1996 Fiat Cinquecento S 896cc from UK and Ireland
Cheap to buy, cheap to run, but you get what you pay for!
I replaced the exhaust at 49000 miles at a cost of ~£60.
The head gasket failed at 51000 miles and cost a further £250.
This is a very cheap car both to run and to buy. However, it is a Fiat and the most basic trim of the most basic model so don't expect too much.
One of the most annoying things about the Cinquecento S is the lack of a temperature gauge. There is a red warning light that comes on when the engine is overheating, but that's it. This is probably the reason I ran the car with a ruptured head gasket for so long before noticing, which resulted in warping the cylinder head almost beyond repair.
It's also quite uncomfortable on long journeys and there is very little room in the back, especially with tall drivers.
On the good side, I only paid £1000 for a 6 year old model in good condition with under 50000 miles and running costs are pretty good. I consistently get around 50 mpg with the tiny, yet well tuned, engine.
This car is also a little underpowered with 4 passengers. It takes a long time to get up to motorway speed and runs the engine very hot while you stay there. The cooling system is certainly not adequate for long journeys on sunny days.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No
Review Date: 12th February, 2003
29th Apr 2005, 11:42
Afraid you're wrong. Just read through the other reviews. I have two 899 cinqs. Both have overheated and blown their head gaskets. After handbrake problems (clearly a design fault) overheating problems seem the commonest. I wonder how they cope in hot countries like Italy? (OK I know it's a Polish car). REGULARLY check that your radiator cooling fan is working. Once it or its switch (located in the side of the radiator) fails then, come this time of the year, especially in slow traffic after a long run, you're going to be in trouble to the cost of £250+