Lounge 900cc TwinAir
is a well
known saying, and it applies to the
latest Fiat 500 City Car range which
has 1,800 changes
to be a Fiat 500 fan to
spot many of them. Obvious updates
include new bumpers, new front
and rear lights and a range of new
colours, options and personalisation
WHILE IT HASN'T GROWN lengthwise it has, say Fiat, grown in maturity
included in the updates are improved fuel consumption and lower emission engines.
Other changes include an enhanced cabin that retains its retro feel and look,
along with a new Uconnect infotainment system. The most sensible options include
DAB radio for £100, while £350 will buy you TomTom SatNav software plus live
connected services. There's also a new palette of body colours in bright and
pastel shades plus customising 'Second Skin' vinyl graphics to satisfy creative
Trim levels are Pop, Pop Star, and the most popular, Lounge. All versions have
LED daytime running lights, Start & Stop, and a space saver spare wheel (one-up
on the unliked 'tyre repair' kits). Mid-range Pop Star additions include 15-inch
alloy wheels, AirCon, split-folding rear seats and heated door mirrors. Lounge
spec adds a panoramic glass sunroof, touchscreen, Uconnect Bluetooth, front
fog lights and rear parking sensors.
choices, depending on the equipment/trim level chosen, are: 1.2-litre 69hp four-cylinder
petrol (the most popular) with a choice of five-speed manual or auto gearbox;
the 900cc TwinAir 85hp two-cylinder petrol unit, again with manual/auto options;
and the TwinAir 900cc petrol 105hp with a manual six-speed gearbox. Diesels
are also on the menu: a MultiJet diesel unit will become available in time for
With the 1.2 petrol unit
costing £1,300 less
than the 900cc TwinAir
you can see why the 1.2
is chosen by most
buyers. The TwinAir
might be better for fuel
economy but the lower
outlay for a 1.2-litre
model is, in reality, more
The best Combined Cycle fuel economy comes from the 85hp TwinAir manual and
is officially given as 74.3mpg. The lowest CO2 emissions are 88g/km from the
same engine, but fitted with the auto gearbox.
Both the Hatchback and Convertible models are available with Pop, Pop Star,
and Lounge specification, with prices for the Hatchback starting from £10,890
and rising to £14,420 and for the Convertible from £13,540 to £17,070. Wealth
warning: if you're tempted to spec-up your 500 from the options and personalisation
goodies list it will significantly add to these standard on-the-road prices.
With the 1.2 petrol unit costing £1,300 less than the 900cc TwinAir unit you
can see why the 1.2-litre unit is chosen by eight out of ten UK buyers. The
TwinAir might be better for fuel economy (and with greener emissions) but the
lower purchase cost of the 1.2-litre unit is, in reality, more appealing.
Fiat UK chose to make available only the 900cc TwinAir unit for us media types
to try at the recent industry press event. The exact version was the Hatchback
TwinAir 105hp unit in Lounge specification which costs £14,420 but with options
this test car was several thousand pounds more expensive…
Accounting for the extra outlay were 16-inch alloy wheels at £180, leather upholstery
(£780), £270 for auto climate control, Bi-xenon headlights (£610), an electric
sunroof costing £260, DAB radio and TomTom navigation (£350), pastel shade Glam
Coral paint at £300 and Second Skin 'Scottie' roof graphics at £460. Body stripes
added a further £110 to the inflated price.
its eight-year life the current Fiat 500 has received improvements to its handling
refinement and the latest version has a slightly more refined ride. The 'new'
500 seems more stable and less unsettled by poor road surfaces although there
is still bodyroll during cornering and the road-roar from the tyres is very
One of the issues with
the 900cc two-cylinder
TwinAir has been the
relatively poor real-life
version of the Fiat 500
has a Combined Cycle
figure of 67.3mpg
roads my real-world
figure came out at
However, the handling is agile and ideal for driving around town. The steering
remains sharp though still lacking in feel; the Sport button just adds weight
without delivering any more feedback to the driver.
One of the issues with the 900cc TwinAir two-cylinder engine has been the relatively
poor real-life fuel economy. Because of its two cylinders, the fuel consumption
is more affected by the driving conditions and weight carried than a more responsive
four-cylinder petrol unit.
Officially this version of the Fiat 500 has a Combined Cycle figure of 67.3mpg
driving along Hampshire's country roads my real-world figure was
The 105hp (103bhp) TwinAir unit is characterful and you'll hear and feel its
unique twin-cylinder throb in the cabin. Its single pair of cylinders produce
106lb ft of torque at 2,000rpm which is enough to give good low-to-medium speed
punch and a fair amount of flexibility driving in busy traffic.
On the open road it performs best if the driver takes note of the gearchange
driving prompts because it isn't the usual case of changing gear when the engine
revs sound right, as found with engines with more cylinders. Driving the TwinAir,
considerable use has to be made of the six-speed 'box to keep 'in tune' with
these gearchange prompts, something not helped by the long-throw gearlever.
In its favour the subtle updates keep the 500 fresh and desirable as the UK's
best-selling City Car. But while there's improved ride comfort it still has
its handling limitations, the steering lacks feedback, and personalisation options
can make it expensive although that hasn't stopped it becoming a hot-seller.
Fiat 500 Lounge 900cc TwinAir
Maximum speed: 117mph | 0-62mph: 10 seconds | Test Average: 46.4mpg
Power: 103bhp | Torque: 106lb ft | CO2 99g/km