Okay so you’re looking at a seicento
The update for the cinquecento it has basically the same mechanicals but with a different bodyshell/interior.
the sei is considered a little more refined thean the cinq.

There’s no Haynes available so buy a cinq one as it covers most spanner jobs.

The sei was introduced in 1998 with the crossover plate with the cinq being an S plate.

on release there were 3 models to choose from:
The S and SX use the 899cc overhead valve engine
The sporting uses the 1108cc overheadcam engine.

prices from new were roughly

  • sporting £6,835
  • Michael Schumacher Sporting £7,939
  • sx £6,809
  • sx £6,252 (1.1l engine)
  • s £6,510
  • s £5,980 (1.1l engine)
  • citymatic £7,109
  • Mia £5,985
  • Mia £5,534 (1.1l engine)
  • 2 tone £6,238
  • active £6,085
  • active sport £6,385
  • suite £7,019
  • sound £6,484

the 'S' as with the cinq is the basic model however some equipment leves have improved but some have dropped.

standard equipment included:

  • Cat 2 immobiliser
  • Halogen Headlamps
  • Third Brake Light
  • Carpeted Boot
  • Front Seat Belt Pre-tensioners
  • Electronic Headlamp Adjustment
  • Energy Absorbing Steering Wheel
  • Analog Clock

  • however no wheel trims or tinted glass are fitted as there was on the cinq 'S'

sei S.jpg

  • Top speed - 87mph
  • BHP - 39
  • Acceleration from 0-62mph - 18secs
  • Maximum torque - 48lbs per ft
  • Combined fuel consumption - 46.3mpg

the 'SX' has slightly more standard trim levels:

  • 4 Speed Heater Fan
  • Body Coloured Door Mirrors
  • wheel trims
  • tinted glass

  • (performance as 'S')

sei sx.jpg

the sporting has more again:

  • Sports Bumpers
  • Front Fog Lights
  • Decorative Side Strips
  • Aluminium Accelerator Pedal
  • CD Player

seicento mk 1 sporting.jpg

  • however the sporting now has no water temperature gauge compared to the cinq

  • Top speed - 93mph
  • BHP - 54
  • Acceleration from 0-62mph - 13.8secs
  • Maximum torque - 63lbs per ft
  • Combined fuel consumption - 45.6mpg

  • optional equiment included ABS and electric(EPAS) power steering

  • later the citymatic was introduced:

  • this was fitted with the 899cc engine but used a power clutch on a manual gearbox.
  • so to change gear you just ease off the power and change with no clutch pedal used(none fitted)

  • the citymatic system has proved unreliable and wasnt kept in the range for long.
  • repairs can be expensive though its not too much work to convert them to full manual

  • the citymatic is equipped as per the 'SX' with the addition of power steering

  • in 2001 the sei range was updated:

  • all models now use the 1108cc engine.
  • this has been updated with multipoint injection.
  • power output remains @ 54bhp

sei mpi.jpg

  • some other updates were:

  • larger headlamps
  • clear front and side repeaters
  • different wheel trims
  • new style Fiat badge
  • different seat fabrics and headrests
  • opening rear quarter-lights
  • digital mileometer
  • power steering

  • the 'S' equipment stays the same bar the above standard updates
2001 s.jpg

  • the 'SX' has electric windows,bodycoloured bumpers and central locking
2001 sx.jpg
  • the 'sporting' whilst fitted with the same engine as the other models is still faster due to its close ratio gears.
sei sporting mk2.jpg

  • it also has:

  • 13" alloy wheels
  • aluminium effect dashboard
  • sports bumpers
  • sports seats
  • leather steering wheel and gearknob
  • lower suspension

  • also available was the Abarth model,over the sporting it had:
  • side skirts
  • tailgate spoiler
  • 14" alloy wheels
  • Abarth lettering on the front bumper mesh(MPI engined abarths only)
2001 abarth.jpg

  • later to celebrate formula 1 success a limited edition michael schumacher edition was released.
  • this was an abarth in red or yellow with michael schumacher decals(MS) and keyring

schumi rear.jpg

  • In 2002 a 2-tone limited edition was also released, the colours included light/dark blue, grey/orange, dark/light grey.

  • In early 2003 Active, Mia and Sound where released, these effectively where the S and SX re-branded and improved. In late 2003 the Active Sport was added. Late 2003 saw the end of the Schumacher.

  • there was also a 'suite' edition fitted with air conditioning

here you can check what a car failed/had advisories on its last MOT
handy to see what should/could have been done and a haggling point ;)

okay things to look out for:

  • paint fading/mismatch: some colours fade owrse than others.
  • red is probably the worst and polish is only a temporary fix asd it will show again.
  • mismatched panel colours are often an indication of accident repair.

  • corrosion.the seis are galvanised so rusty wings for example are usually as sign of pattern parts replacing fiat parts through accident.
  • thats not to say you wont get rust.
  • check inside the boot for corrosion,around the windscreen,wheel aches and chassis.

  • leaks:check in the boot as rear lights seals are known to leak.if iftted check the sunroof is not leaking

  • red/blue keys: from 1998 to 2000(approx) the sei has the same keys set up as the cinq.
  • so if you have this set up your car should have 2 blue keys and one red key(unless its a very early cinq)
  • the red key should not be used but kept to code new keys.
  • there are ways around this if the red key is missing but it makes a great haggleing tool.also make sure the red keys starts the car and isnt a fake put there to stop haggleing ;)
  • if you have ther later type of immobiliser keys. No separate red Master key supplied, just 2 ignition keys with built in chip.
  • If the key has a transponder sign on it (Triangle with 2 little rings around the top) then it needs a master key. If it has a 2 on it, its a 2nd generation one and doesnt. If it has nothing then you dont need one either.
  • locks:check all the locks work with all the keys inc the locking petrol cap.a non locking cap is an MOT fail so check it.
  • also if the car has locking wheel bolts check you have a key,it fits and none of the bolts are chewed up!

  • electrics:make sure all the electrics work inc rear wiper,front washers,horn,windows etc

  • petrol tank:its a known issue that was subject to a recall that tanks leak at the seams.
  • so check for leaks especially if the tank is low on petrol as this may be to cover the leak

  • overheating: make sure the car warms up and that the cooling fan comes on and goes off.
  • check it doesnt over heat in traffic/standing and dont just think because it doesnt overheat on a constant test drive that its fine.
  • make sure you get hot air out of the vent in the car(good time to check the heater works on all speeds)
  • check the oil for mayo and the coolant for any oil.
  • check the radiator for obvious leaks & corrosion.
  • same goes for the rest of the cooling system.

  • service history:its always good to get a car with service history but the earlier seis are getting long in the tooth so general condition is often a good indicator of the care its received.

  • flatspots:from cold the spi seis can have a flatspot in acceleration around 2000rpm

  • handbrakes: the cento handbrake isnt great but make sure it holds the car and isnt binding
  • rear suspension: listen for any knocks and thumps from worn rear bushes

  • washer fluid bottle: check for leaks as the pipes are known to perish and leak

  • mileage: now this is a tricky one.on the one hand you get uncared for low mileage 'city' cars that never get to stretch there legs. or you get worn out sky high mileage ones.
  • so a little common sense is needed here.