While it's not the most fuel-efficient vehicle you can buy today in America, the Italian-bred Fiat 500 is pretty darn close to it, with fuel economy approaching 40 mpg for some versions. Given its size, however, it seems like it should be.
The most efficient model is the base 500 equipped with the five-speed manual transmission, earning an EPA-estimated 31 mpg city and 40 mpg highway. The optional six-speed automatic drops those figures to 27 mpg and 34 mpg, respectively.
Moving up to the 500 Abarth, you gain 60 horsepower and a turbocharger, but lose only a bit of efficiency: it rates 28 mpg city and 34 mpg highway.
Compared to most of the cars on the road these days, those are very good figures. But when mid-size hybrid family sedans are beating the pint-sized Fiat at the pump, you realize the trade-off required to get the 500's low price tag.