In-depth reviews

Fiat 500 review - 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.

Dimensions are slightly bigger for the third-generation all-electric model, compared to 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.

Standard kit is generous, with the mid-spec Passion trim probably the sweet spot in the range. While the entry Action spec makes do with a smartphone cradle to take care of the infotainment, the Passion version adds a 7-inch touchscreen display, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity and a DAB radio. Top-of-the range Icon cars feature a bigger 10.25-inch screen.

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 a fully loaded route giving the first navigation instruction 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.

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