Advertisement

‘A decade on, the Fiat 500 is still going strong’

Editor Graham Hope pays homage to the Fiat 500 city car ten years after its first road test

The pace of change in the industry is ferocious, as this week’s issue again testifies. But amid the hi-tech development, is there a more remarkable car on sale than the Fiat 500? Incredibly, it was 10 years ago this week that we first tested the then new 500. The reborn city car lost out to the MINI, but impressed sufficiently for us to say: “It signifies a new era for Fiat.”

Advertisement - Article continues below

Our reasoning was perfectly simple. “It’s a machine that makes people smile when they see it; even those who don’t have much interest in cars,” our test reflected. History has proven just how spot-on that assessment was.

The best city cars to buy

A decade and one major facelift – in 2015 – down the line, what is ostensibly the same car continues to find buyers with ease, even though it is now some way off the pace dynamically in its class. A total of 35,149 were bought in the UK last year, down from a peak of 44,006 in 2014, but still extremely healthy for a car that is now so long in the tooth.  

As Fiat celebrates the 60th anniversary of the launch of the original 500, it deserves praise for such a successful rebirth. Redesigning a classic is no easy task, as Volkswagen will testify with the Beetle.

But Fiat must also start thinking about what it’ll do when it comes to replacing the current car. Strong sales or not, it can’t go on forever, and there are surely only so many special editions one model can inspire. The company has been quiet on its plans, but I’d imagine we’ll likely see something new by 2019.

And what to expect? When I last spoke to global boss Olivier François, he told me the 500 is “more relevant than ever because it is a city car and people are hungry for urban mobility solutions. Because it is our golden goose, we’re very protective of it”. You can deduce from that, then, that whatever is in store will in no way risk ending one of motoring’s most enduring success stories.

Are you a fan of the Fiat 500? Let us know in the comments area below!

Advertisement
Advertisement

Recommended

Visit/fiat/500/106228/new-2020-fiat-ev-pics-specs-release-date
Fiat 500

New 2020 Fiat 500 EV: popular city car switches to electric power

The new Fiat 500 EV will take on the MINI Electric and Honda e with a range of 199 miles
4 Mar 2020
Visit/fiat/500
Fiat 500 front
Fiat 500

Fiat 500 review

Still fashionable and fun, but the three-door Fiat 500 isn’t as practical as some city car rivals
14 Feb 2020
Visit/fiat/500/108800/fiat-confirms-pricing-for-new-500-and-panda-hybrid-ranges
Fiat 500 hybrid - front
Fiat 500

Fiat confirms pricing for new 500 and Panda Hybrid ranges

New low emission Fiat 500 city car starts from £12,655, while Panda Hybrid sibling is priced from £13,855
24 Jan 2020
Visit/abarth/500/108093/limited-edition-abarth-695-70th-anniversario-launched
Abarth 695 70th Anniversario - front action
Abarth 500

Limited Edition Abarth 695 70th Anniversario launched

Abarth has built a special version of the 695 to commemorate its 70th Anniversary – and it’s fitted it with an adjustable rear wing
4 Oct 2019

Most Popular

Visit/modern-classics/351953/most-wanted-cars-2020-poll
News

Most Wanted Cars 2020: poll

Decide which classic car you would most want to see brought back from the dead by an all new model
27 Mar 2020
Visit/features/351947/30-brilliant-boredom-beaters-car-fans
Features

30 brilliant boredom beaters for car fans

Stay at home, stay safe and enjoy some pure automotive escapism in the form of the very best content from Dennis Publishing’s leading car brands.
27 Mar 2020
Visit/news/351950/global-temporary-shutdown-car-factories-could-actually-benefit-manufacturers-and
News

'The temporary shutdown of car factories could benefit manufacturers and customers'

With car factories around the world closing temporarily, it may give manufacturers the chance to clear out the current backlog of unsold new cars, say…
28 Mar 2020