does without air conditioning or alloy wheels.

Fiat has recently announced the availability of a new 500S model in the range, which is about as sporty as the 500 gets without opting for the full Abarth model. The S gets the same range of engines as any other 500, so it's not quite a dedicated warm-hatch version, but there's a sporty sub-Abarth bodykit, some unique alloy wheels and a sportier take on the retro interior. It starts at £12,950 for a 1.2-litre petrol but the one you'd want is the 104bhp TwinAir, which starts at £14,730.

Rivals were once an earnest bunch of dreary city cars, though since the 500’s launch there’s been a real explosion in small, fun cars. Volkswagen’s Up, the Renault Twingo and both those cars' close relations - the SEAT Mii and Skoda Citigo, and the Smart Fortwo and Forfour - not to mention offerings from Peugeot, Citroen, Toyota and a host of others, make the 500’s job a bit more difficult.

The Vauxhall Adam offers similar levels of personalisation, while the Mini and Volkswagen Beetle, although in a different price category altogether, could be considered alternatives if you’re sold on the retro vibe. Of all those, it's the Mini that offers the best driving experience.

Most Popular

Driving MST’s stunning Mk1 Ford Escort recreation – car pictures of the week
MST Mk1 Ford Escort – front
Features

Driving MST’s stunning Mk1 Ford Escort recreation – car pictures of the week

In the latest issue of evo, we get behind the wheel of the glorious MST Mk1 – here are some of our favourite shots…
18 Feb 2024
Toyota GR Yaris v Audi S1 – four-wheel-drive hatches go head-to-head
Toyota GR Yaris v Audi S1
Group tests

Toyota GR Yaris v Audi S1 – four-wheel-drive hatches go head-to-head

They’re two dinky performance cars with startlingly similar recipes, but how does the decade-old Audi S1 compare to today’s much-hyped Toyota GR Yaris…
17 Feb 2024
Alpine A290 prototype review – first taste of the electric hot hatch
Alpine A290 prototype
Reviews

Alpine A290 prototype review – first taste of the electric hot hatch

evo drives Alpine’s highly anticipated hot hatch in prototype-form as it concludes cold-weather testing in Sweden
22 Feb 2024