If you had told in 1957 that the then introduced Fiat 500 is still driving around 60 years later (!), but then as a Fiat 500 Hybrid with electrical support, you would probably have been laughed at. And yet it is so. We get a week in the Fiat 500C Hybrid with folding roof. How does he drive?
Fiat 500: backpack, bump, sharpener
Of course, the Fiat 500 Hybrid of today is not the Fiat 500 from 1957. That would be something; the backpack, the bump or the sharpener, as the original cinquecento is also called because of its ieniemini size, can no longer cope with the current traffic situation, which has become much busier and faster since the 1950s. But you can immediately see that the Fiat 500 Hybrid is a direct descendant, for example by the silhouette.
Electric motor supports the petrol engine
The Fiat 500 Hybrid has one cylinder and one gear more than the 500 Twinair with 2-cylinder petrol engine and 5-speed gearbox that it succeeds. Very nice, because the extra gear makes the engine less revs on the highway. And that makes it quieter inside than before. An electric motor supports the petrol engine when starting and accelerating, hence the addition Hybrid – although it should actually read Mild Hybrid.
Fiat petrol engine runs more refined and more vibration-free
The extra cylinder in turn ensures that the petrol engine runs more refined and is more vibration-free than the 2-cylinder that has disappeared from the delivery program. With that, the striking engine noise of the 500 has also disappeared. The Twinair bumbles on nicely. Sometimes annoying, but strangely enough, sometimes charming because the sound is reminiscent of the original 500 from the 50s. It has since grown into a cute classic from a time when everything seems to be better.
Fiat Fiat 500C Hybrid sport edition
The Fiat 500 Hybrid with the new 1.0-litre 3-cylinder does not seem very bright to us. That has partly to do with the lesser sound experience – the clearly audible 2-cylinder with turbo gives you a bit of the idea that you are driving a sports version. But also on paper the 500 Hybrid (without turbo) appears to be slower than the Twinair. It takes 13.8 seconds from 0 to 100 km/h. The 500 Twinair is almost three seconds faster. It is therefore stronger (59 kW/80 hp versus 51 kW/70 hp) and lighter (905 kg versus 950 kg). The 500 Hybrid is by no means slow; you just have to kick him a little more on the tail every now and then.
Fiat 500 Hybrid is more economical
To make one more comparison: the new Fiat 500 Hybrid is more economical. The Twinair is that on paper, but on the road it’s a different story because of its exciting character. Fiat gives an average consumption of 1 to 25.6 for the 500 Hybrid. That’s pretty realistic. We drove a distance of about a thousand kilometers mainly on highways and in the city 1 in 23 on average. Below 30 km/h with the gearbox in neutral, the petrol engine stops and the 500 whizzes silently through traffic. Who could have imagined that in 1957!
Vision Fiat 500C Hybrid
The Fiat 500 Hybrid is also a 500 as we have known it for years. Not the most spacious in its class, but the nicest to see. Behind the wheel you sit a bit on the buck. That handlebar is only adjustable in height and you can therefore not bring it to you. As a result, we had to look for a nice sitting position. Diagonally to the rear, the view through the wide C-pillars is not too good. Especially in the 500C with fully unfolded roof (including rear window) the view to the rear is to cry. The doors close with a solid sound that you are normally used to from more expensive cars.
Fiat seat covers made from recycled plastic
The handling of the Fiat 500 Hybrid is quite firm without being uncomfortable. You hardly notice that an electric motor is at work every now and then. Charging is not necessary, the battery pack (lithium, capacity: 11 Ah) charges itself. The 500 bumps a bit over speed bumps, but that is inherent to the short wheelbase. The retro design of the dashboard and instrumentation is sweet. The gear lever is positioned a bit higher than usual and is therefore well within reach. The limited Launch Edition’s seat covers are made from recycled plastic, partly from the ocean, a first on the market, according to Fiat.
Fiat 500 Hybrid: lower CO2 emissions
Finally, good news for those who find the Fiat 500 an expensive gadget, but secretly want one: due to the lower CO2 emissions of 88 gr/km of the Hybrid, the 500 has become cheaper. You can now enter from 15,735 euros. That was 16,690 euros. The 500C driven by us with an electric folding roof costs 3,000 euros more. If you can spare the money, always do it.
500C driver experience
The fabric roof is very easy to operate. Moreover, it is so well insulated that if you drive closed you will hardly notice any difference in noise level with a closed 500. In addition, the unfolded roof is super nice and you imagine yourself a bit in a classic 500 from 1957. The difference is that the roof is pure sitting for fun. The Fiat 500 from 1957 has a fabric roof to save steel and to make the car even lighter and cheaper. Times change and the Fiat 500 changes with it.