The interior layout, fit and finish
Driving position and dashboard
There’s no height-adjustable driver’s seat if you opt for entry-level Pop trim, and although Fiat claims you'll find one on Lounge and up, in reality the lever on the side of your chair merely changes the angle of its base, not how high it sits.
There's more compromise in a steering wheel that adjusts for height but not reach, and this will prevent many people finding the ideal driving position. In fairness, though, this is an issue that also affects most of the 500’s rivals, including the Hyundai i10 and Volkswagen Up.
Still, at least the 500’s heater controls are relatively straightforward to use. The gearlever is also mounted conveniently high up on the centre console, where it’s within very easy reach.
Visibility, parking sensors and cameras
The 500 isn’t as easy to see out of as its boxier Fiat Panda sibling, nor the Hyundai i10 or VW Up for that matter, with relatively wide windscreen pillars and a pretty poor view out of the back. However, at least the extremities of the car are easy enough to judge.
Rear parking sensors are standard from Lounge trim and up, and make it easier to park in tight parking spaces. They are also available as an option on entry-level Pop trim.
Sat nav and infotainment
Go for Pop trim and you get an extremely basic radio/CD player that consists of a small screen surrounded by a handful of buttons. A multifunction steering wheel and a USB socket are also included.
Every model from Lounge trim upwards gets a 7.0in touchscreen with Bluetooth, and DAB radio along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It’s placed quite high up on the dash, so it’s easy to glance at, but it’s susceptible to some glare from sunlight, hindering the screen’s visibility.
Visually, of the plastics and fabrics used in the 500’s interior suit its retro image. The face of even the cheapest Pop model’s dashboard is finished the same colour as the outside of the car, a feature that really livens things up. The result is an interior that’s as bright and bubbly as a children’s TV presenter, and a real contrast with the drab dashboards of its rivals.
You won’t find any soft-touch plastics, though, and overall build quality isn’t quite on a par with the rival Kia Picanto or Volkswagen Up, but the 500’s interior doesn’t feel too cheap or shoddily assembled, and the switchgear is robust enough.