I recently had the pleasure of taking a brand new Fiat 500 and a brand new Fiat Tipo for a spin. The idea? I wanted to see which one I prefer as a new driver and look at the pros and cons of each. I want to share my honest opinions and views with other young drivers who may be in the market for a new car! I’ll let you know what I really think of both cars and you can decide - does the popular and fun Fiat 500 outweigh the style and sophistication of the Tipo?
The Fiat 500 is undoubtedly one of the most popular cars amongst young people. Its retro style has made its way into the hearts of young drivers across the country and I’m eager to find out why – I’ve never driven a 500 before, but absolutely love the way they look (who doesn’t?!) so I’m pretty excited about this one.
The Fiat Tipo is a well-rounded car that can take you through the first few years of your driving journey, and beyond! It may not be at the forefront of young drivers minds, but I want to know why. Yes, it’s bigger than the 500 – but does this make it any less of a first car for a young driver?
Disclaimer: All thoughts are entirely my own and do not reflect the opinion of Marmalade as a company.
One of the big selling points for me when it comes to getting a new car is the tech. Now I’m not a super tech-savvy person, but I am swayed toward cars that have cool and original tech features, whether they’re designed to help with driving or entertainment.
It looks as cool on the inside as it does on the outside. It may look old school, but it definitely doesn’t have old school technology. There are buttons on the steering wheel to control almost all parts of your entertainment system, it has a powerful aircon system that cools down the inside of the car instantly! Its small infotainment screen gives you everything you want, without being too big and bulky and taking up too much room on the dashboard – anything bigger would probably look silly is this compact car. The Fiat 500 came with all the tech anyone could really need. It’s basic but covers all aspects – any more technology in this car I think would push it over the edge.
The Tipo was full of tech. There were buttons, dials, and switches everywhere, and even after spending an hour in the car, I still didn’t figure out what everything did (I guess I could’ve read the manual but I’m the type of person who likes to guess my way through everything) – however, there were a couple of really cool features that I’ll share with you. The built-in sat nav had a mode where it showed buildings in 3D, which was a fun surprise – it meant I could see what buildings were behind other buildings before I’d even driven around them! It sounds strange, but it helped when figuring out where I was and how far away my destination was. Another thing that the Tipo had was the option to change the support in the back of the driver’s seat. As a 23 year old who feels like a 93 year old, this was a nice feature and made the drive even more comfortable!
The winner of the technology round?
For me, it’s got to be the Tipo! From the tech I discovered, it had everything I wanted and even added extras that I’d never considered, which are always a nice surprise when stepping into a new car for the first time! I also know that if I were to spend more time discovering what the Tipo has to offer, I’d likely find even more tech that I could enjoy.
The driving style
Driving the 500 felt almost exactly as I thought it would. As the proud owner of another small car I hoped it would feel compact, light, and easy to maneuver – and it didn’t disappoint. I had no worries when it came to taking the 500 for a drive because I was used to nipping around in a small car of my own. This was a huge perk for me, and I would be tempted to get this as my first car, too. After being in driving lessons driving a small car, it would worry me to hop into anything too big straight away.
This car is a lot bigger than the 500, which made me panic at first. I wasn’t used to driving anything too big, so I had no idea how this would feel when I was behind the wheel. I have to say though, once I got the Tipo out and on the road, I absolutely loved it! It really felt like I had some power behind me, and I got up to the speed limit really quickly. The Tipo also has the benefit of having 6 gears! Now I don’t know about you, but sometimes when driving along the motorway in 5th gear, I often wish there was another gear I could put my car in to, and this car had it! It was a comfortable drive, and I felt safe and secure behind the wheel even when I was doing 70mph - winning all around!
The winner of the driving style round?
I’ve got to go with the Tipo on this one again! I loved driving both of them, but I think the addition of the 6th gear sold this one for me. It made driving along parkways much more fun and controlled.
Have I mentioned that I’m used to driving small cars? Well I am, and because of this, parking the Fiat 500 was no problem at all. In fact, it was possibly one of the easiest cars I’ve ever parked. It’s so small and compact (without compromising on space inside), I wasn’t worried about parking – I knew I’d be able to get it parked with ease, and I did.
Now this car struck a different kind of parking fear into my heart. It’s a 5 door and felt twice the size of the 500. I knew that parking would be more difficult, simply because I wasn’t used to it. I decided to reverse into a parking space to test this out (ideally so it would be easier for me to leave the space) and I was surprised to find that when I put the car into reverse, it had a reverse parking camera! Not only that, but it had a guide on where the car would go when you moved the steering wheel. Whilst this took me a couple of minutes to get my head around (and I still was reliant on my mirrors and blind spot checks) it helped a lot! The worry of parking drifted away and I reversed parked in the bay like a pro.
The winner of the parking round
Whilst the Tipo did everything it could to help me in and out of parking spaces, the winner of this one is definitely the Fiat 500! Like I said, it’s one of the easiest cars I’ve ever parked and not just because it’s small. The big windows and mirrors meant I could see all around and checking blind spots was so easy!
The look & feel
I think it goes without saying that the Fiat 500 is an absolute beauty. It’s retro looks, inside and out, make you feel proud to be driving it! There are also so many cool features that come with different models of the 500. The one I drove (A Fiat 500 Lounge) had tartan-like seats and a sunroof, which added a little extra excitement inside the car when I was driving it.
It took me a while to actually like the look of the Fiat Tipo. At first, I wasn’t sure if it really suited me which is something I find quite important. As I’ll be driving the car, I want to like the way it looks – just like I wouldn’t wear an outfit if I didn’t like it. So whilst first impressions weren’t great, after a while it really started to grow on me. I stepped out of the small city car mind set and actually really began to appreciate how this car looked when compared to other bigger cars on the road. It was sleek and sophisticated, which I was absolutely on board with. When driving it, I felt a bit more grown up than I did when driving smaller cars (I know I’m 23, but I’m not admitting to being an adult yet).
The winner of the look & feel round?
I think it’s pretty obvious – I’m a new driver, and a girl, of course the Fiat 500 is the winner for me! Its design is amazing and really embraces the retro look and feel in the most perfect way. I love the cool features you can choose from too, you can really make the 500 your own.
Marks out of 10?
The Fiat 500 – 9/10
The Fiat Tipo – 9/10
I couldn’t choose a winner! They’re both such fab cars in their own way. I almost wish I could harness the best bits of both cars and turn it into a full 10/10 (which Fiat have probably already done, I just haven’t had a chance to test drive it yet). If I was a brand new driver who had just passed their test, I’d opt for a Fiat 500 every day of the week. If I was a new driver who had been on the roads for a good couple of years, and had experience driving bigger cars, I’d seriously consider getting a Fiat Tipo!
I think it all comes down to where you’re at as a driver when buying a new car, and finding the car that really suits you. I would 110% recommend that whatever car you’re considering – take it and a few others for a test drive. You never know what unlikely car you’ll fall in love with.