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Fiat 500 Hybrid - Engines, performance and drive

It’s easy to drive and fun in the right conditions, but the 500 Hybrid lacks the refinement and dynamic ability of newer city cars

Overall Auto Express Rating

3.0 out of 5

Engines, performance and drive Rating

3.8 out of 5

Price
£15,719 to £18,275
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​The Fiat 500 Hybrid is very simple to drive, but that doesn't mean it's not enjoyable. The steering is light while the handling is nimble and fun around town. The ride is soft, though, which means there is quite a bit of body roll in the corners. There’s also a limited amount of feel from the steering.

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If you are a taller driver, you may feel rather enclosed as the driving position is quite high. Combined with a slightly awkward clutch and notchy, imprecise gearbox, this means that the 500 Hybrid is not as easy to get along with as many of its newer rivals. You’ll find its charms wear a little thin when driving at speed, too, but considering its town-dwelling focus, it’s adequate enough.

Engines, 0-60 acceleration and top speed

The 500 Hybrid is powered by a 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine that doesn’t follow the modern trend for turbocharging, creating an unusual combination of naturally aspirated power and electrified assistance. This car is only a mild-hybrid, though, rather than a full one.

Fiat claims a top speed of 104mph and a 0-62mph time of 13.8 seconds but, while those figures are hardly electrifying, the 500 Hybrid never encourages drivers to explore the outer realms of the limited performance envelope. On the move, the 69bhp three-pot requires plenty of revs to deliver its best. Although it doesn’t feel quite as laboured as the old 1.2-litre petrol engine, it still isn’t exactly refined. Outside the city limits, you need to thrash it quite hard to maintain speed, which soon becomes tiring. 

The hybrid tech is so mild as to be barely discernible in everyday driving, and there’s no facility to run on electricity alone, even for very short distances or in traffic jams.

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Which Is Best

Cheapest

  • Name
    1.2 Pop 3dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £11,461

Most Economical

  • Name
    1.2 Pop 3dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £11,461

Fastest

  • Name
    0.9 TwinAir 105 Lounge 3dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £14,371

Shane is responsible for looking after the day-to-day running of the Auto Express website and social media channels. Prior to joining Auto Express in 2021, he worked as a radio producer and presenter for outlets such as the BBC.

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