2012 Fiat 500

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2012 fiat 500 Reviews and News

Fiat 500 Abarth And Ducati Streetfighter 848 Front Right View
Elon Musk merely dreamed of building rockets and electric cars, the front-passenger air bag wasn't yet mandatory, and the euro currency didn't exist when Americans last had Italian speed on the cheap. Long past its Graduate-fueled prime, the Alfa Romeo Spider bowed out in 1994, and that was it for reasonably accessible Italian driving pleasure. Fiat had made an ambivalent effort to vend its wares before abandoning these shores a decade earlier, and the truth was that its cars hardly kept up with the Alfas even when modified by exhaust systems and other speed parts from the Abarth performance division.
So from the land of extra-virgin olive oil and some of the most outrageous racing boats, airplanes, and automobiles ever conceived, only Ducati and Moto Guzzi, small manufacturers of motorcycles, consistently kept the spark going. Although Ducati sometimes flickered along the way, it ultimately produced a series of ever-more-sensational bikes that cost roughly the same as routine service on exotic Italian cars.
In early 2011, Fiat returned to America with the interesting but tepid 500, the Mexican-made retro tribute to the people's car introduced in 1957. Having established this bivouac, Fiat now brings to the American automotive summit the 500 Abarth, a turbocharged entry in the minicompact field that recalls the Mini Cooper S but is full of puttanesca sauce with anchovies instead of mustard and herring. Compared with the 500 Sport, the Abarth is 2.7 inches longer in the naso in order to accommodate twin intercoolers and improve aerodynamics. It also rides on optional seventeen-inch forged-aluminum wheels and low-profile Pirelli tires, and its twin tailpipes mesmerizingly vociferate in honor of Karl Abarth, the Austrian motorcycle racer who moved to Italy, where he tuned and raced Fiats, among other marques.
Fiat 500 Abarth And Ducati Streetfighter 848 Front View
Coincidentally, Ducati introduces the Streetfighter 848, the more civilized sibling of the Streetfighter S, king of naked bikes. An example of the design aesthetic that harks back to Brutalist architecture and Le Corbusier, the Streetfighter is all yellow pecs and delts: the trellis framework, engine casings, and wheels are blacked out. It has enough horsepower and torque to make the rider wish for neural implants to help his brain keep up.
At $12,995, the Ducati undercuts the Abarth by $9005. The Streetfighter is also more potent but less weatherproof than the Abarth. No right mind would call a Fiat versus a two-wheeler a fair fight. Rather, our challenge in bringing together these two very different animals was to delineate their ferocity. Reader advisory: You might want to insert earplugs for the remainder of this story.

The Tempest: Ducati Streetfighter 848

In the two-wheel world, the Ducati name is as magical as Ferrari's in the four-wheel world. In the same way that Ferrari has long stuck with flat- and V-12 engines, Ducati has spent more than forty years developing and perfecting the oversquare 90-degree V-twins that give its bikes a narrow profile and a low center of gravity while also making noises that are among the most recognizable and agreeable in all of internal combustion, starting with the 750's mellow sonority in 1972. The Streetfighter 848's nearly vibration-free, DOHC, liquid-cooled, two-cylinder 849-cc unit (our question why the 848 has an 849-cc engine went unanswered) generates 132 hp at 10,000 rpm and 69 lb-ft of torque at 9500 rpm. Compare this efficient output of 155.5 hp per liter to the Ferrari 458 Italia's 124.9 hp per liter (not to mention the supercharged Chevrolet Corvette ZR1's 103.5 hp per liter). At 373 pounds dry, the Streetfighter outweighs Ndamukong Suh by the equivalent of a bull terrier, and it might even be meaner than that combination. The engine's primary balance and even pulses are hard to outclass; the Ducati thunder is not only heard but also, like ass-pinching Italian men, felt from a distance. Envious in defeat, rockslides have benchmarked this sound.
Climbing aboard the Streetfighter and assuming the pugnacious riding position -- which is more or less shared with competitors in the Olympic skeleton and a frat boy worshipping the porcelain throne -- you push the start button with your right thumb, disengage the clutch with your left hand, and feel the thwack, like a rotating turnstile, as your left foot selects first gear. Blooming before you are hydraulic reservoirs for the lightweight multiplate wet clutch and the disc brakes (two front, one rear, no ABS). You don't see the front wheel at all, and the LCD instrument display is visible only if you tip your head down or scoot way back. Now twist open the elliptical throttles with your right hand, release the clutch, and fire away. The bike stutters and coughs until 2750 rpm, so you add revs. Zero to 60 mph is a matter of OMG! Then, instead of traffic, you see a banquet of prey: Harleys, two- and four-wheel BMWs, and Porsches just waiting to be culled from the herd. This is how the first motorcyclist felt more than a century ago when overtaking buggies.
If anything is surprising, it's the comfortable seating position even at high speed and how little buffeting you endure: despite the lack of a fairing, your head stays still. Beyond 50 mph, though, the rushing racket around your helmet overcomes the howitzers of the exhaust; other travelers momentarily get to enjoy it as you disappear toward the horizon.
Everything about the Streetfighter -- even the eight-stage traction control system -- emphasizes rider involvement and command. Redirecting this missile, you look right or left and get ready to drop your shoulder. You brake, downshift, and become a human italic. The three-part treads of the seventeen-inch Pirelli Diablo Rosso Corsa tires have stickier outward sections, so you confidently hold this crazy akimbo position. Straightening up at the exit of the turn, you glance down at the speed display indicating yesterday's lotto payoff; turning was the mere matter of waving a feather. You shoot ahead, and no matter what speed, the suspension keeps up, offering superb compliance and a firm but never miserable ride. One hundred miles go by, and you're still in the thin saddle, still with feeling in all extremities. If there's anything unpleasant about the Streetfighter, it's the frightening way the mirrors, which vibrate somewhat, make any car that does happen to catch up look like a police cruiser.

