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STYLING | 7 out of 10
The design, by Fiat & Abarth style director Roberto Giolito, obviously is inspired by the classic Cinquecento that was first introduced in 1957.
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.
Though not as affable as the Mini, the 500’s bubble-car profile and pencil-moustache expression promise distinction.
...Puppy dog cuteness...
It's friendly and pert, with suavely executed details. And even if the Fiat 500 can't quite displace Hello Kitty as the most awww!-inducing cult object on the planet, it still comes whole continents closer than the yucky Toyota Yaris and Honda's MPV-like Fit.
Though it's tall and somewhat upright by nature, the 2013 Fiat 500 is somehow svelte-seeming, the extra bulk required for modern safety (and modern occupants) hidden cleverly in the lower third of the shape. The forward-slanting rear glass, the button-like headlights, the up-kicked side surfacing, even the mustache bar across the nose--the combination of these details with the essence of the classic Cinquecento shape just works.
The 500's dash may vaguely remind you of the one found in the MINI Cooper, what with all the circles strewn about. Fiat has much better ideas running around in the heads of its designers and ergonomicists. Controls and displays, in contrast to the MINI's chaotic layout, are simple concentric gauges on the 500. The 500's layers of color and detail draw your hand to touch them and your eyes to linger on them. Poking fun at its own heritage rather than taking itself too seriously, the 500's interior has a playfulness that turns faintly sexy if you opt for the lipstick-red trim--or veers into Hollywood Regency style if you opt for a nearly all-white cabin.With Fiat's "extreme customization" plan, an enormous range of colors and trim can be splashed on the 500's Mona Lisa-sized canvas. The usual primary car colors are on the list, but the 500 looks pretty fetching in a copper-toned hue, in simple white, and even in flat grey that recalls the first Audi TT and its Deco boldness.
The 2013 Fiat 500 is just about as stylish as possible in the sub-compact realm, wearing its size with confidence.