Meet the new top-of-the-range Fiat 500 Cult. If you’ve forgotten how much fun driving can be, this could be the car for you.
Externally it doesn’t look hugely different from regular 500s, apart from its 16-inch alloy wheels and gloss black fixed glass sunroof. Inside it’s packed with goodies.
Leather seats and steering wheel, air conditioning, connectivity, rear parking sensors and much more, while under the bonnet lurks a gem of an engine.
The car I drove featured the new 875cc TwinAir turbo petrol engine with stop-start technology. It may only have two cylinders, but it still packs a punch.
It has a 0-62mph time of 10 seconds, but feels much faster with a top speed of 117mph, and yet is still capable of 67.3 mpg with low CO2 emissions of just 99g/km.
The engine and slick six-speed gearbox combine to provide zippy performance, whether you’re on the motorway, country roads or in town. It doesn’t feel small on the motorway and can more than hold its own, while the thrum of the eager little engine is infectious at all speeds.
The driving position is high, but comfortable, while the new seven-inch instrument binnacle ahead of the steering wheel is a triumph of design.
The simple digital dial gives you all the information you need, including speed, mpg, revs, mileage, oil and coolant.
However, press the Sport mode button in the centre console and the 500 Cult’s dual personality is revealed. The digital dashboard transforms from an “eco” display (which focuses on how efficiently you’re driving) to a red-blooded turbo-boost gauge coupled with a noticeably sportier feel to the car.
The only other piece of visible tech is the radio/CD audio unit with Fiat’s Blue&Me connectivity so you can hook up your smartphone too.
There’s plenty of room up front, though very tall drivers may find their heads hitting the roof, while the rear seats are strictly for children or very small, easy-going people.
The 500 is safe too. Unusually for a small car, there are seven airbags and it scored a maximum five Euro NCAP stars in crash safety tests.
I drove the Fiat 500 0.9 TwinAir 105hp Cult, priced from £15,200. If you’re looking for a nimble, fun, funky, economical and safe car, look no further than the Fiat 500 Cult.