Shared Characteristics

While the 500 Abarth and the Streetfighter 848 differ greatly, they also have surprising commonalities.
HERITAGE
  • Karl Abarth raced motorcycles before devoting himself to tuning and racing automobiles. He formed his own speed-parts company in 1949 and sold it to Fiat in 1971.
  • Ducati tradition was established during halcyon seasons of racing small single-cylinder bikes from 1947 to 1958. The 750 marked the arrival of the 90-degree V-twin when it won the 200 Miles of Imola in 1972.
Fiat 500 Abarth Rear Left Side View
GOVERNMENT INTERVENTION
  • Through the 1950s and ’60s, Ducati was owned and managed by Italy’s Istituto per la Ricostruzione Industriale, a government holding group formed during the Great Depression.
  • The Abarth’s American arrival was made possible by Chrysler’s government-managed bankruptcy in 2009, which gave Fiat management responsibilities, an initial 20 percent stake in the company, and a foothold in the U.S. market.
IMMEDIACY OF DRIVING POSITION
Streetfighter: Rider doesn’t see the front wheel
Abarth: Driver sees nothing of the car beyond the cowl
ROBUST EXHAUST SOUNDS
Streetfighter: Howitzers and melted caramel
Abarth: Brassy mellifluousness followed by battle cry
AUXILIARY COOLING
Streetfighter: Upper and lower radiators, the lower one cowled for aero efficiency
Abarth: Nose extended to house twin intercoolers
Ducati Streetfighter 848 Rear Right Side View
WHEELS AND TIRES
Streetfighter: 17-inch aluminum wheels & Pirelli Diablo Rosso Corsa tires
Abarth: 17-inch forged-aluminum wheels & Pirelli PZero Nero tires
NEARLY MATCHING DIMENSIONS
Streetfighter: Wheelbase, 58.1 in
Abarth: Height, 58.7 in

The Teapot: Fiat 500 Abarth

Alighting on the Abarth's optional, redolent, red-leather upholstery is like sitting on the Rolling Stones's Hot Licks logo but less squishy. (Unlike a Keith Richards guitar riff, the seats aren't heated.) The dashboard finish sparkles. The 500 emblem glistens. Great taste and an optimistic outlook lie behind this interior. But the first thing you do is remove the optional TomTom navigation unit from the dash, where it's taking up too much of the view, and stick it in the glove box. Even the beautifully stitched, leather-covered hood over the instruments rises a bit high. Looking into it, you can't help but snicker: the speedometer forecasts 160 mph. Better to ride inside a shoe thrown at an indolent husband, you think.
Whatever the Abarth will really do -- Fiat is reluctant to publish top speed, and there was no risking jail time for the sake of this test -- the car quickly shows its character. The engine wakes with a brassy mellifluousness and then issues a battle cry when you crack open the throttle. Fiat claims eighteen iterations were needed to get this exhaust note just right. Bravissimo, Italian obsession! Whereas other 500 models make 101 hp and 98 lb-ft, the Abarth's SOHC 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder cranks out 160 hp and 170 lb-ft. That's 117.0 hp per liter, just below the 458 Italia but way ahead of the slovenly Corvette ZR1. This output is achieved with a high compression ratio of 9.8:1 (not quite as high as the normally aspirated Streetfighter's amazing 13.2:1) and 18 psi of boost.
Pulling out, you quickly find the Abarth is dead serious about being a pint-size performance hero. Owing to strengthened, equal-length driveshafts, torque steer isn't an issue. Wind noise also is subdued. Every driver interface is wonderfully well-wrought. The pedals are set just so and have the perfect amount of travel; the fat, leather-wrapped steering wheel feels ever so right; and steering response is highly pleasing. You find yourself liking the reinforced five-speed gearbox's longish throws and welcoming gates. Soon, you're playing the Abarth like an alto sax picked up by a Marshall amp. Shifting gears near the 6500-rpm redline, you stalk the freeway, eyes agleam. When a hole opens, you drop down a gear, or not -- peak torque is on hand as low as 2500 rpm -- and hurtle forward. Plenty of easily modulated braking power is there, too.
When it's time to plant the 2512-pound Abarth and turn it -- the simple suspension of MacPherson struts in front and a beam axle with coil springs to the rear has been augmented with stabilizer bars and sophisticated dampers -- the car makes a crossover dribble and heads for the hoop, intending to throw one down over the big fella. There's no drama whatsoever. Of course, the optional, low-profile Pirelli PZero Nero three-season tires wrapped around forged seventeen-inch wheels have everything it takes. There's a downside, though. The ride is firm but fine. The real problem is the tread pattern's disagreements with the grooved concrete of SoCal freeways, which causes the car to dance around. And when it's time to park or make a U-turn, the Abarth, which ought to pirouette, shows club-footedness: the turning circle of 37.6 feet exceeds that of a Dodge Durango by half a foot.
Never mind. You're whizzing by the jumbos in this adorable teapot. And what do the cetacean SUVs and manateelike sedans see as you nip in ahead? They see generously vented fascias, deeply sculpted sill extensions, and a whopping great spoiler. They also see no fewer than eight Abarth badges (including wheel centers), the Abarth name stenciled in the lower-side graphics, and the "500" designation on the liftgate handle. The Fiat name is incognito.

