How much power does a little car like the Fiat 500 need? Well, the barnstorming, 135bhp Abarth version is crazy fun but probably too much of a handful for many people, while the range starts with the 1.2-litre version we are testing. Our car kicks out 69bhp and for anything outside of the city, is way too slow.
The problem is that there is no acceleration from a standstill, to the point where it feels like you have to time your exit from a junction with extra thought and care. It takes an age to get going and with four people on board, would be bordering on the dangerous.
Which brings me to the excellent 0.9 Twin Air. This version produces 85bhp from a two-cylinder engine and has plenty of torque for accelerating too. Another safe option would be the 1.3 Multijet diesel that produces 95bhp – more than enough grunt for the little 500.
So, if you are buying a 500C, just make sure you test all the engines before making a choice. Our 1.2 probably isn’t the best, unless you want to dawdle at Morris Minor speeds…