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FIAT 500

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The Fiat 500 is a subcompact hatchback that revived the Fiat name in the U.S. market, fully a quarter-century after the brand had withdrawn from U.S. sales. While it's caught on reasonably well, the 500 model line--which includes turbo, Abarth, and electric models--has been joined by an unrelated, less popular 500L hatchback, and soon will get a crossover 500X companion, also unrelated... Read More Below »
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FIAT 500
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New & Used Fiat 500: In Depth

2014 Fiat 500e  -  Quick Drive, September 2014

2014 Fiat 500e - Quick Drive, September 2014

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The Fiat 500 is a subcompact hatchback that revived the Fiat name in the U.S. market, fully a quarter-century after the brand had withdrawn from U.S. sales. 

While it's caught on reasonably well, the 500 model line--which includes turbo, Abarth, and electric models--has been joined by an unrelated, less popular 500L hatchback, and soon will get a crossover 500X companion, also unrelated mechanically.

MORE: Read our 2015 Fiat 500 review, and compare the Fiat 500 to its rivals

Built in Mexico, with a small four-cylinder engine manufactured in Michigan, the Fiat 500 that went on sale in the 2012 model year was the first vehicle from the combined global maker now known as Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

Like the MINI Cooper it competes with, almost model for model, the Fiat 500 harkens back to a beloved national automotive icon from the Sixties. In this case, it’s the Fiat 500 that was built from 1957 to 1975. And like the MINI Cooper, the new model is larger, faster, far better equipped, and immeasurably safer. The Fiat 500 is not, in other words, a competitor for econobox models like the Hyundai Accent or Toyota Yaris; it’s a lifestyle choice, a style accessory that also happens to be fun to drive and easy to park in tight urban areas.

All gas-powered 500 models use a 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine that Fiat now builds in North America, shared with a growing array of new models from Dodge and Jeep. Fuel economy figures land at 30 mpg city, 38 highway—similar to those for the MINI Cooper. In early drives of the 500, we found the steering to be particularly enjoyable and lively, although straight-line performance was lackluster in the base model and a cramped interior plus big doses of engine and road noise rounded out the picture. The 500 has some of the most cramped front-seat quarters of any new production car, though.

You can get a few more features in the Fiat 500 than you'll find in most other small cars, like leather heated seats and rear parking sensors, and there are some 500,000 different build combinations thanks to plenty of possibilities for trims, colors, and accessories. The basic Fiat 500 three-door hatchback is available in four trim levels: Pop, Sport, Lounge, and Gucci; Convertible models are only offered in Pop, Lounge, and Gucci trims.

The three-door hatchback was later joined by more variants. The Cabrio, a convertible of sorts with a roll-back cloth roof, retains the sides of the hatchback. An Abarth hot-rod can be had in either hatch or Cabrio form. To please those in the middle, Fiat also added a 500T model, which uses a toned-down turbocharged engine that's not as nutty as the Abarth but offers better acceleration than the standard 500.

The Fiat 500 Abarth is the hot-hatch version, competing with the MINI Cooper S, courtesy of a turbocharged engine that puts out 160 horsepower, stiffer suspension, and 16-inch sport wheels. Special Koni Frequency Selective Dampers plus plenty of other dynamic and appearance upgrades make this one of the year's most enjoyable drives, for those who enjoy nimble minicars. Given Fiat's hugely popular TV ads with model Catrinel Menghia that launched the little hot rod, the Abarth may be the best-known 500 right now.

For buyers who want Abarth performance in a more subtle package--no dressy body add-ons or scorpion badges--the 500T model uses a slightly less powerful version of its turbocharged engine in an incognito body.

As of 2013, there's also the Fiat 500e electric car. It's sold only in small numbers--and only in California and Oregon. That's because it's a "compliance car" required for Chrysler-Fiat to meet California's zero-emission vehicle regulations. That's a shame, because it's fun to drive and perhaps the best-handling of all the electric car conversions produced by major automakers.

Used FIAT 500 Models

The Fiat 500 relaunched the Italian brand in the U.S. after 28 years, and the stylish minicar has sold quite well despite only being practical for two adults and a kid or two. The three-door hatchback was joined by a 500c convertible with a roll-back cloth roof; the hot-rod 500 Abarth model is by far the most fun to drive. Standard or automatic transmissions plus three trim levels pretty much cover the possibilities.
FIAT 500 Related News
 
2014 Fiat 500e  -  Quick Drive, September 2014

Six Reasons Why The Fiat 500e Electric Car Beats The Abarth

The Fiat 500e is a rare sight in most parts of the U.S., and as a 'compliance car,' only offered in California and Oregon and aimed to satisfy the framework of... read more September 10, 2014 by 


 
2015 Fiat 500

2015 Fiat 500 Adds Tech, Optional Automatic for Abarth

Ever since marking its return to the U.S. with the Fiat 500, Fiat has been steadily expanding the breadth of this nameplate to include the all-electric 500e, the sporty... read more May 21, 2014 by 


 
Fiat & Conde Nast present the limited-edition Fiat 500c GQ Edition

2014 Fiat 500c GQ Special Edition Serves The Needs Of The Modern Man

Fiat is no stranger to special editions. First, there was the "So Pink" version of the 500, which titillated Mary Kay representatives around the globe. It was followed by the... read more August 19, 2013 by  0


 
Fiat's 'You Wear' Facebook fashion app

Fiat's 'You Wear' Facebook App Diagnoses Your Personality, Suggests Color Options

To some automakers, calling one of their creations a "chick car" is a slap in the face. They fight back, arguing that their cars have a broad customer base, not the narrow... read more July 22, 2013 by  1


 
'Body Paint' ad for the Fiat 500 Abarth Cabrio

Fiat 500 Abarth Cabrio Recreated By Nude Women, Because Everyone Is Out Of Ideas

If you don't keep tabs on the advertising world, we have some very cool news: Fiat has unveiled a new ad for the 500 Abarth Cabrio in which the car itself is represented by... read more July 12, 2013 by  4


 

Specs: Select a Trim

Style MSRP Invoice MPG City MPG Hwy
1957 Edition Specs $18,600 $18,173 31 40
Abarth Specs $22,395 $21,702 28 34
Lounge Specs $18,600 $18,173 31 40
Pop Specs $16,645 $16,355 31 40
Sport Specs $17,600 $17,243 31 40
Turbo Specs $19,600 $19,103 28 34
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