Eight years and more than 1.5 million units since it was launched (on the 50th anniversary of the original car’s launch) the successful and iconic FIAT 500 makes way for its successor: the New FIAT 500. Retaining the unmistakable look that has made it a global best-seller, the new FIAT 500 hasn’t grown in size, but instead has gained new technologies, improved efficiency and even more customisation potential.

Visual changes are minimal, with the most obvious changes being revised tail lights and headlights incorporating LED daytime running lights and a slightly different grille and rear bumper. New alloy wheel designs are also offered, in addition to more colour choices.

The New FIAT 500 is available with three trim levels – Pop, Pop Star and Lounge – and in hatchback and convertible versions.

Inside the FIAT 500 also benefits from numerous enhancements, most noticeably in terms of its dashboard design which now integrates the advanced Uconnect™ infotainment across the range. The unit is not only easier to read and more intuitive to use, it also improves connectivity and functionality with steering wheel remote controls and USB / Aux-in ports on all models. Further enhancements include a new lidded glove box on the passenger's side and a revised centre console with new cup holders and a relocated 12V power socket. New electric window switches, which adopt a push-down-pull-up operation, complete the visible interior revisions.

For the first time on the FIAT 500, an integrated Uconnect™ 5” Radio Nav LIVE with voice-activated TomTom satellite navigation is available as a £600 option on Pop and Pop Star models (including Bluetooth connectivity and DAB) and as a £350 upgrade for Lounge models (including DAB).

As with the previous Fiat 500, key focal points of the interior are the large main dial, incorporating speedometer, rev counter, fuel, and temperature gauges. Heater and stereo controls are positioned high on the dash, within easy reach of the driver. The circular instrument cluster, with analogue dials for speed and engine revs and digital secondary gauges, is retained for Pop and Pop Star models, while the innovative seven-inch TFT display, developed in collaboration with Magneti Marelli, is a £250 option on the Lounge version.

Ok, it’s a small car, but it never feels cramped either and although it won’t win awards for space, six footers can fit in the back and there’s cup holders both front and rear. Downsides include a rather bijou 185 litre boot (520 litre’s seats down) and petite door pockets. The high up driving position gives a good view of the road and the new ergonomic seats are supportive, even for taller occupants. Interior upholstery is now available in nine colour combinations with contrasting “crescent” upper portions and head restraints in black or ivory eco-leather. Black, bordeaux or tobacco Frau leather upholstery is also available (depending on model), with embroidered 500 logos on the crescent and contrasting bolster accents.

The New FIAT 500 is powered by a range of environment-friendly, Euro 6-compliant engines combined with five- and six-speed manual gearboxes or a Dualogic robotised transmission depending on the model. The engine line-up available at launch includes the 1.2 litre 69hp, the TwinAir 85hp and the TwinAir 105hp.

Even this lower powered 0.9 litre two-cylinder TwinAir is great fun to drive. A combination of turbo charging, dedicated valve management and high combustion achieved from Fiat’s MultiAir technology, means the diminutive 875cc engine pumps out a healthy 85hp at 5500 rpm and 145Nm of torque at 2000rpm, to the tune of a distinctive off-beat thrum, which seems to really suit the car’s cheeky character. It certainly feels brisk, despite the modest performance figures (0-62 mph in 11 seconds and 107 mph top speed). And it has incredibly low CO2 emissions of just 92g/km, along with 70.6 mpg fuel economy (combined cycle), although expect real-world figures to be nearer the 45 mpg mark.

For such a small car refinement levels are pretty good and noticeably improved on the outgoing model. At the flick of a switch (up to speeds of 37mph) the 500S Convertible goes from city car to drop-top, adding another dimension of motoring pleasure, although some practicality and rear vision is lost.

2015 revisions have updated Fiat’s ever popular supermini with lower emissions and an improved infotainment system. Although not without its flaws, the 500S Convertible has personality and desirability in spades. Its main appeal is in offering the duality of city car motoring, with the fun factor of a small convertible. This S guise spec also brings a well-judged sporty element to the chic little Fiat.

Tech Data:
Fiat 500S Convertible 0.8 TwinAir 85hp
OTR PRICE: £16,540
Max Power: 85hp @5500 rpm
Max Torque: 145Nm @ 1900 rpm
Max Speed: 107mph
Acceleration: 0-62 in 11.0 seconds
Claimed MPG (combined) 70.6
CO2 emissions: (g/km) 92
Insurance group: 15