Measure for measure

Emerging from the Abarth, you step back and say, "I did all that with this?" It's like field-dressing an elk with a glazing knife. Only the tiny windshield had interposed itself as a reminder of the car's true size. This nubster is all about the driver, about passione, exuberance, and cool design. Its robustness is as bracing as the face slap in Fiat's great "Seduction" TV spot.
Indeed, the same is true of the tempestuous Streetfighter. Car and bike offer rawness carefully balanced against refinement, positive reads and responses in every aspect from the controls and the performance dynamics, and a raucousness that the easily offended will simply have to shrug off. There's loads of brio and style, especially for the money. Despite the Streetfighter's sophisticated traction control system and the lap timer that's integrated into the display panel, despite the Abarth's stability control and creature comforts, they're both about maximum involvement, about leaving you tingling and satisfied.
Fiat 500 Abarth And Ducati Streetfighter 848 Front Right View
To put perspective on the Streetfighter's irksome stumble off idle and lack of tractability in city traffic, and on the Abarth's balking in tight spaces, let's recall art historian Anne Hollander's analysis on the evolution of aristocratic clothing: "Changes in very elegant fashion usually meant exchanging one physical discomfort for another; the comfort of such clothes was in the head, a matter of honor and discipline and the proper maintenance of social degree."
By riding the Streetfighter or driving the Abarth, you mark yourself as a member of the cognoscenti, one for whom visual and aural expression is massive capability unto itself, for whom this expression signifies stealthy power; so the occasional lapse in utility may be forgiven. Meanwhile, should you find yourself temporarily short of the purchase price for either one, treat yourself to a cup of cappuccino followed by a slug of grappa as a reasonable short-term substitute. The fact that bargain-priced Italian speed is back for a new generation at least deserves your saluto.
Fiat 500 Abarth And Ducati Streetfighter 848 Driving
Fiat 500 Abarth
PRICE: $22,700/$26,050 (base/as tested)
ENGINE: 1.4L turbo I-4, 160 hp, 170 lb-ft
TRANSMISSION: 5-speed manual
DRIVE: Front-wheel
Ducati Streetfighter 848
PRICE: $12,995/$12,995 (base/as tested)
ENGINE: 849-cc V-2, 132 hp, 69 lb-ft
TRANSMISSION: 6-speed manual
DRIVE: Rear-wheel

Techtonics: Opening and closing valves in different ways

Both the Abarth and the Streetfighter rely on valvetrains that neither look nor function like a conventional cylinder head. Fiat's MultiAir technology allows for continuously variable valve timing and lift on the intake side, eliminating the pumping losses caused by a traditional throttle body. Efficiency and performance benefit from valve-opening profiles that vary based on conditions such as full power, low-load cruising, and cold starts. Rather than rigid rockers, the MultiAir system connects the camshaft lobe to the intake valve with hydraulic fluid. A solenoid regulates whether the fluid acts on the valve or bypasses it, controlling both the timing and the height of the valve opening.
Ducati Streetfighter 848 Valvetrain
Ducati’s V-twins use a desmodromic design that dispenses with valve springs and instead relies on a second rocker arm to close each valve. Desmodromic cylinder heads historically offered more efficient and reliable performance at high rpm, whereas conventional valvetrains were plagued by valve float and spring failures. Modern valvetrains have overcome those problems, but springless head design hasn’t stood still, either. While desmodromic systems have traditionally involved frequent and costly maintenance, the Streetfighter 848 boasts 15,000-mile intervals between valve adjustments. - Eric Tingwall
  • In the Fiat, the cam lobe drives a piston that creates pressure on the hydraulic fluid in the valve system.
  • An electronically operated solenoid controls whether the fluid opens the intake valve. When the solenoid is open, the fluid bypasses the valve and is pushed into a holding chamber.
  • When the solenoid is closed, the hydraulic fluid is directed toward the intake valve, lifting it. By opening and closing the solenoid strategically, the MultiAir system can alter timing and lift.
  • There are no valve springs in a desmodromic valvetrain. Instead, this second rocker arm returns the valve to its closed position.
Fiat 500 Abarth Valvetrain
2012 Fiat 500 Abarth Front Three Quarter
Maybe you've admired the plucky little Fiat 500, with it art-object design and European sensibilities. But if you've also found it a little too cute, too soft, or too slow to seriously consider, then you'll want to know about the Fiat 500 Abarth. The Abarth addresses each those reservations in a very convincing way.

