Fiat Cinquecento 1998 Misc Documents A Car Test.PDF PDF

Car test
November 1998
Fiat Cinquecento
could be regarded as spawning the trendy,
sub-Fiesta-sized cars we’re seeing a whole rash
of lately. Offering at least a partial panacea for our ever
more traffic-blighted city centres, they’re nippy to
drive, economical and easy to park. They also have
ample space for the shopping, yet aren’t over-taxed by a
few trips farther afield. It’s easy to forget, though, that
Sir Alec Issigonis got there nearly 40 years earlier with
the Mini – a timeless classic still on sale to this day.
Either way, the Cinquecento (along with its roomier
Punto sibling) effectively replaced the Uno and Panda,
as well as the square, sloth-like Fiat 126, finally
dispatched from its lethargic misery in 1992. The newer
duo provide an effective choice between a titchy
tearaway for mainly town-bound use, or a bigger, more
practical supermini for more family-oriented needs.
Launched in May 1993, this latter-day 500 (but
doesn’t Cinquecento sound more exciting?), offers just
a single, three-door body style, powered by a
Lilliputian, but not too limp-wristed, 900cc engine.
Initially, two versions were offered: a base model
(redubbed S around mid-1995) and the SX spruced up
by a sunroof, electric windows and central locking. Fiat
bolted more vigour under the bonnet at the start of 1995,
introducing the aptly named Sporting, which boasts a
more powerful, 54bhp 1.1-litre engine, a rev counter
and smart alloy wheels, decked out with sports seats and
a leather-trimmed steering wheel and gear knob.
The main points to look for...
Engine and cooling system
A straight choice between a cooking Cinquecento or the
Sporting keeps things simple on the decision-making
front. The 900cc engine emits an enthusiastic enough
rasp, but in reality, the paltry 41bhp propulsion takes
over 20sec to reach 60mph and will barely top 80mph
flat out. This makes the Sporting’s 54bhp 1.1-litre
engine (pinched from the Punto) a far more enticing
proposition, as it’s not only better suited to longer or
motorway trips, but doles out hugely bigger slices of
fun, too. Under the bonnet, we haven’t unearthed too
much cause for concern, although the tiddlers
hydraulic tappets aren’t always as quiet as they should
be. We found a small but not-unexpected crop of blown
head gaskets, minor oil and water leaks and a few ropey
radiators. Catalytic convertors can prove an expensive
If you’re thinking of buying a used
Cinquecento, we can help. We’ve delved into
our breakdown, warranty and vehicle
inspection service statistics covering the last
few years and come up with what you need to
know if you’re planning to become the second