Review: Fiat 500 Pink
If you want a pink car, there aren’t too many options but the Fiat 500 Pink is one. Steve Walker takes a look.
Close your eyes and imagine the least masculine car you can. A vehicle that will have certain socioeconomic groups swooning but would be the very last thing the stereotypical white van man, lumberjack or Royal Marine Commando would want to be seen driving around town in.
You might never have seen or heard of a Fiat 500 but there’s a very good chance you’re currently picturing that car and that it’s in Pink special edition guise.
Fiat isn’t aiming for a broad appeal with this model. Some people will run a mile at the prospect of the cheekily retro 500 citycar with shocking pink bodywork but others will doubtless see it as all their motoring fantasies made metal. Whatever your viewpoint, it’s hard not to have an opinion on the 500 Pink. It’s a difficult car to ignore and with only 500 examples due to be sold, a key reason for its existence is to raise awareness of the models in the Fiat 500 range that don’t look like giant marshmallows.
Sitting at the bottom of the Fiat 500 engine line-up, the 1.2-litre unit is nothing to get overly excited about but the Pink’s paintwork will bring all the excitement most people can take so that may not be a problem. It’s a 1,242cc 8-valve 4-cylinder engine that produces a maximum of 69bhp at 5,500rpm and only 102Nm of torque. At least the 500 is both lightweight and used primarily for short journeys in urban areas. This means that the engine isn’t asked to work too hard and should be exposed to the open road, where its lack of punch might be more evident, only infrequently.
The 0-60mph sprint time is nothing to be ashamed of at 12.9s and is less than half a second down on the range-topping diesel engine. With a top speed of 99mph, occasional motorway jaunts are far from out of the question.
"Fiat says that the 500 Pink will appeal "mainly to young women" and it’s not wrong"
It’s pink, I think we’ve established that. Otherwise, this special edition version of the 500 is similar to the standard car. There’s a side rubbing strip with the 500 badge on each flank and the interior is in black to give those scorched retinas a well earned break.
At 1.65m wide, 1.49m high and 3.55m long, the 500 doesn’t take up a great deal of space. For reference, a MINI is 1.91m wide, 1.40m high and 3.68m long: in other words much wider, a little lower and a fair bit longer. Even Renault’s second generation Twingo, at 3.60m, won’t fit into some parking spaces the 500 will be able to squeeze into.
Despite these compact measurements, interior space is OK for a citycar. You can seat adults in the back, though they may not thank you for it, and there’s no problem up front even if driver and passenger are somewhat big boned. The luggage capacity of 185-litres doesn’t give owners too many options but if, like most citycar owners, your back seats are invariably unoccupied, they can cope with the boot’s overspill. The design inside follows the cute, retro themes of the exterior and feels special – a difficult thing to achieve in a car at this price point.
Based on the Lounge trim level from the everyday 500 range, the Pink special edition adds £1,500 of extra equipment for a £1,000 increase in price. It sounds like a decent deal. The extras run to a sunroof, a leather gear knob, special carpet mats and a Pink key cover to let everyone know who owns that pink car in the car park. There’s also Fiat’s Start&Stop technology which enhances the 500’s fuel economy when driving in town.
You don’t catch sight of many pink cars on the road and there may well be a good reason for that but Fiat is confident of selling all 500 versions of the 500 Pink. The car is not without precedent because, if memory serves, Nissan once rolled out a Pink special edition version of its Micra C+C cabriolet. That car also caused quite a stir in the motoring press and there was the suspicion that all the publicity may have been an end in itself. Anyway, there will be people out there who have been yearning for a pink car - there may even be 500 of them - and if that particular shade can be said to suit any modern vehicle, the Fiat 500 is it.
The point of the Stop&Start system in the 500 Pink is to lower fuel consumption and emissions, so how well does it do? On the combined cycle, there’s a 3.5mpg improvement over a standard 1.2-litre 500 taking the figure to 58.9mpg with emissions of CO2 dropping from 119g/km to 113g/km. That’s a useful amount multiplied out across a typical ownership period and the advantages are likely to be even more pronounced if you do most of your driving in congested urban areas where being stationary is par for the course.
The 500 should prove a particularly cheap car to run - and not just because of its low fuel consumption. Insurance is in a reasonable group 4 for the Pink model but there must be a question mark over the residual value of a car with such a lurid colour scheme. .
The pink car has yet to catch on in any meaningful way with UK motorists but Fiat is hoping to change that with its 500 Pink special edition. It’s not just any old pink either: the car is shocking PINK with pink accessories. Needless to say, this model is not going to be for everyone but Fiat is hoping to sell 500 of them and failing that, it should generate a whole lot of publicity for the lower key versions of its 500 citycar.
Fiat says that the 500 Pink will appeal "mainly to young women" and it’s not wrong. It could even be the perfect vehicle for ladies fed up with the man in their life borrowing their car. With a decent haul of extra equipment and a reasonable price tag, it looks decent value but the 500 Pink could be a tricky car to sell on.