Start with a turbo

Taking the last objection first, the heart of the Abarth is its new engine. The 1.4-liter, SOHC four has been turbocharged, dramatically increasing its output. Horsepower jumps from 101 hp to 160 hp. Torque is up even more, from 98 pound-feet to 170.

Matching up to the Mini

Unfortunately, those figures still fall short of the Abarth's most obvious competitor, the Mini Cooper S (181 hp and 192 pound-feet). At 2533 pounds, the Fiat is a bit more svelte but the Mini is still quicker to 60 mph -- at a factory-estimated 6.6 seconds to the Abarth's 7.2. The cars' EPA numbers are more closely matched, with the Fiat at 28/34 mpg city/highway and the Mini at 27/36 mpg.

Upping the fun factor

The Abarth isn't a ground-pounding screamer, but it is definitely fun. The turbo four blats to life with a distinct and characterful exhaust note (fitting, given that aftermarket exhaust kits were one of the Abarth company's earliest and most successful products). The exhaust is quite loud under acceleration but the noise fades almost completely when you're just cruising.
As you'd expect, this engine is a lot more lively than the normally aspirated unit. Boost is available down low and response is nicely linear. The Abarth features beefed up, equal-length half shafts, and they're effective in combating torque steer -- the wheel never squirms in your hands. To access the turbo engine's full 170 pound feet, you need to hit the Sport button on the dash; it not only firms up the steering and alters the throttle mapping as in other 500s, it also lets loose the final 20 pound-feet of torque. Unfortunately you have to hit it again with every start-up, because making the lower output the default helped Fiat eke out better EPA numbers.
We drove out from Las Vegas to Spring Mountain Motorsports Park, in Parhump, Nevada, about an hour and a half away. Both on the street and on the track, we loved the much-improved electric power steering, which now has real heft and feedback. The steering is also substantially quicker (2.3 turns lock-to-lock, versus 3.0), and the car turns in energetically. Our example had the more aggressive tire-and-wheel set-up: seventeen-inch wheels and 205/40, Pirelli P-Zero Nero tires (16-inch wheels and 195/45 Pirelli Cinturato P7 all-season tires are standard). A suspension that's 40 percent stiffer than the 500 Sport's does a great job keeping this tall and narrow car from leaning heavily in corners. Ride quality, however, remains a question mark, due to the smooth desert pavement. Another Abarth upgrade is larger front brake rotors with more substantial calipers (painted red); the brakes felt somewhat grabby during street driving but pedal modulation was fine on the track. The dynamic weak link in quick track action proved to be the shifter. The gearbox -- again a five-speed (no automatic is offered) has different ratios than the standard car's, but the imprecise linkage is no better and doesn't like to be hurried. The clutch, though, gets full marks for effort and take-up.

A makeover with machismo

Design-wise, the Abarth is subtly but effectively made over. The car sits 0.6 inch lower and the front fascia is pushed forward at the bottom to accommodate the turbo intercoolers (two small ones rather than one larger one, for packaging reasons), which are fed by larger air intakes. Along the sides, the lower bodywork is just slightly deeper and a new diffuser marks the rear. The trailing edge roof spoiler is larger here than in the 500 Sport. Unique 16- or 17-inch wheels set off the look, and a contrasting side stripe and mirrors caps are available to turn up the visual volume. Unlike the wide-ranging, retro-heavy color palette of the standard car, the Abarth is available only in white, black, gray, or red.
Inside, there's no sign of the ivory steering wheel and swtichgear seen in the Pop and Lounge models. Instead, black is the dominant color, with available red accents. Leather is optional. Sport seats with a fixed, high-back design replace the standard 500 seats with their circular headrests. Side bolstering is more prominent, but it's also soft, so it tends to wash out during aggressive cornering. As in other 500s, the sitting position is fairly high; we liked the large dead pedal but found the steering wheel, which adjusts for rake but not reach, to be pretty far away. That wheel, which is unique to the Abarth, is aggressively sculpted and feels great; audio and Bluetooth controls are standard. Also standard is a boost gauge added to the left side of the instrument cluster, which has an upshift light that flashes when you approach redline.

