Fiat might have been a bit behind the curve when it comes to electrified models, but with a whole host of new models set to arrive in 2020, the brand is now gearing up for the future.
The first of its electrified models to be sold in Europe is the Fiat 500 Hybrid, which features a mild-hybrid powertrain, promising to offer lower emissions and improved fuel consumption.
Fiat hasn’t changed the 500 formula dramatically but has introduced a number of intriguing features on this new Hybrid model. Here are five of our favourites…
New mild-hybrid powertrain
Given this models ‘Hybrid’ name, it’s not surprising that the key feature on this model is the new powertrain. This 1.0-litre mild-hybrid system will replace the 1.2-litre petrol available previously.
It’s the first in Fiat’s FireFly engine series to feature mild-hybrid tech and combines the small unit with a belt-starter generator and small battery. This combination allows the Fiat to offer improved performance – with power staying the same at 69bhp, though torque has been increased to 92Nm. Though its efficiency where this engine excels, with Fiat saying it’ll return 53.3mpg, and have CO2 emissions as low as 88g/km.
Ability to shut the engine off when driving
While many of us will have stop/start technology fitted to our cars that allows the engine to turn off when at a standstill to cut fuel consumption and emissions, the 500 Hybrid is able to switch the engine off while driving to enhance efficiency.
It’s only available at slower speeds around town, at about less than 20mph, and works by taking the car out of gear. It can feel unusual at first, but you still have control of all its auxiliary functions, and as you soon engage a gear engine, the engine seamlessly returns to action.
A six-speed manual gearbox
You might think that mentioning a manual gearbox is a strange inclusion into a ‘key features’ list, but we think it’s something that makes the 500 Hybrid stand out from the crowd. That’s because most cars in this class with their minimal power outputs are typically paired to a five-speed manual transmission, though the 500 Hybrid instead gets a far more useful six-speed gearbox – allowing the model to not feel too out of its depth at higher speeds.
The first car to feature seats made from ‘Seaqual Yarn’
With manufacturers increasingly trying to do their bit to help the planet, many are looking beyond the powertrains themselves. This is something Fiat has done on its 500 Hybrid Launch Edition, as the model is the first car to feature seats from Seaqual Yarn, which involves weaving together various materials made from recycled plastics. As much as 10 per cent of these plastics have originated from the sea, which shows Fiat’s commitment to helping the environment.
A special new launch colour
Fiat loves a special edition or too, with the 500 being available with over 30 special editions since it was reintroduced in 2007.
To help celebrate the first hybrid-powered 500, there is the new aforementioned Launch Edition model. It comes painted in a vibrant Dew Green, which really helps this city car to stand out even further. Special Hybrid badging and ‘H’ logos also help to separate it from the regular models.