The Fiat 500 has been given a relatively mild facelift, almost exactly eight years after the company’s best-selling supermini went on sale, and 58 years after the launch of the original 500.
Perhaps thankfully, given the 500’s huge popularity (it’s sold more than 1.5 million units), Fiat has resisted the urge to make substantial changes.
Although the company claims to have made 1,800 individual revisions to the car, from the outside the changes are confined to redesigned, more slanted headlights, new LED running lights that also house the main-beam units, and a revised grille vent flanked by more prominent ‘whiskers.’
The rear sees new light clusters with body-coloured centres, plus a redesigned bumper with reversing and fog-lights now at the edges of the bumper trim.
Exterior changes are rounded out by new alloy wheel designs in 15- and 16-inch sizes, plus two new colours – Glam Coral and Avantgarde Bordeaux – as well as a series of graphics the company has dubbed ‘second skin’, in designs ranging from military camouflage to tartan patterns.
Inside, the old Blue&Me system has been replaced by the Chrysler-inherited Uconnect system, with a large central touch-screen on Lounge versions. TomTom-based navigation is available as an option.
Pop and Pop Star models continue to use an analogue instrument cluster, while Lounge versions can be optionally specified with a seven-inch TFT display similar to that used on Abarth models.
Fiat says the seats now offer a more ergonomic shape, and are available in a choice of nine colour combinations.
There’s also a new lidded glove box, cup-holders in the centre console, a relocated 12v power socket, revised electric window switches and additional sound-proofing materials around the wheel-wells and bulkhead.
The engine range is largely familiar: a 1.2-litre petrol unit with 69hp, and a pair of TwinAir units with 85hp and 105hp.
The 85hp TwinAir’s official figures show economy of up to 74.3mpg and CO2 emissions of 90 g/km.
Although yet to be confirmed, an ‘Eco’ version of the 1.2 may follow later – it uses a ‘smart’ alternator, aerodynamic revisions and low rolling-resistance tyres to reduce emissions from 110 to 99 g/km.
A 1.3-litre MultiJet II turbodiesel with 95hp is anticipated to follow later in the year, with emissions of just 89 g/km.
Three trim levels are offered – Pop, Pop Star and Lounge – with Pop Star models gaining air conditioning, body-colour door mirrors, 15-inch alloy wheels, and 50/50 split-folding rear seat.
Lounge models add a panoramic glass roof, rear parking sensors, leather steering wheel, front fog lights, chrome front grille and Uconnect touch-screen system.
The new Fiat 500 is expected to go on sale in the UK in early September, priced from £10,890.