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Fiat 500 vs Mini Hatch

Fiat 500 vs Mini Hatch: which is best?

Which is better, the Fiat 500 or the Mini Hatch? Our guide helps you to decide the best small car for you.

Phill Tromans Cazoo

By Phill Tromans

Published: 3 May 2024

The Fiat 500 and Mini Hatch have much in common – both are stylish small hatchbacks with distinctive retro looks. But they also have crucial differences that could help you decide which one suits you best.

Here, we’re comparing the Fiat 500 sold new since 2007 (rather than the newer and very different Fiat 500 Electric) with the three-door Mini Hatch sold new since 2013 (rather than the electric version introduced in 2024).

Fiat 500 vs Mini Hatch: size

Both the Fiat 500 and the Mini Hatch are small cars, but the Fiat is the smaller. It’s 357cm long compared with 386cm for the Mini – a 29cm difference.

The contrast is less in width and height: the Fiat is 189cm wide including side mirrors – 4cm narrower than the Mini. The Fiat’s roof reaches 148cm off the ground – 7cm higher than the Mini’s.

Fiat 500

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Mini Hatch

Fiat 500 vs Mini Hatch: design

Both the Fiat 500 and Mini Hatch lean heavily on their past for their design, inside and out. Each is inspired by models of the same name – the Fiat 500 that was sold new from 1957 to 1975 and the Mini (it wasn’t called Hatch and didn’t even have a hatchback!) sold new between 1959 and 2000. 

Each is very distinctive and full of design features lifted almost directly from their predecessors. The Fiat inherits the horizontal chrome grille at the front, the matching stripe on the bootlid, round headlights and smaller lights that are slightly offset beneath. The Mini has kept its rounded, curved lines and circular headlights.

Fiat 500

Mini Hatch

Fiat 500 vs Mini Hatch: interior and tech

The retro theme of the outside continues inside both the Fiat 500 and the Mini Hatch. The Fiat has numerous references to its ancestor, including a dashboard painted to match the exterior, jewel-like switches and a “cue ball” gear knob.

The Mini features a circular central element in the dashboard that, in the 1960s car, housed a speedometer. Today, it’s home to the infotainment system. More circles can be found dotted around both cabins, including the instruments, door handles, air vents and more.

The Fiat has been around for a long time and the car’s interior technology has advanced over time. Recent models have a larger touchscreen display with DAB, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Some really early cars just featured an FM/AM radio and a CD and MP3 player.

The Mini’s infotainment system is a definite step up from the 500 – it’s a feature-packed system that looks great and is easy to use, either via its touchscreen or a rotary dial between the front seats. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto aren’t standard on all models though, so make sure you check the specific car you’re looking at.

Fiat 500

Mini Hatch

Fiat 500 vs Mini Hatch: practicality

Both the Fiat 500 and the Mini Hatch are three-door small cars, so don’t expect family-car space inside. But for single people and couples, both have a good amount of room for two adults up front and some storage space, too. The back seats in both are best used for occasional use and, even then, are only really comfortable for children or smaller adults because there’s not much legroom. Of the two, the Mini has a bit more capacity for back-seat passengers.

The Fiat 500 has four cupholders (two in the front, two in the back), front door pockets and a few storage areas for your phone, wallet or handbag.

The Mini Hatch has not one, but two gloveboxes – one above the other on the passenger side of the dashboard. There’s also a small storage space under the central armrest and two cupholders ahead of the gearstick, as well as a single cupholder in the back.

Fiat 500

Mini Hatch

Fiat 500 vs Mini Hatch: boot space

If you’re going for maximum boot space then look at the Mini Hatch, which has 211 litres under its load cover. That’s enough for a few full shopping bags or a couple of carry-on wheelie bags, but not much more.

There’s a little less space in the Fiat 500’s boot, with a capacity of 185 litres. Your weekly shopping should squeeze in, but this isn’t the best car for a road trip. Neither car is particularly spacious compared to rivals – you’ll get a much larger boot in a Volkswagen Polo or a Ford Fiesta.

Fiat 500

Mini Hatch

Fiat 500 vs Mini Hatch: which is best to drive?

The Fiat 500 is a great city car. It’s very easy to drive and getting into and out of the tightest parking spaces is a doddle thanks to its tiny dimensions and a great view out. The steering is light – it takes very little effort to turn the wheel – and you can make it even lighter by pressing the ‘City mode’ button on the dashboard. 

The Mini is much more of an all-rounder, and more fun to drive, too. It has a very agile feel through corners, with responsive steering and good acceleration, especially in the more-powerful performance models. Overall, the Mini feels that bit more comfortable and reassuring to drive, giving you a bit more confidence on unfamiliar roads. 

Fiat 500

Mini Hatch

Fiat 500 vs Mini Hatch: which costs less to own?

Because the Fiat 500 has been around for longer, you can buy older models for very little money. Many versions of the Mini Hatch cost more than the Fiat when new and it’s a model that generally depreciates more slowly so are likely to cost you more up front.

However, running costs for both cars are likely to be very affordable. The latest petrol engines in the Mini Hatch will give you up to 52.3mpg, although that figure drops to the low 30s if you go for one of the high-performance Cooper S models. There is an all-electric version of this version of the Mini called the Mini Electric, which could cost less to recharge than a petrol or diesel model would to fill up, but is a lot more expensive to buy. 

Later Fiat 500 models are only available with petrol engines, but earlier diesel models can be found that promise up to 76mpg, according to official figures. The petrol models are efficient, too, and can return up to 61.4mpg.

Fiat 500

Mini Hatch

Fiat 500 vs Mini Hatch: safety

The Mini Hatch was given a surprisingly low four stars out of five when it was tested by safety experts Euro NCAP back in 2014. This was in large part because it lacked the latest safety systems at the time, although they were added in newer versions. However, the core design of the Hatch is old compared with most rivals, so safety standards won’t be as high.

That said, the Fiat 500’s design is even older. It scored the maximum five stars back in 2007, and was retested in 2017, but only scored three stars. Safety standards have moved on even further since then.

Fiat 500 vs Mini Hatch: dimensions

Fiat 500

Length: 3,571mm

Width: 1,893mm (including side mirrors)

Height: 1,488mm

Boot space: 185 litres

Mini Hatch

Length: 3863mm

Width: 1,932mm (including side mirrors)

Height: 1,414mm

Boot space: 211 litres

Fiat 500 vs Mini Hatch: verdict

Winner: Mini Hatch

The Fiat 500 and the Mini Hatch are hugely popular cars, and there’s a reason that they’ve sold so well – customers generally love them. If you’re based mainly in a town or a city, don’t need much luggage space and want a fun little runabout, it’s hard to go wrong with the Fiat 500. It has lots of character and is very cost-effective.

For us, though, the Mini Hatch is a more complete car. It’s happy in town, on the motorway or on a scenic country road, and it’s more fun to drive than the Fiat. It has a higher-quality interior, more room for people and more boot space. While both cars come recommended, the Mini ticks more boxes.

Mini Hatch

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