Fiat 600 1.2 Hybrid (2024) review
The new sharply-priced Fiat 600 is targeted with reestablishing the Italian brand in Ireland.
Neil Briscoe
Neil Briscoe
Pics by Shane O' Donoghue

Published on June 12, 2024

Fiat’s Irish sales have been surviving for some time on a thin diet of petrol and electric versions of the little 500. For a brand which once upon a time commanded 30 per cent of all Irish car sales, Fiat has really and truly fallen from buyers’ radars. Could the new Fiat 600 be the car to finally turn that around? Fiat has tried before, with the similarly-sized 500X, but that failed to chime with buyers’ tastes. This new 600 might stand a better chance, though. Not only does it come as an all-electric 600e (which Matt tested at the car's international launch last September), but Fiat is also launching it with a 1.2-litre petrol hybrid powertrain, as we’re testing here at the 600’s launch to the media in Ireland. Irish car buyers have proven themselves mad for hybrids in the past couple of years, so Fiat may well be striking while the buying iron is hot.

The looks might also prove a boon. The 500X’s attempts to take the cute, retro styling of the little 500 hatchback and turn it into a crossover were less than successful. This 600 arguably does a better job, and those Amy Winehouse-like lashes on the edges of the headlights give it a distinctly feminine vibe. It’s a nice-looking car, augmented by some pleasingly bright colour options which are meant to evoke the Italian landscape - orange for the sun, blue for the sky, aquamarine for the sea, beige for the sand etc.

How much is the Fiat 600?

The 600 is very sharply priced in Ireland. A starting price tag of €28,995 for the most basic hybrid version (badged merely as the 600) is noticeably lower than that asked for its in-house Stellantis Group stablemates, the Jeep Avenger and Peugeot 2008. It’s also considerably more affordable than the Toyota Yaris Cross, which is currently by far and away the best-selling model in this segment. That the Fiat 600 comes well-equipped certainly won’t hurt its chances, either - as standard, you get a 10.25-inch touchscreen, digital instruments, cruise control, air conditioning and rear parking sensors.

Upgrading to the Dolce Vita specification, starting at €30,995, gets you automatic climate control, 17-inch alloy wheels, heated door mirrors with puddle lights, all-round parking sensors, a rear-view camera, low-speed blind-spot monitoring, heated windscreen, front fog lamps, a painted dashboard and heated front seats.

At the top of the 600 Hybrid tree, for now, is the La Prima version which is the one we’re testing here. For a price of €33,995 that comes with built-in navigation, extra USB sockets, leather seats, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, 18-inch alloy wheels, auto high-beam headlights, chrome exterior trim, privacy glass, adaptive cruise control, power adjusted driver’s seat, powered tailgate and a wireless mobile phone charger.

A look inside the Fiat 600

The 600 shares all its mechanical structure with the Jeep Avenger, and if you’ve driven or sat in the Jeep, you’ll instantly recognise some of the cabin fixtures and fittings in the Fiat. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, mind. There are plenty of cheap plastics on display, but overall quality is fine, and Fiat differentiates the 600’s cabin from that of the Jeep with a stretched-out oval shape on the dashboard, which in this La Prima model is painted in a soft contrasting ivory.

That ivory colour matches the leather upholstery on the seats, which is contrast-stitched with the Fiat logo and a 600 badge, and the seats themselves are welcoming and comfortable. The driving position is good, too and the two-spoke steering wheel looks good and feels classy.

The 600 lacks the Jeep Avenger’s full-width front storage shelf, which is a bit of a shame, but otherwise it’s quite practical. Below the push-button drive selectors there’s a large and deep storage space which uses a folding cover rather like what you’d see on an iPad. In there you’ll find the wireless charging pad, if fitted. There’s more storage under the front centre armrest and usefully-sized door bins too.

As with many (far too many) compact crossover models, though, the 600 becomes less practical the further back you go. Rear legroom will be tight for adults, although headroom is fine. There is a small transmission tunnel, which means a lack of foot space for anyone trying to use the centre rear seat, which in any event is pretty narrow and won’t be very comfortable.

At 360 litres with the rear seats up, the 600’s boot is decent, if not class-leading (a Skoda Kamiq holds 400 litres, a Nissan Juke 422 litres) but you can pack in more than you might at first expect, and the compact nature of the hybrid system means that there’s no intrusion from packaging the battery underneath.

The Fiat 600's on-board technology

The 600’s 10.25-inch touchscreen is also familiar from the Jeep Avenger, and it has one major asset on its side - the fact that Fiat has kept physical buttons for the air conditioning controls. That dramatically reduces the workload for the screen, and dramatically reduces your blood pressure when all you want to do is turn the cabin temperature up or down. It also helps that there’s a proper physical controller for the stereo volume (as well as buttons on the steering wheel).

