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Fiat 500 0.9 TwinAir 105hp Lounge review

THE new Fiat 500. Believe it or not (as you’ll have to look closely to spot the differences!), after eight-years on sale, Fiat has updated its chic MINI-rivalling 500 hatch and convertible range.

We’re not sure it deserves the ‘new’ tag – why would you fiddle with a successful formula? – but in Fiat’s defence, they claim to have made 1,800 changes over the old car.

What’s hot?

  • Our new 500 was powered by the characterful 0.9 three-pot TwinAir engine, in more powerful 105bhp form. It’s a willing, refined and revvy engine, which works perfectly in town, but is equally happy if you head out of the city.
  • Despite being fitted with the most powerful engine in the 500 range, the 105bhp version of the 0.9 TwinAir engine should prove cheap to run, with a 67.3mpg combined consumption figure and just 99g/km emissions, meaning the chic Fiat falls into tax band A and costs nothing in VED.
  • Can this 500 make a sensible case as an SME Company car? Yes, with CO2 emissions of 99g/km, plus combined fuel consumption figure of 67.3mpg, this car falls into the 14% company car tax band for 2015/2016. Plus, this 500’s low P11D value equals a low company car tax figure of just over £30 a month.
  • Of all the modern-retro cars on sale, we think the Fiat has stayed closest to the original. Buyers appear to agree and with sales growing year on year, the new 500 is more of a light face-lift than a new model. As such, outside you’ll spot the new 500 at the front by the revised headlights and reprofiled front airdam. The airdam features a new whisker-like badge, larger 500X-like daytime running lights in the shape of the 500’s O, plus more chrome detailing. On the range-topping Lounge like our test car, there’s also a distinctive 3D, button-like grille. Move to the back and the changes are limited to new rear light clusters with a colour coded centre, plus a redesigned bumper with a lower chrome section housing the reverse and foglights.
  • Inside, the interior has received more of a refresh, rather than a totally new look. Gone is the CD/radio, to be replaced by the Uconnect infotainment system. Other changes include a new three-spoke steering wheel, a lid for the glove box and proper USB and Aux-in inputs – rather than the terrible old Microsoft system.
  • Lounge models are reasonably well-equipped with air-conditioning and rear parking sensors as standard.
  • Like the MINI, the 500 sells on its personalisation options. If you want to make this supermini truly stand out for your business, you’ll be pleased that the new car offers even more options to make this Fiat truly your own. These include two new sets of alloys in 15- and 16-inch sizes (also fitted to our test car!), two new colours and two different sorts of Second Skin options, which are a selection of graphics that run down the sides or can fully cover the top half of the car.
  • There’s enough room for two six-foot adults in the front of the 500, although the standard fixed sunroof seriously eats into the front headroom. Rear space is tight too, although the boot is surprisingly practical and spacious considering it has just 185 litres.
  • The baby Fiat feels well screwed together and we liked the retro feel to the interior trim.
  • Our test car had the optional leather trimmed new seats that not only looked good but felt luxurious. They’re definitely more comfortable too.

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