More to come?

Owners may get the chance to further tweak both the design and performance of the Abarth, as Fiat is considering adding a line of Mopar appearance and performance parts. Conveniently, they've already been developed for the European market by Italian supplier Magnetti-Morelli. Among the items mentioned are carbon-fiber items, even-lower suspensions, and even-louder exhaust systems.

What it means

One thing Fiat managers are less keen to talk about is projected sales, having been caught out so badly when the company's initial prognostications for the 500 proved wildly optimistic (the car is currently selling at a rate of just under 30,000 units per year). They do, however, acknowledge that the Abarth's importance to Fiat is far greater than the incremental volume it adds. "It's critical for the brand," says Fiat U.S.A. chief Tim Kuniskis, adding: "it provides a performance halo that it didn't have before." To further emphasize the car's performance potential, every Abarth buyer will be offered the opportunity to attend an Abarth Experience track day.
Even outside of a track, however, the experience of the Abarth is quite different from that of a regular 500. It brings another dimension to the tiny Fiat; forget cute and cuddly, think small and snarling.

2012 Fiat 500 Abarth

On sale: Late March 2012
Base price: $22,700
Price as tested: $27,600
Engine: 1.4L SOHC turbo I-4; 160 hp, 170 lb-ft
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Drive: Front-wheel
EPA Mileage: 28/34/31 mpg (city/highway/combined)
2012 Fiat 500C Front Right Side View
When the Fiat 500 convertible made its debut, at the 2009 Geneva auto show, I must admit I was not smitten. The sliding canvas roof just didn't seem like a convertible. It still doesn't, but I've come around to think that, with a car this small, it might be preferable to a fully chopped top.
2012 Fiat 500C Rear Right Side View
When you've dealing with a 1.4-liter engine that makes all of 101 hp, weight is the enemy. The sliding canvas top is simpler than a real convertible, and doesn't require the full metal frame of a folding top. With most of the car's original structure remaining, there's less need for major reinforcements (although Fiat does add bracing in the door frames, the windshield, and behind the package shelf). Still, the weight gain over the hardtop is just a shade over 50 pounds -- much less than is typically the case with a convertible.
Also, there's none of the cowl shake you sometimes get with real convertibles, and the ride and handling seem unaffected. It's surprising given the 500C's ultra-short wheelbase, but the Fiat's ride quality is actually quite good -- much better than a Mini Cooper's. On the other hand, a Mini will run rings around this thing, cornering-wise; the Fiat feels much taller, narrower, and more roll-happy. Note that the convertible comes only as the base Pop and fancier Lounge, not as the more firmly sprung Sport.
But what about the open-air aspect? Well, that's pretty subjective, but the sliding canvas roof provides much of the out-in-the-elements feeling of a true convertible -- certainly more than any sunroof, and it benefits both front- and rear-seat riders. The roof can open to two positions: most of the way (leaving the rearmost section, with the glass rear window, in place) or all the way (with the top stacking in a pile behind the rear seat). The former preserves rear visibility but unfortunately leads to a lot of buffeting -- it's good for low speeds only. The latter largely wipes out the view behind, but the breezes are not bothersome even at highway speeds. Conveniently, opening and closing the roof can be done on the move, at speeds up to 50 mph.
With the roof closed, outward visibility isn't much different than in the coupe -- meaning it's pretty good, except of the over-the-left-shoulder obstruction caused by the fat B-pillar. My test example was also pretty tight and rattle-free. And while a regular convertible usually loses its side curtain air bags when it loses its top, the 500C maintains its full count of seven air bags -- probably a good thing in a car this small.
If this car were mine, I might be tempted to keep the roof closed as much as possible, if only to lock in the interior aroma, which is like that of a good shoe store. That smell came courtesy of the luxury leather package ($1250). The seats are chair-high, but soft, and the space up front is good. The back seat is essentially the same as in the coupe, which means it can (just barely) accommodate a small adult or an older kid. The dash is attractive to look at, but some controls are annoying. What's with the prejudice against knobs? Instead, there are pushbuttons for everything. Sure, some functions lend themselves to pushbuttons, but temperature control? Fan speed? Radio volume? Uh, no.
A wholesale hacking off of everything above the beltline might have been a bit much for the diminutive Fiat. And while a sliding canvas roof may not provide the transformative style that a true convertible does, the Fiat 500 has plenty of style already.
2012 Fiat 500C Lounge
2012 Fiat 500C Right Side View
Base price (with destination): $24,000
Price as tested: $26,050
Standard Equipment:
1.4-liter four-cylinder engine
6-speed automatic transmission
Power steering
Power disc brakes with ABS
Electronic stability control
Hill start assist
Rear park assist
Power door locks with remote
Power windows
Power sliding soft top
Air-conditioning with automatic temperature control
Height-adjustable driver's seat
Split folding rear seat
Bose premium audio system with AM/FM/CD/MP3/XM satellite radio and steering-wheel-mounted audio controls
