Review: Fiat 500C Dolcevita Hybrid
The expression horses for courses is one that is very relevant when it comes to deciding which car to buy.
What may be the perfect choice for a family of five would not suit a newly-qualified driver wanting to stamp their personality on their first set of wheels.
The diminutive Fiat 500, the object of this week’s test is a case in point.
It is certainly not a typical family car, does not have a lot of room inside and an engine more suitable for the city, but it has so much charm, these potential drawbacks are often overlooked.
Loathe as I am to use the epithet ‘cute’ it really is. So much so that when the first of the (modern) cars were launched in 2008 some owners stuck eyelashes on top of the headlights!.
If personalisation is your thing - eyelashes aside - there are thousands of ways you can make your Fiat 500 your own.
From a long list of funky exterior and interior colours and trims to options and accessories to make life on board safer and more comfortable, there are literally thousands to go at - no two 500s are likely to be the same.
I must admit to also liking the Fiat 500 and have done so ever since I got to drive a left-hand drive example just before the UK launch.
I’m not the only one. The UK really took to the 500, in 2012, just four and a half years since it had been launched Fiat announced sales had reached 100,000.
There’s something about jumping in and nipping out in it, weaving through traffic and sneaking into tight parking spaces that I love.
The seats are not the most comfortable of but it’s hardly the sort of car you’d expect to spend eight hours in on a road trip to Scotland so they are perfectly adequate.
Don’t expect to cram four six-foot-tall rugby players into your 500 though. Those in the back would struggle to get comfy as headroom is limited and knees will bash against the backs of the front seats.
The boot is tiny so if you're planning a big shop or a trip to the airport with luggage you’ll need to ditch your rear seat passengers and fold the seats down.
Fiat’s infotainment system is not the most intuitive but persevere and you’ll soon get used to it. Although, in common with many others I tend to just plug my phone and use Apple CarPlay for the majority of functions.
Our car came equipped with a smooth three-cylinder one-litre mild hybrid engine with 69bhp.
It proved very economical, coming in at 55mpg against an official 58.9mpg and with CO2 emissions of 109g/km and acceleration from 0-62mph in 13.8 seconds.
We had the range-topping Dolcevita (Italian for Sweet Life) and it had plenty of kit including air conditioning, and cruise control.Our Dolcevita cabriolet is priced at £18,0850 so to conclude, the 500 is reasonably cheap to buy and run, easy to live with and enables you to stamp your mark on it in a myriad of different ways.
Fiat 500C Dolcevita Hybrid
Price: £18,085 (£18,435 as tested)
Engine: 1.0-litre, three-cylinder
Transmission: six-speed manual
Top speed: 104mph
0-62mph: 13.8 seconds
CO 2 emissions:109/km