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In-depth reviews

Fiat 500 review - Interior & comfort

More space and tech means the Fiat 500's interior now feels more grown up

Carbuyer Rating

4.0 out of 5

Owners Rating

2.8 out of 5

Read owner reviews
Interior & comfort Rating

4.0 out of 5

The 500's ride is pretty good, but the weight of the battery means the suspension has to be relatively stiff, making bumps at low speeds more noticeable. Smaller wheels should help it feel more settled and even with 17-inch alloys fitted, the ride settles down at motorway speeds, helping to make long journeys more enjoyable. Refinement has also taken a leap thanks to the inherent quietness of the electric motor, which is far smoother than the rorty two-cylinder Fiat 500 petrol engines.

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It's a more comfortable place to sit too, with a good driving position. A common criticism of the second-generation 500 was that it felt like you were sitting 'on’ it rather than 'in’ it, but there's no such sensation here. The interior is entirely new, feels less cluttered than before, and features vastly improved technology. There's a bit too much black plastic but we like the 'easter eggs' dotted around the interior, reminding owners the car was built in Turin.

Fiat 500 dashboard

A new UConnect 5 infotainment system for the Fiat Chrysler group makes its debut in top trims, with a sharp 10.25-inch touchscreen, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It now has far better graphics than previous versions but some functions, such as turning on a heated seat, take too many steps to accomplish. The instruments are also digital, thanks to a seven-inch TFT display. There are some cheap plastic materials dotted around the interior, pointing to the fact Fiat has still had to make compromises to undercut rivals.

Equipment

Smartphone-style apps, and the ability to check on the car remotely and warm up or cool the interior before a journey, should freshen up the ownership experience. Other new tech includes on-board wi-fi, tracking software that can help find the car if it's stolen, and a number of forward-facing sensors. These can be used to improve safety and to enable convenience features such as adaptive cruise control and speed limit assist.

While the Action trim used to provide only a smartphone cradle in place of a touchscreen, Fiat now includes a 10.25 infotainment display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard. In fact, the 500 isn’t badly equipped for a small car, with 16-inch alloy wheels, cruise control and automatic air conditioning. The Red trim promotes health thanks to its cabin air filter and antibacterial treatment for cabin surfaces, while La Prima gets 17-inch wheels, LED headlights, keyless go, heated front seats and a heated steering wheel.

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Which Is Best?

Cheapest

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Andy is Carbuyer's managing editor, with more than a decade of experience helping consumers find their perfect car. He has an MA in automotive journalism and has tested hundreds of vehicles.

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