Fiat goes green with

hybrid power

Fiat 500 and Panda hybrids, 2020, front
Fiat 500 hybrid, 2020, front
Fiat 500 hybrid, 2020, side
Fiat 500 hybrid, 2020, rear
Fiat 500 hybrid, 2020, interior
Fiat 500 hybrid, 2020, instrument display
Fiat 500 hybrid, 2020, First Edition badge
Fiat 500 hybrid, 2020, Seaqual seats
Fiat 500 hybrid, 2020, Seaqual fabric
Fiat 500 hybrid, 2020, badge
Fiat Panda hybrid, 2020, front
Fiat Panda hybrid, 2020, side
Fiat Panda hybrid, 2020, rear
Fiat Panda hybrid, 2020, interior
Fiat Panda hybrid, 2020, instrument panel
Fiat Firefly hybrid engine, 2020

FIAT is late to the hybrid party but it is coming on strong with electrified versions of its baby models - the 500 and Panda.

Using a hybridised development of the 1.0-litre, three-pot Firefly engine the new system is said to be up to 30 per cent more fuel efficient.

The engine develops 70ps - a fraction more than the 1.2-litre block it is replacing - and on the road gives both models a more robust feeling.

On the 500 emissions are reduced to 88g/km while the Panda now comes in at 89g/km which translates into official fuel returns of 53.3mpg and 49.6 respectively.

In real world conditions we managed to average 46 to the gallon in the 500 hybrid and a 48mpg in the Panda over similar routes in and around Bologna in Italy.

That puts the Fiat duo on par with the latest superminis and both the 500 and the Panda perform in competent fashion.

Prices are up by some £500 which sees the 500 hybrid in Pop trim start from £12,665 and the Panda from £13,885 in City Cross specification.

Revised instrumentation reflects the new models electrification and data about the mild hybrid set up appears on the dash while to further compound their green credentials both models now use Seaqual fabrics in the upholstery which are made from plastic recycled from the ocean.

The line ups top out at £16,795 for the 500 and £14,485 for the Panda with specially finished Launch Edition models appearing in both line ups which come with the Seaqual treatment and hybrid badges inside and out as well as a green hue paint jobs.

It looks smart and contemporary and marks Fiat's arrival into the electrical age with some gusto.

The new powertrain is available across the two line ups which includes the open top version of the 500 but not the 4x4 version of the Panda which for the time being remains powered by a 1.3-litre MultiJet petrol engine.

Performance figures for the new 500 hybrid are 0 to 60 in 13.8 seconds with a top speed of 104mph and 14.7 seconds and 96mph and both come with six-speed manual transmissions replacing the five-speed boxes used before.

The system uses a belt integrated starter generator to aid the work of the combustion engine and operates seamlessly.

It also improves the stop/start function and introduces regenerative braking which stores energy in a lithium battery.

As such the mild-hybrid set up allows the engine to coast at speeds of up to 18mph to further aid fuel economy.

A hidden bonus is that the new engine is now mounted almost two inches lower giving both models a lower centre of gravity which has improved the overall feel of both models.

At higher speeds the difference is more noticeable and both are now much more at home when cruising.

Fiat is planning to expand its electric credentials and will be introducing a pure electric version of the 500 in July - a car that will have its debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March.

Other plans include the roll out of hybrid technology to more models in its range as the need to comply with stricter emission regulations grows.

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