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, 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, but for now both are available and we've tested the electric model separately.
Fiat 500 MPG & CO2
The 1.2-litre petrol engine is getting old, but it's still fairly efficient. However, it is somewhat hamstrung now it's only available with an automatic gearbox, managing only 46.3mpg and CO2 emissions of 138g/km. It's also by far the least expensive Fiat 500 engine to buy.
Fiat has also introduced a 500 Mild Hybrid, first in a Launch Edition model and then across most of the range. This introduces a new 1.0-litre, three-cylinder petrol engine, that also features 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 below 18mph. Fuel economy is 53.3mpg and CO2 emissions of 88g/km make the 500 Mild Hybrid relatively cheap for company-car drivers.
All models cost £150 a year to tax, 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 is a popular first car for young people and part of its attraction is its relatively low insurance costs. The 1.2-litre starts from as low as group seven 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.