Leather-wrapped steering wheel
Tilt steering column
Blue&Me Bluetooth connectivity
Chrome power side mirrors
Options on this vehicle:
Luxury leather package - $1250
- Leather-trimmed seats
- Heated front seats
- Auto-dimming rearview mirror
Bianco pearl paint - $500
15 x 6.0-inch aluminum wheels - $500
Key options not on vehicle:
Tom Tom navigation
Fuel economy:
(city/hwy/combined)
27 / 32 / 29 mpg
Engine:
1.4L four-cylinder
Horsepower: 101 hp @ 6500 rpm
Torque: 98 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm
Drive:
Front-wheel
Transmission:
6-speed automatic
Curb weight: 2486 lb
Wheels/tires:
15. x 6.0 in chrome alloy wheels
185/55 R15 tires
Competitor:
Mini Cooper convertible
Fiat 500 Cabrio Blue Left Side View Motion
You'd think automakers would realize by now that you can't make a cheap car appealing just by parking it in a cool place. Did anyone, for instance, ever go home from a Toronto Blue Jays game and decide to buy a Pontiac G5 just because GM had stuck one in the outfield wall? But as we crowd onto a sidewalk in Manhattan's SoHo neighborhood, we have to admit the Fiat 500 cabrio might just pull it off. Its teensy-cute Italian styling and cheap-chic pillared canvas top looks perfectly at home among the area's trendy, expensive art galleries (one of which Fiat is presently renting). It even comes standard with ironic hipster facial hair in the form of Fiat's classic "whiskers" grille openings. But is the 500C merely a European fashion accessory to be admired from afar, or is it a car we'd actually recommend owning in the US of A? That's what we're here to find out.
Fiat 500 Cabrio Blue Front View Driving
Cut it open again, Tony
The 500C, of course, pays tribute -- more than tribute we might say -- to the original 500. When the Italian runabout debuted in 1957, it featured a canvas top that rolled all the way back but left the door pillars in place. And it's the same on this car, which looks identical in profile to the hardtop (it actually has a slightly taller windshield) but provides most of the open-air thrills of a softtop. Although the European 500C, which debuted two years ago, is available with a variety of gasoline and diesel engines, the Mexican-built North American version, like the hardtop, comes only with a 1.4-liter four-cylinder paired with either a five-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission. Buyers will still have plenty of other choices to make, however, with fourteen exterior colors and twelve different interior color combinations. Like the hardtop, our 500C features a revised interior and improved passive safety, with seven standard airbags.
Beating the taxis
A surprising number of early 500 hardtop buyers have opted for the five-speed manual transmission (40 percent!), so we feel justified in wrenching one of the few so equipped test cars from some Canadian Fiat representatives for our drive out of the city. Good choice. Although the clutch is a bit binary in its take-up, the quick and precise throws of the cue-ball-topped shifter bring to mind those in Japanese subcompacts like the Mazda 2.
Fiat 500 Cabrio Red Left Rear Side View Parked
The manual transmission is a perfect complement for the 101-hp 1.4-liter four-cylinder, which does its best work close to its 6900-rpm redline. It also enjoys a considerable fuel economy advantage, estimated at 30/38 mpg city/highway versus only 27/32 mpg for the automatic. Fiat owners will be able to see how they measure up to these numbers thanks to a Eco:Drive, a fancy name for a USB memory stick in the glove compartment that tracks driving habits, fuel economy, and CO2 emissions. Plug it into a computer, and an application offers helpful suggestions to improve fuel economy, such as shifting sooner and accelerating more gently. We're pretty sure the USB stick has never driven in New York City, where redline shifting and threshold braking are what it takes to keep the cabs off your door handles. This is usually pretty aggravating, but not in the little Fiat.
Darting through midmorning traffic as if we're jockeying for position in a stock car race, it's easy to tell we're in the 500C's native environment, albeit with giant yellow Crown Victorias filling in for Roman Vespas. Not that you'd be able to see a Vespa behind you -- or a Crown Vic, for that matter -- as the cloth top folds into a pile that completely obscures the rear view. Unless you have small backseat passengers demanding direct sunlight, you're better off retracting the top only partway, leaving the decent glass rear window in place. We're also disappointed with the 500's overboosted steering at low speeds, which feels more appropriate for a large sedan than a European subcompact.
Cruising along the Hudson
That large-car personality does have its advantages. We're soon beyond the confines of the city and speeding along the rainy Palisades Parkway. Many subcompacts don't do well cruising at 80 mph, and that's before you take a can opener to their roofs. The 500C, though, couldn't be happier. Even with the top fully retracted, it hustles along, completely unperturbed by crosswinds or tire spray. The variable effort steering, which is so lifeless in the urban logjam, is confidence-inspiring at speed, feeling direct and firm but never nervous.
Fiat 500 Cabrio White Left Side View Driving
