The Fiat 500 is one of the most popular city cars on the market. Priced from £12,165 you get a lot for your money.
Inspired by the 1950s classic, the modern version of the Fiat 500 has quickly become just as iconic thanks to its unique design, wide choice of colours, functionality and sense of fun.
As with most city cars, the Fiat 500 is a four-seater with limited space in the rear, although the storage space within the boot is more generous than you would expect. The interior is sleek and looks more expensive than it is. It’s also worth noting that the Fiat 500 is only available as a three-door, which may be a deal breaker if car seats are required. It can be upgraded to include an infotainment system and other additional add-ons.
While the Fiat 500 proves perennially popular and its timelessness means it holds onto its value much better than others in class, it does have its limitations, which is why we have compiled a list of alternatives.
Some of the cars we have featured look similar to the iconic 500, while others have comparable features and an overall feel that is reminiscent of Fiats.
If cost is your main driver then the cheapest alternative to the Fiat 500 by far is the Dacia Sandero. One of the roomiest in the small car category with five seats, you get what you pay for so it’s worth upgrading to the premium edition. Every Sandero comes with a three-year, 60,000-mile warranty, a two-year paintwork guarantee and six-year anti-corrosion policy. The Dacia also retains its value so if you were to tire, reselling should be plain sailing.
The Skoda Citigo recently celebrated its 10th birthday. Sometimes referred to as the ‘sister car’ of the Volkswagen Up, as it’s built on the Volkswagen group platform, it’s cheaper than the Up and unlike the Fiat 500 is available in both three and five door versions.
Due to the low entry point the quality of the interior isn’t great but rest assured it still looks on point. The interior of the Up is slightly nicer however it is more expensive. Like the Fiat 500 the Citigo only has four seats, but it is roomy in the rear and has a much bigger boot at 251 litres. Whilst the car is initially cheaper to buy the Up will hold onto its value for longer.
The i10 is Hyundai’s version of the city car. It also comes with five doors as standard. It’s deceptively roomy, has three seats in the rear and a big boot space, only bigger than the Citigo and only slightly smaller than the Vauxhall Corsa. The interior is quite plastic looking but well designed. To get additional features such as air conditioning and the infotainment system that the initial price begins to rise. In short, you certainly get your money’s worth with the i10.
The Toyota Aygo is available in both three and five door versions. The interior is basic but nice. It’s worth noting that the dashboard is very small and condensed. Once again, we’re looking at a city car with only two seats in the rear. The three-door version makes it difficult for adults to get into the rear comfortably and would also be difficult to take children in and out of car seats.
If more than city driving is required it could be worth picking another car on this list, as the engine is small engine you might feel a bit slow getting up to motorway speeds. On the plus side maintenance, fuel and insurance are very low.
The Kia Picanto is only available as a five-door. The interior is still made of plastic but looks very sleek and durable. There are three seats in the rear if needed but it would be a tight squeeze for three adults. The boot is also large. This is a good vehicle if two car seats are needed. Perhaps the best feature about the Picanto is it’s seven year/100 000-mile warranty, guaranteeing peace of mind in the event that something goes wrong.
Mentioned earlier the Volkswagen Up is available in both three and five doors. Once again this is city car with only four seats, however it’s extremely roomy. The entry level Up also has Volkswagen Connect, which is a great little system. Like every Volkswagen, the Up comes with a three-year/60,000-mile warranty and one year’s breakdown cover. With a range of trims and customisable options, something unique can be created to suit your needs. If buying outright it’s important to note that whilst the Up holds on to its value more than other city cars, if the initial spend is doable a Polo could be a better investment.
The entry level Citroen C1 is pretty basic with exposed metal on the interior doors so make sure you’ve picked a colour you really like. The boot is narrow which is limiting if a large pushchair is required. The rear is also rather cosy and best suited to children or small adults. The C1 is available also as a five-door version which would makes it easier to get into the rear.
Similarly, to the Fiat 500 it is also possible to create your dream car in soft top format. All but the entry level vehicle has a touchscreen system which can be upgraded to Apple CarPlay. Citroen provide one-year free breakdown cover.
The Renault Twingo is the only one in our list with an engine in the rear. The interior looks like the VW Up, however the Up has a more powerful engine. This four-seater car is only available as a five-door. The Twingo is roomy with adequate boot space. The interior looks smooth and well finished however the dashboard is compressed into only a few dials. Aesthetically the Twingo is well presented, and available in a range of colours like the Fiat 500.
The Peugeot 108 is available in two engine sizes and both three and five door versions. All but the entry model boasts a touch screen entertainment system, some other models would require a top of the range purchase to offer this facility. The interior is cheap as with all vehicles within this price point however it has a nice finish and looks more expensive than it is. This is a four-seater vehicle with a lot less boot space than its competitors so what it lacks in space is compensated for with technology.
The Vauxhall Corsa has been on our roads since 1993 and has changed a lot since then. The current model line-up is the most impressive to date with its Infotainment System among the very best in class. The interior is smart and well designed to prevent it from looking too cheap. If you’re looking to spend more, you can get more, but it’s fair for the price. Also generous is the spacing within the vehicle, there’s more than enough room in the front and the rear is comfortable for two grown adults, less so for three.
In our opinion, the best alternative to the Fiat 500 is the Volkswagen Up. Both cars are small and nippy with a fairly similar look and feel. The VW comes with plenty of room and holds onto its value for longer than many other city cars.
The Fiat 500 (2015) has a height of 1.49 meters, a width of 1.63 meters, a length of 3.57 meters and a wheel base of 2.31 meters.
With retro touches throughout and a unique dashboard, the Fiat 500 is as stylish on the inside as it is on the outside. You can choose from different trims and fabrics, giving the design a personal touch, and there are a range of seating options depending on which model you go for as well.
Diesel head gasket failure was widely reported in 2008 and cars from this period were required to have a new one fitted.
Power problems were common with 2014-15 1.6l models.
Broken door handles. Fiat 500s are renowned for this fault.
Traditionally, Fiat 500s were two door, four seat cars. In 2020, Fiat launched the electric 500 3+1, which has a small additional door on the passenger side to give easier access to the back seats. However, this model is currently only available in left hand drive. There has been some speculation as to whether it will be introduced in the UK, but there are safety concerns due to the extra door opening on the wrong side of the road.
If you love the 500 but need a bit of extra room, the Fiat 500L retains the unique spirit of the original model while offering even more space and four doors.