Fiat has always been an innovator. From their humble beginnings in the 19th century, to becoming the quirky manufacturer they’re known as today.
Their cars force you to take notice. When you drive past one, you know it’s a Fiat.
And to create such a recognisable brand isn’t easy. So how have they managed it?
For that, we need to dive into the Italian company’s history. But if you’d rather just see the cars they make today, click the model you want to read about below.
Fiat Company History
Fiat is one of the longest-lasting brands in the world. It was formed in 1899 as Europe was discovering the everyday use internal combustion engine.
The Italian’s first offering to the world came a year later – in 1900 – when they introduced an adaptation of the 3½ HP.
Despite the name, it produced 4.2 horsepower and had a top speed of 22mph.
Not long after that, due to their roaring success both on the road and track, interest from abroad came knocking.
The company was floated on the New York Stock Exchange and production flourished, including models being sold in the USA and Australia.
After several years of exponential growth in several sectors, including trucks, ships and planes, World War II began, and the production lines were transformed to create military vehicles rather than stylish Italian cars.
Targeted Allied bombing left the Fiat plants in ruins on several occasions. But once the conflict had ended, the Marshall Plan – which was an American-led rebuilding fund for Western Europe – was agreed, and car production began again.
The Fiat 500 – or “Mickey Mouse” as it was known in Italy – was one of the first cars to wear the Italian marque during the post-war era.
From that point, Fiat pushed the boundaries of car manufacturing and produced some truly incredible cars, such as the Dino, the original 124 and the 131 Abarth – which would go on to win three World Rally Championship constructor titles, two drivers titles and 18 races.
They also made some shockers too, though – the Multipla being the epitome at a time when Fiat and their cars were known for breaking down, endlessly.
However, since reforming in the early 2000s, Fiat is back to its best.
And instead of making dull, unreliable or just outright ugly cars, they’ve crafted their niche in outside-the-box thinking and offering bespoke levels of driving like no other – as we’ll come on to below.
But their long and rich history has put the company where it is today.
Once the reigning World Rally champions; once the owners of Ferrari; once the creator of World War II jets is now the manufacturer of some of the most popular cars in the world.
How very Fiat.
Fiat Car Range
Fiat has a long history of making outstanding cars. And their current crop – which features five different models – only adds to that long list.
The Fiat 500 is one of the most iconic cars on the road.
First created in 1957, this modernised take brings with it style, heritage and quality.
And thanks to its compact, but not stingy design, the 500 has become one of the world’s best-selling city cars.
From new, there are five trim levels to choose from; ranging from the entry-level Pop to the top-of-the-range Rockstar.
A standard, there are 14-inch steel wheel covers and chrome-plated detailing – a nod to the car of the past – LED daytime running lights, air-con, speed limiter and a full set of airbags.
As you climb the spec list, alloy wheels replace the steel covers – with a choice of either 15-inch or 16-inch wheels depending on trim.
A panoramic sunroof is added, as is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto – housed in a 7-inch touchscreen system – and there’s also a digital cockpit and extra styling upgrades.
With the little Fiat, there’s also the 500c – the convertible version.
It’s not so much a standard convertible, in that the frame above the windows are solid.
Instead, only the roof retracts, creating a wind-resistant cabin which also gives you access to thousands of miles of blue skies.
Under the bonnet, there’s a choice of either a manual 1.0-litre hybrid engine or an automatic 1.2-litre powertrain across the whole range.
- 1.0 Hybrid – 70bhp
- 1.2 Petrol – 69bhp
Advantages of Fiat 500
- Great retro styling
- Low insurance costs
- A lot of car for your money
Disadvantages of Fiat 500
- Entry-level spec is a bit sparse
- Don’t hold their value particularly well
Lease your very own Fiat 500 from £132 Monthly.
The Fiat 500X is more than just a fattened-up city car.
Yes, it has the same charming style as its smaller namesake, but much of its underpinnings come from the Jeep Renegade. So, it’s a proper SUV, albeit there’s no four-wheel-drive option.
But does that matter? It’s designed for city driving, and its unreserved styling helps you do so while turning heads.
The 500X comes in five different trims which sit under three different styles – Sport, Urban Look and Cross Look. Confused? Well, it is Fiat.
The Sport, as you can probably guess, is the most aggressive of the range. Although it doesn’t come with more power, with the turbocharged 1.3-litre petrol engine also available in the Cross Look.