With the top up, the 500C is incredibly quiet and solid for a convertible, mostly a tribute to the fact that it really isn't so much a convertible as it's a hardtop with a panoramic sunroof. Fiat added reinforcements to the windshield and door frames, as well as in the rear behind the package shelf. Over some serious road rash, one can hear a few rattles that may be caused by the top shifting in its tracks. The top design also allows us to take advantage of short bursts of dry weather on the fly. The top can be rolled part-way back at speeds up to 60 mph and reclines fully at 50 mph or less.
Predictably, there's some wind noise in either position, but it's not overwhelming and has little to no discernable effect on the car's exceptional cruising character. The 500C also feels commendably spacious, with none of the top-up claustrophobia typical to convertibles. And since the roof just piles atop the decklid, it leaves plenty of room for a weekend's worth of luggage -- 23.4 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down.
Thirty minutes outside the city, we ditch the highway for some back roads along the Hudson River. (We're actually taking a route similar to the one senior editor Joe Lorio traversed in a Mini Cooper convertible a couple years ago.) Whereas the Mini loves blitzing such stretches, its back end nipping and tucking with every lift of the throttle, the 500C has a much more relaxed personality. That's not to say it's not a whole lot of fun. The steering loads up nicely entering corners, and the small footprint - several inches narrower and shorter than a Mini Cooper -- lends itself to shifting about your lane in search of a good line. Push it too hard, and the front end gently washes out. Our only real wish for the 500C while driving on these roads is for thicker seat bolsters and, perhaps, a more intimidating grille, as plodding crossovers seem unfazed when we fill their rearview mirrors. Nevertheless, we reach our destination in good time and slip out before Fiat's geek squad can plug our eco:Drive stick into a computer to see how much time we spent banging off the rev-limiter.
Fiat 500 Cabrio Yellow Front Left View Driving
Conclusion
No doubt about it, the 500C offers about as much coolness as you'll be able find for less than $20,000. We can almost hear the sales pitch back in the city's most avant-garde neighborhoods: "Yeah, it's an Italian convertible but not like the Italian convertibles you've heard of. Whatever, I really don't care." But even if the hipsters and fashionistas don't go for it, there's plenty of practicality, comfort, and value here for empty nesters, college students, and other ordinary folk. And although enthusiasts who measure their passion in autocross times will still do better with a Mini Cooper, the 500C serves up plenty of slow-car fun as well.
2012 Fiat 500 Promo
Growing up as an Italian American in New York puts a lot of pressure on a kid. You're not allowed to say mozzarella unless you pronounce it mutsa-dell. Your mother sequesters herself in the kitchen all Sunday morning making meatballs and "gravy" for the two o'clock family dinner, presumably scheduled to perpetuate the rumor that your household has remained faithful to Italy's time zone. God forbid you don't make the sign of the cross when you drive past a church -- even if you never actually enter such a building. And removing the stereotypical red horn pendant hanging from your car's rearview mirror? Fuhgedaboudit.
2012 Fiat 500 Front Three Quarters
New York, like the rest of our vast country, is a melting pot. Occasionally, though, its flame isn't on quite so high. Culturally homogenous areas like Little Italy helped preserve a sense of community and slow the assimilation of immigrants into the broader American culture. But it also allowed the formation of a new set of cultures -- rituals, foods, language, and a sense of identity that, come to find out, has more to do with Little Italy than the real Italy.
My world crumbled when I found out that you can't order marinara sauce on your pasta in Italy -- even if you pronounce it mad-e-nada like I did at home. Those real Italians call it pomodoro. And the more time you spend in Italy, the more you realize that so many of the icons we Americans associate with Italian culture have nothing to do with the old country. We think of Tony Soprano when we should be thinking of Dante or da Vinci; those Jersey Shore idiots instead of Michelangelo and Ennio Morricone.
Worse, we think Cadillacs and Lincolns instead of Fiats and Piaggios. Of the twenty best-selling cars in Italy, none is bigger than a Volkswagen Golf. If Tony Soprano, or even Luigi down the block, were really Italian, he'd be driving a Fiat Punto. So what will Italian Americans think of Italy's fourth-best-selling car, the Fiat 500, when it arrives this spring? We took the little Italian to Little Italy to find out.
It's quite a shock to see that New York's Little Italy -- once a thirty-block neighborhood that was home to a good portion of the city's 400,000 Italians -- has dwindled to three blocks. The tenement my great-grandparents lived in still has an Italian restaurant on the first level, but its cooking is for tourists, not hungry immigrants. Most everything else on Mulberry Street plays to tourists, too, even the Italian American Museum, whose founder, Dr. Joseph Scelsa, tells me something that I'll hear, both spoken and in my head, as I talk to off-the-boat Italians about the differences between us and Italy: "Italian Americans are in a time warp. They still think of Italy the way it was when their ancestors arrived here." Neither he nor Francesco Teoli, the Italian-born owner of an exotic-car shop who braved the bitterly cold drive from Long Island in his customer's heaterless original 500, is amused by the tricolori tassel I hung from the new car's rearview mirror. And when I point out that his customer's car has a red horn hanging from its mirror, he sneers: "Typical American." I'm glad he didn't see that my 500's trunk was full of boxes of ravioli or notice the dirty, tongue-in-cheek license plate I put on it.
