THE Fiat 500 was good enough to lift the International Car of the Year title months after being launched here in 2008 and I recently discovered that it is still a very appealing little model.
I thought it was a super car then and it has now added to its strengths with the addition of what is really a quite remarkable engine – an 875cc two-cylinder unit that produces 85bhp.
Doesn’t sound much but with Fiat’s TwinAir technology this engine has enough power to reach 11 seconds in 62mph and also hit a top speed of 108mph.
It also has a great sound coming from it that really comes into play when you push the revs up.
With its super agility, the 500 is full of fun out on open winding roads and is responsive enough right through the five-speed manual gearbox.
Compared with Fiat’s best-selling 1.2-litre petrol engine in the 500, the TwinAir delivers 23 per cent more power as well as slashing CO2 emissions and fuel consumption.
It has the lowest CO2 – 95g/km – of any quantity production petrol engine and that also means you won’t pay any road tax.
Fuel consumption figures are pretty impressive at 68.9mpg combined, 76.3mpg extra urban and 57.6mpg urban.
I have to admit I didn’t get close to these during my time with the 500 as I was happier taking the engine to the maximum than worrying about economy - but these frugal figures are achievable if you do want to potter around in the car.
Press the ECO button on the dashboard and this will cut maximum torque for better economy and this is also assisted by the car’s Start&Stop system which stops the engine when idle and fires up again when the clutch is pressed.
The test car colour was Breakbeat Grey and its cute exterior was matched with a chic interior in red, cream and silver finish.
It is also well equipped with standard spec including safety features such as ABS anti-lock brakes and Electronic Brakeforce Distribution and seven airbags.
The 500 is a small car so it doesn’t have much luggage space – 185 litres extending to 550 litres with rear seats folded.
Its size means that it is easy to park though and will snuggle into the tiniest space.
The 500 TwinAir Pop didn’t disappoint and the test car’s £10,865 price tag makes it look a real bargain buy.