With a history spanning over more then 50 years, the Fiat 500 came back and took the European car market by storm a few years back. It was then introduced into Australia around 18 months ago and wasn’t welcomed as warmly as it was in Europe – mainly because of price.
But now because of lower pricing and new models, they have become a little more attractive to the Australian market.
Now you’re probably wondering why the hell I have stepped foot inside a car like this, when I am test-driving cars like Jaguars, Range Rover’s and BMW’s. But it is the celebrity influence that has sucked me into test-driving the Fiat 500, which is undoubtedly one of the cutest little teeny weeny cars on the road. It’s the likes of Elle MacPherson and Paris Hilton that got me onto the car. Yes – I was sucked in the way Fiat intended – brilliant marketing!
Now where do I start with this little toy car? I start with changing my mind set and not be so critical, the way I am when I get into $200,000 cars.
No navigation, no heated seats, no leather seats, no 12 airbags and definitely no super charged engine. A big YES to pure, Italian joy! Once the sardine-tin folding roof of the Fiat 500 Convertible was completely opened back onto the rear parcel shelf, I felt like a child again waiting to get on the roller-coaster at Australia’s Wonderland. It’s a weird feeling. In a way you feel like you have left all masculinity in the showroom, but you feel slightly glamorous because of all the heads that turn when you drive this cutie around. What those people are thinking is probably what I think when I have seen them around… “How embarrassing”.
Smooth lines, bubbly charisma, with high class looking touches, this car is so irresistible. When I get in the car, I feel like I’m driving a men’s version of the Citroen Pluriel. Well, as manly as a man’s Fiat 500C can get with the flamboyantly standout white interior, steering wheel and instrument cluster. I think the thing that makes this car attractive is the colour combinations available. You can get great interior and exterior colours, and customise it like a Mini Cooper. You can get decals for the exterior and personalise the inside. I particularly love the Funk white interior, Pearlescent white exterior and Ruby Red roof. Sexy!
Getting in the car, the door is slightly tinny, but that’s expected for a car of it’s class. The seats are comfortable and supportive, but look abit big for the car. The head rests bother me, they look like they were a last minute addition. They are hard and uncomfortable.
The car feels solid for a tiny thing that weighs only 940kgs. It’s quiet and smooth. For a 1.4 litre petrol engine, it has guts. But I’d hate to have more then one person in the car, I think it would lag a little with a full car. But in saying that, there are other cars on the market that have similar engines and drive a lot worse with just 1 passenger, so this engine isn’t too bad at all. I drove the Dualogic transmission, which has 5 gears which can be changed with a tap of the cute gear stick. Dressed with enormous 16” wheels, ABS and Electronic Brake Distribution, the car stops much faster then it takes off! Much to my suprise, it also has Stability Control, 7 airbags and Traction Control… Which leads me to the drive…
Although the car feels solid, it’s a little bit bouncy and loose driving around corners and over bumps. You feel almost certain that you won’t leave the road, but you still have a slight inkling that it may just not stay on the road because of it’s weight around tight corners at speed.
The interior is FUN! No fancy LCD’s, no technical paddles, levers, buttons and pretty lights. But even without all the technical bits that I love, the interior is still FUN! One feature I love is the fascia on the dash, it’s a whiteboard! You can write all over it with whiteboard markers and rub it off! I love that. The car has all the little features you’d expect, climate control, CD player, USB/MP3 input on centre console, chrome bits and pieces, rear-parking sensors, Bluetooth and leather steering wheel with audio and Bluetooth controls (and one of the best looking steering wheels I’ve ever seen in white!!).
Likes: It’s looks, it’s beautiful. One of the cutest and aesthetically pleasing cars on the road. No it’s not a Porsche or a high priced performance car, but WOW, this car has prominence on the roads. It’s just divine. It’s a joyous car to drive. It is a cheap small convertible, but for some reason doesn’t have the tackiness of similar cars like the Mitsubishi Colt CC or the Citroen Pluriel.
I love the roof and how it works, the whiteboard dashboard is super cool and I LOVE the white steering wheel and colour combinations available.
Dislikes: I’ll be honest – I really couldn’t fault this car. It’s a small in size, small engine, mid-priced, non-serious fun car. You would buy it knowing this. You would buy it knowing you’re spending a little bit of extra cash on a car that turns heads, but isn’t for space, performance – or anything really?!
Would I buy it? Good question. Probably not. If it were given to me I’d drive it, but as a guy, I wouldn’t buy it. Just over 500,000 have been sold since 2007 and 70% of those owners are women. So I’m more then likely not going to buy it. But I do have to admit, I’m in love with this car.
Price: The Dualogic (Automatic) that I drove is $35,990 drive away! Not bad.
Final say: This car is just great. It makes you feel great, it’s bright, light and free. The only annoying thing is every time you drive it, you want to trade the landscape of Parramatta Road for an Italian village with cobble stone lane ways, little Italian bakeries, cafes and deli’s. A little poochie on the front seat, a beret and organic groceries on the backseat. Bliss. Absolute pure bliss.