The software that runs on the screen is OK, but no more so. It’s basically the same software that you’ll find in any current Stellantis Group model (Peugeot, Citroen, Opel, DS etc) and while the on-screen graphics look good and the responsiveness is decent, it’s still a bit too fiddly to use at times, and too many functions are on menus which don’t make logical sense. Want to find the button to switch off the (often inaccurate) speed limit warning? Good luck to you...

Driving the Fiat 600

There are more than a few car makers out there claiming that their new model is a hybrid, when it’s technically mild-hybrid which isn’t really a hybrid at all, but merely a beefed-up stop-start system. The Fiat 600 Hybrid skirts close to that but gets away with its badging because its hybrid system is more of a half-way house between a full Toyota-style hybrid and a mild-hybrid installation. So, it’s a mild-hybrid in that its electric motor (packaged inside the six-speed, dual-clutch automatic gearbox) is small and not especially powerful, but it’s a proper hybrid in that limited - very limited - electric-only running is possible. Whatever about the arguments over semantics, the 600’s hybrid setup is a decent one, with good power on offer (it certainly feels as if it has more than the quoted 100hp) and good refinement too, not least because the little 1.2-litre three-cylinder engine responds with a pleasingly raspy noise when extended, rather than the bland drone common to so many other hybrid cars.

The larger 18-inch alloy wheels fitted to this La Prima version probably don’t do the ride quality any favours, and the 600 tends to fidget over short, sharp bumps which won’t be great around town. If you’re mostly an urban driver, consider down-grading to get a smaller wheel for better comfort.

The 600’s steering feels a touch weightier than that of the closely-related Jeep Avenger, and there are no adjustable driving modes. It’s no hot hatch (although there will be a sporty Abarth version of the electric 600e in due course) but the 600 drives pleasantly, with good grip and reasonable chassis balance. I don’t think I’d go so far as to describe it as fun to drive, but it’s certainly not bad.

How economical is the Fiat 600?

Generally, with a compact hybrid, you’d expect to see diesel-like fuel economy. That’s certainly what you get from the rival Toyota Yaris Cross (which is capable of a genuine 4.5 litres per 100km in mixed driving). The 600 Hybrid didn’t get close to that in our hands, and nor did it get close to its official 4.9 litres per 100km figure. In fact, what we witnessed on our test drive as 5.9 litres per 100km. Now, there were some extenuating circumstances, notably that we weren’t on urban roads very much; that our test was brief (we’ll spend more time with the 600 later in the year); and that our test car had a three-figure mileage, so the engine hadn’t had much time to run in. Does that give the 600 Hybrid a get-out-of-economy-jail-free card? Possibly, but it’s a less than impressive performance on this showing. At least the official CO2 figure - 109g/km - is pleasingly low and it means you’ll only have to pay €180 a year in motor tax.

How many child seats can I fit in the Fiat 600?

The Fiat 600 has three ISOFIX points - two in the rear seat and one in the front passenger seat. There’s a handy passenger airbag cutoff switch located inside the driver’s door to allow use of the latter. The middle rear seat is going to be too narrow to take a third child seat in the back, unless it’s a very slim booster cushion but the rear doors open wide enough that fitting a large rear-facing seat should be easy enough either side, albeit you’ll probably have to slide the front seats forward a bit to make space, as in most cars of this size.

How safe is the Fiat 600?

The Fiat 600 hasn’t yet been tested by the independent crash and safety experts at Euro NCAP, but the closely-related Peugeot 2008 has, and that scored four out of five stars, with a 91 per cent rating for adult occupant protection, and an 84 per cent rating for child occupant protection. We’d expect the 600’s scores to be broadly in line with those. Standard safety equipment includes pedestrian detection for the automated emergency braking system, and a lot more besides.

The reasons you'd buy a Fiat 600

Are you a current Fiat 500 owner who fancies staying with the brand but needs more space? Then the 600 is the car for you. Arguably it’s not quite as characterful as the smaller 500 but the 600 looks good, drives well, has a reasonably spacious interior, is well-made and is exceptionally well-priced.

Ask us anything about the Fiat 600

If there’s anything about the Fiat 600 we’ve not covered, or you’d like advice in choosing between it and other cars, you can avail of our (completely free) expert advice service via the Ask Us Anything page.


Tech Specs

Model testedFiat 600 1.2 Hybrid La Prima
Irish pricing600 starts at €28,995; as tested €33,995
Powertrainhybrid - 1.2-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, 21kW electric motor, 1.2kWh battery
Transmissionautomatic - six-speed dual-clutch gearbox, front-wheel drive
Body stylefive-door, five-seat crossover
CO2 emissions109g/km
Irish motor tax€180 per annum
Official fuel consumption4.9 litres/100km (57.6mpg)
Top speed183km/h
0-100km/h10.9 seconds
Max power100hp
Max torque205Nm
Boot space385 litres with all seats in use, 1,256 litres with rear seats folded
Kerb weight1,275kg
Rivals to the Fiat 600