9.11.2010 Fiat 500 TwinAir Pop review
Fun and economy in a package as effortlessly stylish as a four-wheeled Vespa, the Fiat 500 TwinAir is a fine city car, providing you rarely need to carry large people in the rear seats. Compact size can get a bit of getting used to but the easy proximity of all the controls means you are soon scooting about with a big grin on your face. No road tax or London congestion charge are cherries on the cake. Base versions are best value.
Review by Russell Bray for WhatGreenCar.com
Even considering this 875cc two-cylinder engine is turbocharged, and there will be a more powerful 105bhp version next year, this is a sprightly little car with 23% more power than the best-selling 1.2 litre while using 15% less fuel. A 65bhp non-turbo is on the way. Acceleration to 62mph takes 11 seconds and top speed is 108mph. Historical note: the original Fiat 500 of 1957 had a mere 13bhp.
A bit nimbler than before, helped by changed front suspension settings made possible by the lighter, charismatic two-cylinder engine which weighs in at just 85kg. An Abarth model would still be the choice of the keen driver but the TwinAir can be hustled along to good effect. Just don't try keeping up with a Mini through the twisty stuff when the 500 gets more skittish. Good under hard braking.
The 500 is too cute for some, but the TwinAir 500s will still make most people smile but don't risk it with traffic wardens unless you are cute too. Like other 500s, the reborn Cinquecento in TwinAir form is available as a hardtop or convertible but the price of fresh air motoring is a hefty £2,350 to £3,000 though you do get more equipment as well. Order parking sensors if you are going to reverse a lot with the roof down! Length 3546mm.Width 1627mm.
COMFORT & CONTROLS
Because of the 500's compact size a steering column that only adjusts for height is not the handicap it would be in a larger car. The electrically assisted power steering, though light, has more feedback than before. Complicated single instrument speedo/rev counter etc with more rings than Saturn is confusing at first. Driver's seat was fine for 100-mile journey. The 500, and 500C convertible are both surprisingly refined for small cars.
MPG & RUNNING COSTS
Official fuel Economy: Urban 57.6mpg, extra-urban 76.3mpg, combined 68.9mpg. My road test fuel consumption varied from 39.7mpg driving briskly in town and country to 58mpg using eco mode. Carbon dioxide emissions of 95g/km put the Fiat 500 TwinAir in band A with zero annual road tax. Insurance group 11. Warranty covers three years/ 60,000 miles.
Fiat 500's TwinAir shows the economy and reduced pollution achievable by downsizing a petrol engine to the simple bare necessities. With the lowest CO2 emissions of any quantity production petrol engine, the 875cc twin-cylinder also benefits from automatic stop-start and lower torque eco mode, selected by pushing a button, for town work. A gear shift indicator tells the driver the most efficient point to change gear.
Standard equipment includes central locking, electric front windows and door mirrors, anti-lock brakes, driver, passenger and side airbags, body colour bumpers, radio with MP3 compatible CD player and six speakers, space saver spare wheel. Alloy wheels though are £310 extra, air-conditioning is £510 and metallic paint is £400. Luxury Diesel by Design models, from the fashion clothes company, are special editions with extra equipment and styling touches.
Model tested: Fiat 500 TwinAir Pop
Body-style: Three door hatchback 'supermini'
Engine/CO2: 84bhp 875cc turbo-petrol/ 95 gCO2/km
Trim grades: Pop, Lounge, Sport, Diesel
On-road price: TwinAir Pop models from £10,665.
Warranty: Three years/60,000 miles
In the showroom: Available now
Review rating: 4.0 STARS
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