New for 2015

The 2015 Fiat 500 adds a 7-inch display that doubles as a rearview camera screen (on all but the electric 500e), and an extra USB port to the center console. The most notable addition is an optional six-speed automatic for Abarth and Turbo models.

Vehicle Overview

The Fiat 500 is a subcompact hatchback and convertible that is big on style and personality. The Fiat 500 fits below the larger 500L four-door hatchback in the automaker’s lineup, and has models ranging from the base Pop, to a sporty Abarth, to an airy 500c convertible.


The 2015 Fiat 500 offers several powertrain options including a base non-turbo, two variants with forced induction, and a low-volume electric variant. Fiat 500s are paired with a five-speed manual or a six-speed automatic, but the electric 500e gets a single-speed automatic, which is typical of electric motors.

Model: 500, 500c Pop, Sport, and Lounge

Engine and Transmission: 1.4-liter I-4 – six-speed automatic or five-speed manual

Power: 101 hp/97 lb-ft

EPA-rated fuel efficiency: 31/40 mpg (manual) – 27/34 mpg (automatic)

Model: 500 Turbo

Engine and Transmission: Turbocharged 1.4-liter I-4 – six-speed automatic or five-speed manual

Power: 135 hp/150 lb-ft

EPA-rated fuel efficiency: 28/34 mpg (manual) – 24/32 mpg (automatic)

Model: 500 Abarth, 500c Abarth

Engine and Transmission: Turbocharged 1.4-liter I-4 – six-speed automatic or five-speed manual

Power: 160 hp/170 lb-ft (manual) – 157 hp/183 lb-ft (automatic)

EPA-rated fuel efficiency: 28/34 mpg (manual) – 24/32 mpg (automatic)

Model: 500e

Engine and Transmission: Permanent magnetic electric traction motor – single-speed automatic

Power: 111 hp/147 lb-ft

EPA-rated fuel efficiency: 87-mile range – charging time 24 hours (120-volt) or 4 hours (220-volt)

The 2015 Fiat 500’s new 7-inch TFT configurable gauge cluster can display everything from the basic speed and fuel level to radio information and the park assist screen. The 500c convertible sports a power top that can be rolled down at speeds up-to 50 mph, or partially up to 60 mph. As a result of the unconventional convertible design (the cloth top only retracts, much like a panoramic sunroof, and piles up behind the rear seats) the 500c doesn’t sacrifice any of the 23.4 cubic feet of cargo space. Aside from a more powerful engine, the 500 Abarth coupe adds unique suspension and steering tuning, as well as plenty of visual modifications to make clear you’re not driving an ordinary 500.

The 2015 Fiat 500 received a four-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA (out of a possible five stars), and received four ratings of good and one of poor in the small overlap front category (the highest possible rating is good).

What We Think

The 2015 Fiat 500 is a cute little subcompact that’s got plenty of personality and style that strives to compete with the likes of the Mini Hardtop. For enthusiasts, the 500 lineup can be summed up by the three more performance-oriented models we took to: the Sport (lots of style, fun and peppy handling, but not so much performance), the Turbo (think of it as a $2,000 upgrade to the Sport. It keeps much of the Sport driving dynamic and adds more power), and the Abarth (the snarling, track-ready, grin-inducing version).

Our complaints included the lack of consistent feedback from the steering wheel and the lack of a telescoping feature on the aforementioned wheel, which in turn contributed to the awkward angle of the pedals in relation to the driver’s foot. Many editors found themselves constantly adjust the seat, but unable to find a comfortable position. The chair-like high driving position was unpleasant in the base 500, and is made even worse by the sporting intentions of the Abarth. Despite the complaints, the Abarth never ceased to plaster a smile on the face of every editor that got behind the wheel.

In an Editor’s Notebook review of a 2012 Fiat 500 Abarth we said, “the tiny four-cylinder’s burble became a shout … it was as if I were gunning a Ferrari through the tunnels of Monaco, even though my little Fiat was only doing 45 mph and I was driving in Romulus, Michigan. I stopped caring about the steering and started laughing.” We loved driving the Abarth in particular, but kept comparing the 500 to the Mini Hardtop and the Volkswagen Golf GTI, two cars that are not terribly far off in price, but offer more interior space, more power, and work well as an only car. We tested the recently available automatic-equipped Abarth and pronounced it equally as much fun as the manual model, noting that we could keep the seat further back (not having to deal with that third pedal), which alleviated some of the pedal/seat/foot dynamics complaints we had.

You’ll Like

  • Exhaust note of Abarth models
  • No luggage capacity lost on convertible models
  • You can now get the Abarth in an automatic

You Won’t Like

  • Seats are very high
  • Awkward pedal placement in manual-transmission models
  • Abarth rather close in price to the excellent Mini Hardtop Cooper S

Key Competitors

  • Mini Hardtop
  • Volkswagen Golf GTI
  • Smart ForTwo


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