Last year we ran a story that Watchdog viewers were complaining that Fiat 500s fitted with the 69hp 1.2-litre petrol engine lacked power so much that they couldn’t even get up hills.
The response was huge – from driving instructors telling us their students had failed driving tests because the car was incapable of hill starts, to others saying you just needed to use a bit more gas.
Fiat responded with this statement: “Following the BBC Watchdog segments featuring the Fiat 500 1.2, which aired on November 6 and November 13 2014, we received a number of calls from customers related to the performance of their engine when executing hill starts.
“The majority of calls we received were from owners of Euro 6 Fiat 500 1.2 vehicles built without optional ESC (Electronic Stability Control), which have different engine software to vehicles equipped with ESC. ESC is now standard on all models across the Fiat range.”
Fiat went on to say that it’s working on a software update to “improve the driveability” of its cars – and this will be applied to these customers’ cars during their next scheduled service at a Fiat dealer.
So, in theory, despite using the same engine, the new 2015 Fiat 500 shouldn’t have a problem with hills as all models come with ESC as standard.
During the launch of the revised 500 in Turin, we decided to find out just how bad the 1.2-litre Fiat 500 is at setting off on hills. Watch this video to find out how we got on…