What it does have, though, is 18-inch alloy wheels, a dual chrome exhaust, matte grey exterior finish and sports-focused interior with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
500X Urban Look
The 500X Urban Look has two trim levels – Urban and Lounge. Compared to the Sport, the big changes are smaller wheels and more refined styling.
With the Urban, you get 16-inch alloys, cruise control, an electronic parking brake, lane assist, a 7-inch touchscreen system and a dashboard matching the exterior paintwork.
Meanwhile, in the Lounge, on top of all that comes auto lights and wipers, front and rear parking sensors, a leather interior, automatic climate control, and bigger 17-inch wheels.
In terms of power, the Urban Look only comes with one engine – a 1.0-litre, 130bhp turbocharged petrol.
500X Cross Look
The 500X Cross Look also comes in two forms; the City Cross and City Cross Plus.
As standard, you get 17-inch alloy wheels, fog lights, lane assist, speed assist, road sign recognition and cruise control.
As well, there are two USB ports, rear parking sensors and a 7-inch HD touchscreen system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
If you want to spend a bit more, there’s also the City Cross Plus.
The upgraded spec features roof rails, tinted windows, a rearview parking camera, 3D sat-nat and chunkier wheels.
In the Cross Look, you have the choice of two engines; either the 1.0-litre or 1.3-litre turbocharged petrol which produce 130bhp and 150bhp respectively.
- City Cross
- City Cross Plus
- 1.0 Petrol – 130bhp
- 1.5 Petrol – 150bhp
Advantages of Fiat 500X
- Proper SUV
- Big model range
- Good entry-level spec
Disadvantages of Fiat 500X
- No four-wheel-drive
- No diesel option
Lease the Fiat 500X from £165 Monthly.
The Fiat 500L is another to share its name with the compact city car without much else.
Its design detailing isn’t too different, but inside they’re worlds apart, with the 500L comfortably fitting a family of five with space to spare.
The 500L has been praised for its class-leading practicality in the past, and the latest version is no different.
Good seat flexibility and a comfortable drive, for the most part, make it ideal for day-to-day family living.
In the 500L, there are three trim options inside two types of car – the Urban Look and Cross Look.
The Urban Look is the smallest 500L, but it’s by no means compact.
Its sizeable cabin and refined interior are only improved by 455 litres of boot space, which is more than a Nissan Juke or Ford Focus.
On top of that, there’s loads of standard equipment, including sat-nav, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and a rearview camera.
As ever, you also have the choice of a wide range of colours, including 15 different roof combinations, on top of a pick between 16-inch or 17-inch alloys.
Under the bonnet sits a 1.4-litre petrol engine which puts out 95bhp.
The Fiat 500L Cross Look is 34mm longer, 26 mm wider and 21mm taller than the Urban, and although it doesn’t sound much, it has a more imposing figure on the road.
The bigger shell is also helped by the more robust-looking front bumper, air intake and alloy wheel range.
The Cross Look also comes in two forms, the City Cross and the Cross.
The City Cross is the lower-priced version and comes with 16-inch wheels, cruise control, a 7-inch touchscreen display and smartphone integration as standard.
Meanwhile, for a little more, you can upgrade to the Cross and have 17-inch wheels, rear parking sensors as well as automatic dual-zone climate control.
In both the City Cross and Cross sits the same 1.4-litre petrol engine you get in the Urban, which, if we’re being honest, is a struggle in a car of this size.
- City Cross
- 1.4 Petrol – 95bhp
Advantages of Fiat 500L
- Loads of space
- Flexible seating
Disadvantages of Fiat 500L
- Power lacking
- Only one engine choice
Lease the Fiat 500L for £150 Monthly.
Since its inception in the late 1970s, the Fiat Panda has acquired quite the cult following.
Its design is simple and no-frills, which is quite a competitive market nowadays including the Dacia Duster and MG ZS.
But despite its competition, the Panda is still a car that’s adored.
It’s not too difficult to see why, either. The Panda offers a low-priced gateway into the SUV world, with a basic entry-level POP costing just over £10,000 from new.
For your money, you get a slightly higher ride height than a standard hatchback, but not much else.
The Pop offers MP3 compatibility, so you can play your music through the radio, but other than that, the interior is what you’d expect for such a small price tag.
You can, of course, splash out and head towards the top of the range. You’ll find four-wheel-drive on top of Bluetooth connectivity, terrain selector and automatic climate control. But overall, it certainly feels less value for money than some of its competitors.