2012 Fiat 500 Front Three Quarters Low
We headed out onto the salt-covered streets of New York, and each and every time I heard the words "Fix It Again, Tony," Scelsa's theory about Italian Americans was proved correct. Not that you can blame Americans for their preconceived notions of modern Fiats. The last time the brand was sold here, they were the miserable cars that, in the words of my father, "your grandfather kicked and cursed at."
It takes all of two seconds to see that the new 500 is a whole new cannoli. Even if you ignore its adorable styling inside and out (and that's a tall order), it's a magnificent piece of engineering. With the possible exception of Fiat's clever but clattery Multiair variable valve lift system, there are no technological revelations here -- just a really good car. The 1.4-liter engine produces 101 hp, 98 lb-ft of torque, and a good chunk of noise under the hood-but it's never harsh, always responsive, and has a commendably robust torque curve. An optional Aisin six-speed automatic is exclusive to the North American 500, but the standard five-speed manual is a model of city-driving habitability, with a light clutch and a shifter sticking out of the dashboard less than two fist-widths away from the steering wheel.
There is no steering feel to speak of -- that wheel could be the least talkative Italian in history -- but the ratio is suitably quick and helps you fling the short-wheelbase Fiat around corners and weave around jaywalkers. New York's old-world roads, pockmarked by potholes that could swallow a moped whole, don't seem to bother the 500. Our Sport test car, with sixteen-inch wheels and a firmer suspension, remains amazingly composed over bumps even at crazed-taxicab speeds. The small amount of noise that does filter into the cabin is easily drowned out by the powerful Bose sound system.
2012 Fiat 500 Side
Despite its rame paint (rame is the Italian word for "copper"; back in the day, Fiat might have more appropriately called this color ruggine, or "rust"), our 500 didn't exactly stop traffic. Clearly, it couldn't possibly look any more adorable, so we'll blame Manhattan's typical automotive ambivalence and Mother Nature's frigid temperatures and high winds. Aside from being cold, those New Yorkers who did notice the 500 had a few things in common. Once we filtered through the hundreds of "cutes," we noticed that the most enthusiastic tended to be Italian American. All of them seemed to know that the car wasn't supposed to be out for another few months. Without exception, perhaps out of fear of confusing this little beauty with a bad Ford Taurus, they referred to it as the Cinquecento (chin-kwah-CHEN-toe), not the "five hundred."
In its journey to the Nuovo Mondo (that would be here), the Nuova 500 has stayed remarkably true to its original design. This is especially impressive considering that it was never intended for our market. Our 500 will be produced at Chrysler's plant in Toluca, Mexico, and Fiat's engineers took advantage of the need to create new tooling to make some enhancements to the 500's front and rear suspension. Revised tuning gives our Cinquecento a smootherride, according to Fiat. The front and rear bumpers are new -- the former allowing for additional engine cooling. Significant improvements were made to the 500's crashworthiness, including moving the fuel-filler door forward and fitting seven air bags to the interior. The only remaining visible changes involve adjustments to adhere to U.S. lighting regulations. The weight gain over the European model is a palatable 140 pounds.
Despite its small size and light weight, the 500 doesn't feel small from behind the wheel. You'd certainly never call it an econobox-it's more like a dime-size high-end fashion statement. The most obvious clue that you're driving a car so diminutive is the driving position, which keeps your feet close to your body. There's abundant headroom, though, and the relatively high seat and low dash give the driver a great, commanding view of the outside. The rear seats, replete with pill-shaped headrests to match the fronts, are far better to look at than to sit on, but four adults can fit in the 500 in a pinch. And we know how Italians love to pinch.
2012 Fiat 500 Rear Three Quarters
There are thoughtful and artful details everywhere-from the concentric gauges to the body-colored dash insert. At night, every one of the 500's buttons and displays is illuminated in exactly the same shade of amber. That's a level of detail that the Fiat of our collective memory would never get right-and some of today's best car companies can't manage. If the 500 has one ergonomic foible, it's that the key is painfully difficult to insert. As a Mafia chase car, you'd be better off in something else, lest you wind up getting whacked while fumbling with your ignition key.
Ah, back to the stereotypes. That was a joke, of course, but there is an almost Mafia-like code of silence among the media where Fiat's acquisition of Chrysler is concerned. It seems we're all thinking it, but we're afraid to say it: how is this ever supposed to work? The two companies' products are too different. The markets are too different. No American has ever gotten out of a Fiat Grande Punto and thought, "Man, that'd make a great subcompact Dodge." And no Italian has ever driven a Sebring convertible and thought it would look good parked in front of the Trevi Fountain.
Then there's the 500. