Used Fiat 500 Cars For Sale Cheltenham, Gloucester, Tewkesbury, Stroud, Cirencester, Gloucestershire.
The Fiat 500’s chassis used to be its weakest link, a choppy ride and rather ordinary handling a disappointing contrast to the polished appeal of the rest of the car. But with the debut of the soft-top 500C in 2010 came some suspension changes, mostly affecting the rear axle, which have done much to civilise this baby Fiat.
The sudden, occasionally bouncing progress – particularly acute aboard the Sport – has mostly been banished, and small bumps are absorbed without much turbulence reaching the cabin. You sometimes feel the 500’s short wheelbase as it pitches over crests and into troughs, but the effect is far less disturbing than it used to be, and even the bigger 16in wheels don’t agitate the ride too much. The suspension is also quiet, there being less crash-through and road noise than you find in some cars of this class, all of which makes the 500 easier to live with than before.
Also improved is the Fiat’s electric power steering. It’s still not much of a communicator, but at least its artificial resistance feels more real, and without too much of the straight-ahead deadness that EPAS systems often suffer. Switch to City mode and the steering feels only semi-connected, but the effort required is certainly low.
The 500 handles better now, too. It feels far more settled with the reduced bounce, and that encourages you to corner harder, as does the crisper steering.
A firm ride, in a hot hatch, is something we can put up with if the trade-off is sharp composure and handling. Here the Abarth is very good. On smooth roads it feels nailed to the surface, with little roll and a solidity that, say, a regular Mini Cooper S can’t match.
The Abarth steers well, too; the electrically assisted helm is quick, accurate and well weighted, albeit with a hint of springiness around the straight ahead and a touch of torque steer.
Residual values for the Fiat 500 have stayed strong and you should expect to get back close to half of what you paid after three years. That’s not up at Mini levels, but it’s pretty good. Other ownership costs are competitive, too. Mechanically this is a Panda underneath, and that car has proved reliable, which bodes well for the longevity of a new 500.
Fuel consumption is very reasonable from the evidence of our tests; our review average for the 1.4 of 35.8mpg is good, and even with a small 35-litre tank it gives a decent range of nearly 300 miles.
The TwinAir dodges road tax with its 95g/km of CO2 and is exempt from the London congestion charge. But the 35mpg fuel consumption we achieved in our tests is very disappointing compared with the official 68.9mpg figure, even if its performance is strong. If your annual mileage is low, that will matter less. If it’s higher, consider the Multijet diesel instead.
Abarth models claim an average economy in the mid-40s – not a bad result for a petrol-powered hot hatchback.
Unlike many convertibles where extra weight is an issue, Fiat claims identical economy and emissions figures for the 500C as the hard-top car.
Insurance groups are competitive, and although a three-year warranty is average now, the 500 is a well assembled car with a good reliability record.
The 500 is well equipped, no fewer than seven airbags helping it to score the full NCAP five stars.
The Lounge trim (the same price as the Sport, and a rung up from the base Pop) is our pick and comes with electric front windows, a fixed part-glass roof, air conditioning, a leather-rimmed wheel with controls for the stereo and a voice-activated Bluetooth system.
It’s not hard to understand the popularity of the Fiat 500. The style it exudes on the outside is carried through to its cabin; it's a charming car that also feels well built.
The 500 appeals as a finely wrought, thoroughly practical evocation of the original 500, and backs that up with a good finish and tempting customisation options. In the case of the TwinAir it appeals with advanced engineering as well, its two-cylinder engine putting out the power and torque of a diesel, but with more refinement. It makes an intriguing noise that will stir memories among those who remember old 500s. But in reality, this engine fails to get near the official consumption figures unless you drive it exceptionally carefully.
There are measurably superior hot hatchbacks to the 500 Abarth; some are quicker, or handle better, or have more power, or cost less. But after a few miles in the 500 Abarth, you begin to wonder if any of that matters a jot. The hot hatchback’s primary purpose – to put a smile on the face of its driver – is something the 500 Abarth does with the verve of few cars within twice its price.
If you like the 500, it’s hard to see why you would not like the 500C even more. Unlike so many converted hatches, it has lost none of the charm or style of its parent and, far from being worse to drive, it’s actually a slight but tangibly better steer. You get all the pleasure and none of the pain.
Apart, that is, from the price. Whether the extra is a genuine reflection of what Fiat needs to charge to maintain a sensible margin or blatant profiteering we cannot say.