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2013 FIAT 500 Photo
7.0
/ 10
TCC Rating
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Reviewed by Nelson Ireson
Senior Editor, The Car Connection
BASE INVOICE
$15,746
BASE MSRP
$16,195
Quick Take
The 2013 Fiat 500 rewards the style-conscious buyer that's willing to go small, and the Abarth and Turbo models even add in a healthy dose of sport. Read more »
Decision Guide
Opinions from around the Web
Styling
Performance
Quality
Safety
Features
Mileage

The design, by Fiat & Abarth style director Roberto Giolito, obviously is inspired by the classic Cinquecento that was first introduced in 1957.

Automobile »

Where Fiat scores its most style points is on the inside, where its combination of attractive, body-colored plastics and retro design make the Mini seem like its interiors were crafted by Fisher-Price.

Jalopnik »

Though not as affable as the Mini, the 500’s bubble-car profile and pencil-moustache expression promise distinction.

Cars.com »

...Puppy dog cuteness...

Inside Line »
Pricing and Specifications by Style
$16,195 $26,095
MSRP $16,195
INVOICE $15,746 Browse used listings in your area
2-Door HB Pop
Gas Mileage 31 mpg City/40 mpg Hwy
Engine Gas I4, 1.4L
EPA Class Minicompact Car
Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
Passenger Capacity 4
Passenger Doors 2
Body Style 2dr Car
See Detailed Specs »
7.0 out of 10
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The Basics:

The 2013 Fiat 500 is stylish, at times sporty, and at others efficient, and it brings a lot to the table considering its small size. But can it overcome Fiat's previous reputation for poor reliability, especially in a market teeming with alternatives from America, Asia, and Europe?


With pert, upright styling that wraps a compact passenger compartment in simple, yet somehow characterful lines, the Fiat 500 manages to look upscale in a budget segment. Inside, it's more of the same, with high style executed in cost-cutting materials--without looking it.

New for 2013 is the Fiat 500 Turbo, which raises output to 135 horsepower and 150 pound-feet of torque from a 1.4-liter MultiAir turbocharged four-cylinder. A taller final drive gear ratio on the standard 500 and 500 Cabrio improve gas mileage to 31 mpg city and 40 mpg highway as well. A new Beats by Dr. Dre audio system gives the 500 and 500c better in-cabin sound, and new colors and premium leather seating enhance personalization. A five-speed manual transmission is also now standard on 500 and 500c Lounge models.

Despite these improvements, and the 500's already capable Abarth performance version making headway, Fiat still has a high hurdle to clear with regard to its rather hideous reputation from 20 years ago. When the brand was last in the American market, build quality and reliability were notoriously poor. Thankfully, that appears to have been remedied for the 500 in all its various guises.

Better yet, the 500 is engaging to drive, especially if you're used to a toaster-like appliance driving experience. Combined with features usually reserved for the next segment up, including Bluetooth and auxiliary input jacks, the Fiat 500 makes a strong case for the value buy, especially for the urban dweller.

Even with a full year of sales under its belt in the U.S.--a year which fell far short of Fiat's optimistic goals--it's unclear if the 500 will manage the swim upstream against its past. Given the car's strengths, especially against the competitive set, however, we think it has a good chance.

That chance is even greater if buyers in the subcompact segment have great taste, as there's no question that the 500 stands out from the crowd that includes the Rio, the Yaris, and even the Fiesta. Despite its tiny price tag, it's as much art as it is appliance, and that's a refreshing change in the small-car world.

Likes:

  • Fantastic interior styling
  • Expressive exterior
  • Fun, free-revving four-cylinder engines
  • Turbo engines are even more fun
  • Strong feature set for the class

Dislikes:

  • Very small inside
  • It's not as quick as you might hope
  • Gas mileage is better for 2013, but still not stellar
Next: Interior / Exterior »
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