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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...
The 2014 Fiat 500 looks like no other, with its pert, upright styling, punctuated with simple, yet somehow characterful lines. On the outside it manages to pull off short, tall hatchback proportions without looking awkward; and inside, it pulls off high style with relatively low-cost materials--without necessarily looking it.
Though it's tall and somewhat upright by nature, the Fiat 500 somehow adds up to something svelte. The lower third of the shape manages to (mostly) hide the extra bulk needed for modern safety; meanwhile the combination of cues including the button-like headlamps, upward-sloping sides, forward-sloping rear glass, and mustache bar in front, altogether results in a thoroughly modern design that also builts on the essence of the classic Cinquecento shape.
Fiat 500 Convertible models succumb to more of a bathtub look--it's inevitable in short drop-tops. Yet the 500C Convertible manages to preserve the same roofline, because only the uppermost roof portion has retractable fabric.
Just as in the MINI Cooper, the Fiat 500 has an interior that could be seen as a little gimmicky or overstyled. But we think that the controls and displays, in contrast to the MINI's chaotic layout, make more sense and are more intuitive: They're simple concentric gauges on the 500, yet layers of color and detail draw your hand to touch them and your eyes to linger on them. And we like how the interior of the 500 has a playfulness that veers in whichever direction you want: sexy and attention-getting, or more of a Hollywood Regency style.
Want a little Art Deco, or some mid-century mod? There's lots of customization possibility as well, with an enormous range of colors and trim can be splashed on the 500's Mona Lisa-sized canvas.
The 2014 Fiat 500 is a trend-setter, and it shows that you can pack a lot of personality and flair in a very small package.