Fiat’s 500 city car goes hybrid for 2020

Published: 09 January 2020

► 2020's Fiat 500 update
► New mild hybrid powertrain
► First deliveries in March 2020

Fiat is injecting a bit of modernity to its cute-but-ageing 500 city car with a new mild hybrid powertrain.

It and the Panda, which shares the new engine, are ‘the first steps toward electrification’ for Fiat, even if there’s such a thing as the 500e on sale in the USA. To celebrate, the brand has also announced a Hybrid Launch Edition.

What makes up this new hybrid powertrain?

FCA’s 1.0-litre, three-cylinder ‘Firefly’ engine is mated to a 12-volt e-motor and 11Ah lithium-ion battery; a similar setup to the likes of Suzuki’s SHVS system. It’ll offer the gentlest of electrical assistance and provide smoother a smoother start/stop function at up to 18mph. The engine is also mounted lower by 45mm than before to help lower the car’s centre of gravity.

Performance specs? Few and far between, but Fiat says the engine produces an almighty 69bhp combined (and 68lb ft) – a whole one brake-horsepower more than the boggo 1.2. The MHEV Fiat 500 also benefits from a six-speed box – something usually reserved for the Abarth versions.

Phwoar – colour me underwhelmed. Any other specs?

As the mild hybrid arrives, a Hybrid Launch Edition arrives with it. An exclusive colour called ‘dew green’ is applied, upholstery made of Seaqual Yarn – a material made up of recycled plastics. Oh, and a hybrid badge. That’s your lot.

Fiat 500 hybrid interior

What about a full-electric Fiat 500?

Fiat says that one is an all-new car (but, then again, the brand said the 500’s 2016 facelift was an all-new car, too), but you’ll have to wait until the 2020 Geneva motor show for that.

Fiat 500 hybrid: when can I buy one?

It’s available later in January 2020 with the first deliveries arriving in the spring for both the 500 and Panda versions.

Check out our Fiat reviews

By Jake Groves

CAR's staff writer, office Geordie, gamer, lover of hot hatches