I want to give my daughter a car for her birthday. Is the Fiat 500 any good?

fiat 500

The Fiat 500 has been a smash hit for the Italian company. Helped by a funky image plus the ability to make every model look different to the ones that have gone before, it makes a great used car buy. However, there are some things to watch out for. Read on to find out what.

The Fiat 500 is a best seller

The new 500 was first launched in 2007 and has gone onto become a best-seller. That means there are plenty of used versions for sale. Our reader wants to spend no more than £12,000 on a car.

What that means to the used car buyer

That budget for a Fiat 500 gives plenty of choice. In fact, we found some models for sale that were brand new, pre-registered cars. It means that our buyer can choose pretty much the perfect engine and trim for their requirements. They may have to compromise on colour, but only because the 500 is available in so many different shades.

It’s well worth shopping around for the best deal. We found multiple very tempting offers with significant discounts on brand-new cars.

fiat 500

Which is the best Fiat 500 to buy?

The great thing about the small Fiat is that it represents affordable chic. And it’s always been a much cheaper alternative to other retro models such as the MINI or VW Beetle. Part of the 500’s success was down to the massive choice of offering.

Not only are there various wheel designs and trim levels, buyers can also choose decals to give their car a personal touch. Of course, that might not chime with every used buyer but at least you won’t be buying a me-too model.

We’d avoid going for entry-level models and instead choose mid-range versions. You’ll find a bit more standard equipment.

As far as engines go, the two-cylinder TwinAir sounds great but you’ll have to work it had to get anywhere and that will have a dramatic impact on economy. The 1.2 in earlier cars is a bit gutless, making the 1.4 petrol the pick of the bunch. There’s also now a 1.0-litre ‘mild’ hybrid. It’s not a proper electric car but it helps with economy. Whichever model you choose, you should be looking at 40-50mpg.

What the Fiat 500 doesn’t do so well

In a nutshell: space. The Fiat 500’s boot is tiny and room in the back seats isn’t exactly generous. There have also been complaints about the car’s reliability so buying a new model with a healthy manufacturer warranty may not be such a bad idea.

And over its lifetime, there have been various recalls so make sure the work on these has been carried out. You’ll find out on this website.

fiat 500

Verdict

The Fiat 500 makes a great used buy if you’re after a small, stylish city car. There’s plenty to choose from and for a budget that will only buy a used example of some models, you’ll manage to get a brand-new 500. And if you do get a used model, ensure it’s had any recall work done and check the service history.