Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Fiat 500: The brilliant small car I completely forgot about

WORD reaches me from north of the border that my sister’s looking to treat herself to a festive gift of the four-wheeled variety
It’s a straightforward enough challenge; she’s looking for something small, good looking, reliable and easy to run, for around the four grand mark. Not that she’s going to take any advice off her car nut brother – it’s Life On Cars tradition that whenever someone actually asks me for advice on cars, they listen dutifully to whatever considered opinion I can come up with, pause reflectively for a moment, and then ignore it and buy the car they had their heart set on anyway. This explains why so many people I know own a Vauxhall Corsa.

Then again, my suggestions were slightly more sensible than my sister’s other half’s, who being even more of a petrolhead than I am pointed me in the direction of a Lancia Beta Spider (Google it) which could be under your Christmas tree for just £1,650. A beautiful Italian roadster which would be fine for a classic car bore like me, but hardly the sort of thing you’d rely on to get you in and out of Glasgow on a daily basis!

Trying to keep things as sensible as possible, I went for the original Ford Ka, Toyota’s Aygo, the Citroen C1 and – whisper it softly – the new MINI, with the Peugeot 106 GTi as the wildcard I secretly hoped my sister would go for.  All of which are reliable enough to survive life tooling around a city centre for days on end, small enough to squeeze into even the tightest parking spaces and – most importantly for my sister, someone who’s far more stylish than I am – blessed with the sort of chic and sense of fun that, say, a Nissan Micra just isn’t.

I was quietly pleased with my carefully selected shortlist, right up until the point when my sister mentioned the one small car I’d forgotten about; the Fiat 500. Her argument is that it’s far cuter than just about any other small car on the second-hand market (as long as it’s bought in the right colour), it’s got perfectly good underpinnings (which is true, given it’s a former European Car of the Year), and there’s enough of them around for her to pick up a decent one. For what it’s worth, I think the mechanically identical Panda is the better small Fiat, but for what my sister wants the 500’s perfect. I’m just annoyed I didn’t think of it earlier.

To be fair, I agree with her. If you can think of a better suggestion, feel free to send them in to the usual Champion address. Although – in true Life On Cars tradition – she’ll only ignore it anyway. Merry Christmas.


  1. i love cute cars, they are cute like me..LOL..cute cars are for those chic girls out their..

  2. Honestly, it’s between the 2013 MINI Cooper and the Toyota Aygo for me. Excellent gas mileage and a uniquely MINI look inside-out, the new 2013 MINI Cooper is truly a remarkable standout. It has the style, and it is fun to drive. While the Toyota Aygo brags about its wide headroom, legroom, and kneeroom – in spite of being narrow enough to swipe through a credit card machine.

    Stelle Courney

  3. A Fiat 500 is very a cute car and extremely reliable. I wouldn’t forget the Fiat since it was the the car we used when my wife and I had our Italian tour last year. It’s nice because it’s so smooth and easy to drive. I think it would really be great for your sister!