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In-depth reviews

Fiat 500 review - Reliability & safety

Safety kit gets an overhaul

Carbuyer Rating

4.0 out of 5

Owners Rating

2.8 out of 5

Read owner reviews
Reliability & safety Rating

4.0 out of 5

Fiat doesn't have the best reputation for reliability, coming 31st out of 32 manufacturers in our 2023 Driver Power survey. That's despite a low 12% of Fiat owners reporting a fault within the first 12 months, compared with 21% of Ford owners. Owners criticised practicality and reliability, but the brand performed well for the ease of its controls and phone connectivity.

Fiat 500 reliability

The regular petrol-powered 500 has also been one of its most trustworthy models, coming 45th out of the 75 top cars in the satisfaction table in 2020, but slipping to 67th in 2021.

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The third-generation Fiat 500 is all-new, and theoretically its electric-only powertrain should make it very reliable. Electric cars have far fewer moving parts than petrol and diesel models, while there are also fewer varieties on offer, so any teething problems should be easier to iron out, but we won’t know for sure until it appears in our survey results.

Safety

Designed to last for at least the next decade, the new platform has also been equipped with the latest safety technology. Sensors at the front of the car mean it can detect pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles and brake autonomously if the driver fails to respond, as well as providing lane-keeping assistance. Blind spot detection will also be available, attention assist will warn the driver to take a break, and there's even a 'drone-like' display view to help avoid obstacles when parking.

When it was crash-tested by Euro NCAP in 2021, the 500 received a four-star safety rating. This score puts it far ahead of the zero-rated Renault ZOE, and on a par with the rival Peugeot E-208, which was also awarded four stars in 2019. The third-generation 500 scored strongly across the board, receiving 76% and 80% scores for adult and child occupancy safety respectively. The model also fared well in the vulnerable road user protection and safety assist tests, scoring 67% in both categories – a decent rating for a city car. 

A Fiat 'Co-driver Pack' is fitted to the La Prima trim, providing the 500 with 'level 2' semi-autonomous driving aids and adaptive cruise control. This means the car can brake, accelerate and steer in its own lane in heavy traffic, helping take some stress and fatigue out of driving. The pack also includes the rear-view camera and 360-degree parking sensors, along with traffic-sign recognition and blind-spot warnings.

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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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