Fiat 500 Test Drive Review
2010 Fiat 500 - Click above for high resolution picture gallery

Car Tested: 2010 Fiat 500 Sports

Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 17,07,431/-

The new year parties may be playing the latest beats but nothing is complete without a bit of retro. Old retro hits always strike the right chords and add a bit of nostalgic feel to them. When we talk of cars retrospectively, quite literally speaking, the Fiat 500 immediately comes to mind. The Fiat 500 was developed by Fiat in 1957 and was one of the first city cars in that era. Powered by a 497cc two-cylinder, air-cooled engine, the 500 produced a whooping 13 bhp, yeah, 13 bhp was a big deal at that time. The 500 went to do tremendously well and exactly 50 years after it was launched, Fiat introduced the new Fiat 500 as a tribute to the successful model and it retained its retro styling. The popularity of the Fiat 500 is so immense that ace Formula 1 driver Michael Schumacher has a Fiat 500 in his collection of cars.


Exteriors – The Fiat 500 is the cutest car to ever leave, not only the Fiat factory but possibly any factory and the new generation 500 maintains the same cute feel. Drive around in a 500 and its almost impossible for people not to notice you. The looks of the 500 are based on its 50 year old predecessor but just like the Mini Cooper is modern. The small front end reminds you of a small car but the Fiat 500 is everything but that, thanks to modern mechanicals and underpinnings. The wheels fill the wheel arches well and the 500 looks rightly tyred. The 500 is almost as small as a Tata Nano but it is the cutest thing on wheels, which makes it stand apart from all other small cars.


Indians love chrome and the 500 offers it in abundance. There is alot of chrome present on the car right from the grille to the door handles and the bumpers. The 3-door makes the Fiat 500 a complete head turner and Fiat has managed to successfully make the 500 modern, keeping the retro look intact. Fiat should have offered the roof in complete black as the half black effect (due to the sunroof) does not gel well with the overall look of the car. The rear of the car is not the best angle to look at it but still looks the part.


Interiors – Step in and the retro styled dash and dials are catchy and look fabulous. The modern touch to the interiors include blue and me, a multi-information display in the centre of the speedometer. The steering feels great to hold (just like all Fiats) and the funky colours on the dashboard will make you fall in love with it, even if you are the sober types. The use of white and red colour combination in the Fiat 500 has been very tastefully done. Large sunroof allows light to pass into the cabin and is tinted to provide protection from the sun. The theme of the interior can be summarised as sporty retro.


Small yet functional instrument cluster with every feature you would find in a D-segment car.


A body coloured panel looks classic with typical dials.


Audio system provides for USB and CD with controls on the steering wheel.


Build Quality – Fiat is renowned for the build quality of their cars. Agreed that the Punto have Linea have come under criticism but the Fiat 500 is imported as a CBU and build quality is the best Fiat has to offer. No inconsistent panel gaps, fantastic fit and finish and no rattling whatsoever. Even after an gruelling all India diesel drive, our test drive car drove like new.


Ride, Handling and Braking – The Fiat 500 comes on low profile 185/55/15 tyres which offer exceptional handling and the car literally drives as if its running on rails. Ride is a bit stiff owing to the profile of the tyres but its hits the sweet spot with the handling. By virtue of being small, it easily negotiates traffic and steering, inspite of feeling heavy responds to sharp inputs and gives decent feedback at high speeds. High speed cornering is a pleasure. ABS and EBD make sure that the braking is spot on. Even in wet conditions the tyres continue to grip well.


Performance – The 500 looks harmless to competition but as we know looks can be deceptive. The 1248cc Multijet engine which powers the 500 churns out 75 bhp of power at 4000 RPM and 145 Nm of torque at 1500 RPM. Low end torque makes sure that the 500 gets off the line in a jiffy and is upto a challenge anytime. The turbo charged, inter-cooled engine is superbly refined without the hint of any clatter. Surprisingly the Swift and the Ritz, which run on the same Multijet powerplant fall leagues behind when it comes to engine refinement. Gearshift is slick and the gear ratios have been tweaked to ensure that the low end torque comes to good use.


A 0-100 kmph sprint comes in 12.57 seconds and the car hits a little more than 160 kmph on the far end of the speedometer. Most people who buy the 500 will not consider mileage as a vital factor but for those who do, the Mutlijet engine is renowned to deliver superb mileage and it does it in style. A regular city + highway figure will be anywhere between 16 – 18.5kmpl. Hit the redline and the light weight contributes to a favourable power to weight ratio and all you will feel is eternal bliss.


Conclusion – The Fiat 500 will turn heads and is a fantastic car for a even better price. Being the cheapest car in the retro segment, the Fiat 500 is a fantastic car which has an all around appeal. Its really hard not to fall in love with it. If Fiat India promotes the car well, we could see more of this cute machine on the roads. Also local assembly would help in a hefty price reduction which will ensure more 500s fly of the showrooms then they currently do.


What’s Cool

  • Ride quality
  • Stunning looks
  • Handling
  • Blue and Me
  • Accessibility of controls
  • Engine sound
  • Stability
  • Very well damped and lack of any kind of NVH
  • 2 Years unlimited mileage warranty

What’s Not So Cool

  • Tata service


Fiat 500 Specifications –

* Engine: 1248cc, 16V, Multijet, DOHC
* Power: 75 BHP @ 4000 RPM
* Torque: 145 Nm @ 1500 RPM
* Transmission: 5 speed manual
* Top Speed: 165 km/hr
* 0-100kmph: 12.50 seconds
* Fuel Consumption: 14-15 km/l (City), 18-19 km/l (highway)
* Fuel Type: Diesel
* Suspension: Independent with McPherson setup with lower wishbones anchored to a subsidiary cross member stabiliser bar connected to a shock absorber (Front), Torsion Beam (Rear)
* Tires: 185/55/15 Tubeless Radials
* Brakes: 240 mm Ventilated Disc (Front), 180 mm Drums ( Rear), ABS, EBD
* Safety: ABS, EBD, Dual SRS Front Airbags, Immobilizer With Rolling Code, Fire Prevention System
* EURO NCAP Rating: 5 Star

Fiat 500 Dimensions –

* Overall length x width x height: 3546 mm X 1627 mm X 1488 mm
* Wheelbase: 2300 mm
* Ground clearance: 160 mm
* Turning Radius – 4.6 m
* Boot Volume: 185 liters
* Fuel Tank Capacity: 35 liters
* Kerb Weight: 865 kgs