There’s also not a lot of power either, with the Panda only coming with two engine choices – a 0.9-litre and 1.2-litre petrol.
But undoubtedly the biggest concern of them all is the Fiat Panda’s NCAP safety rating, where it scored zero out of five – yes, 0/5.
As basic cars go, it doesn’t rival newer models at entry-level and the top specs start getting expensive.
Add that to its shocking NCAP safety rating, and you have to wonder whether the low cost is worth the risk. For some, it will be.
- City Cross
- Cross 4X4
- 1.2 Petrol – 69bhp
- 0.9 Twinair – 105bhp
Advantages of Fiat 500L
- Cheap entry-level spec
- Four-wheel-drive on high specs
Disadvantages of Fiat 500L
- Horrendous safety rating
- Poor entry-level spec
- Not as good as competitors
Lease a Fiat Panda for £160 Monthly.
The Fiat Tipo is the typical big car for small money. And you get a lot of car for your money.
Coming in at a lower price than a Ford Fiesta while being bigger than a Ford Focus, it challenges the likes of the Dacia Sandero as the ultimate value for money car.
The Tipo doesn’t waste its size either, with class-leading boot space and rear legroom, meaning that five can ride in comfort with a full loading bay.
And if you want even more room, there’s also the Station Wagon which adds an extra 110 litres of boot space.
The Tipo hatchback comes in six trim levels. The entry-level Easy features Bluetooth connectivity, air conditioning, 15-inch steel wheels and – a rarity in today’s age – a spacesaver spare wheel as standard.
As you spend more money, there’s plenty of tech available – including Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, sat-nav, rearview camera and cruise control – to create a richer cabin, and extra styling options too, such as up to 18-inch alloy wheels.
That’s until you reach the top-spec Sport, which also comes with part-leather trim, automatic climate control and black styling details to emphasise the Tipo’s sporty nature.
Under the bonnet in both the hatchback and Station Wagon, you have the choice between two 1.4-litre petrol engines – both of which come with a six-speed manual gearbox – and a 1.6-litre diesel – which has the option of either manual or automatic.
- 1.4 petrol – 95bhp
- 1.4 petrol – 120bhp
- 1.6 diesel – 120bhp
Advantages of Fiat Tipo
- Low price
- Good spec not that expensive
- Best in class space
Disadvantages of Fiat 500L
- Bare entry-level spec
- Lacks a powerful engine
Lease your very own Fiat Tipo from £167 Monthly.
Fiat Concept Cars
The Centoventi is Fiat’s solution to affordable electric motoring.
It’s a fully customisable family hatchback and probably one of the most important cars ever created.
At least, the idea is.
The Centoventi is still in the concept stage, which means, while Fiat is going to make it, we don’t know exactly how it’ll turn out just yet. But the prototypes look groundbreaking.
On the exterior, you’re given a blank canvas. You can customise its paintwork, wheel colour, roof; you can even wrap it in a selection of designs.
The Fiat badging sits illuminated on the front grille, alongside the four famous Fiat stripes – which not only look cool but indicate how much battery life you have left.
At the rear sits a smart tailgate that’s customisable with emojis, battery life and even local adverts if you want to make a little bit of cash while you’re on the move.
Entering the cabin via coach doors, you’re greeted with an airy and open cockpit.
In the front sits a Mercedes-Benz-like panoramic display as well as an ingenious lego-like dashboard.
Yes, you read that right – lego-like. There are little holes in the dash which allow you to clip in accessories such as a Bluetooth soundbar, magazine holder and storage compartments.
There’s also the option to ditch the infotainment system to save even more money and replace it with your own phone or tablet, which is gripped into place.
The front passenger seat can be quickly removed or replaced with a footrest or baby car seat, and the rear seats can be folded away into the floor to create more boot space.
And the Centoventi may have finally overcome the electric car’s biggest problem – range.
With modular batteries, the hatchback’s powertrain can be upgraded or restored as quickly as changing the batteries in your TV remote, meaning no waiting around at filling stations.
But without a doubt, the most impressive component of this car is the price.
Nothing’s been confirmed yet, but with prices touted as low as £12,000, and release date as early as 2021, the Fiat Centoventi could be the start of the full electric revolution.
If you’re looking to lease a Fiat model, take a look at the full variety online to browse.