Fiat 500 - Interior, design and technology
The 500 just oozes style, while new on-board tech adds to the appeal
Fiat reinvented the iconic 500 back in 2007 and has enjoyed much success with the classic looks of its retro city car. So, despite having a clean sheet to explore new designs, the Italian manufacturer has wisely decided to go with an updated version of its trusted formula.
The third-generation all-electric model is slightly bigger than the petrol version, but it still retains the unmistakable family looks. The new split headlights at the front add a modern touch and some of the new alloy wheel designs really stand out, while inside the cabin a body-coloured section across the dash pays homage to the original car. You’ll have to decide for yourself whether the buttons to open the doors add to the appeal or are a bit gimmicky, and the same goes for the giggles that play when you switch the car on or off.
The cheap and cheerful Action spec with its smartphone cradle and halogen headlights is no longer available, and the 500’s starting price has now increased to over £28,000. Thankfully, standard kit is generous on all models.
As well as the two battery sizes, buyers get a choice of three trim levels – the base 500, (RED) edition and ‘La Prima by Bocelli’ – all of which come with a 10.25-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, a digital driver’s display, keyless entry, automatic wipers, traffic-sign information and cruise control. The top-of-the-range versions add wireless phone charging, a panoramic roof and a premium 320-watt JBL audio system, plus extra driver aids and semi-autonomous technology features.
Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment
The Fiat 500’s slick infotainment system is a stand-out feature. The 10.25-inch touchscreen looks sharp, and the menus are logically laid out. The graphics for the navigation page are clear, and the screen responds quickly to pinching and swiping motions across the page. The 500 is also fast when you’re trying to plot a route; the process of opening the search bar, entering a postcode, and getting the first navigation instruction from a fully loaded route took just 19 seconds when we tried it out.
One small gripe is that the Fiat forgoes physical shortcut controls, so it isn’t as easy to make adjustments on the move. There is a standard seven-inch digital driver’s display, however, where it’s possible to prioritise various trip and audio functions through buttons on the steering wheel.
In this review
- 1Fiat 500 reviewThe all-electric Fiat 500 fulfills its city car brief brilliantly, and is one of the best EVs you can buy today
- 2Electric motor, drive and performanceThe 500 excels in and around town; easy to drive with decent levels of refinement
- 3Range, charging and running costsWith competitive pricing, reasonable insurance costs and solid residual values, the all-electric Fiat 500 should be cheap to run
- 4Interior, design and technology - currently readingThe 500 just oozes style, while new on-board tech adds to the appeal
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceIf it fits with your lifestyle, then the 500 city car should offer more than enough comfort and flexibility
- 6Reliability and safetyThe 500 includes excellent levels of safety kit, while servicing costs should be reasonable