Fiat 500 hatchback - MPG, running costs & CO2
A range of small engines means the Fiat 500 will be a cheap car to own – even if it’s not always as efficient as Fiat claims
If you want a stylish car on a budget, then the Fiat 500 is a perfect alternative to models like the MINI Hatch. However, while it’s cheaper to buy than this other retro-inspired offering, it can be more expensive than most of the most popular city cars if you want a higher trim level model.
It's worth noting again, there's now a Fiat 500 with an all-electric powertrain, which is an all-new model, that confusingly has the same name as the 'classic' Fiat 500 reviewed here. It's likely this will eventually replace the petrol 500 altogether, but for now both are available and we've tested the electric model separately.
Fiat 500 MPG & CO2
The 1.2-litre petrol engine was getting old, but was still fairly efficient, even if it was hamstrung before being discontinued as it was only available with an automatic gearbox so managed only 46.3mpg and CO2 emissions of 138g/km. It’s still a decent used option, nonetheless.
The surviving petrol Fiat 500 features a new 1.0-litre, three-cylinder engine that also features a mild-hybrid technology consisting of a 12-volt starter generator and a small lithium-ion battery. Energy is harvested under deceleration and used to both give the engine a boost under acceleration and make the stop and start system more effective. Change into neutral while slowing down, as prompted in the dash display, and the engine will switch off when coasting below 18mph. Fuel economy is 53.3-56.5mpg and CO2 emissions start from 105g/km making the 500 Mild Hybrid relatively cheap for company-car drivers.
All models qualify for the discounted VED (road tax) rate from the second year onwards, and the first year's tax is normally included in the sticker price. If you want even lower running costs, the latest Fiat 500 is free to tax and sits in a lower BiK band, thanks to its electric powertrain, but it also costs more to buy and lease.
The Fiat 500 Mild Hybrid is a popular first car for young people and part of its attraction is its relatively low insurance costs. Insurance starts from as low as group eight but more conventional rivals, including the Citroen C1, are even cheaper to cover.
Every new Fiat is covered for unlimited miles for two years (extending to three years as long as you haven’t exceeded 100,000 miles) plus three years’ cover for the paintwork and an eight-year warranty against rust. On top of that, you get 12 months’ breakdown cover starting as soon as you drive away from the dealer. This is fairly competitive with rivals, but the Hyundai i10 and Toyota Yaris both get five years of cover.
The Fiat 500 needs to be serviced every 12 months or 18,000 miles, and you can keep track of this using the digital display on the dashboard. If you do much fewer than 18,000 miles a year, Fiat offers a low-mileage service scheme and service plans, which should work out cheaper than standard servicing.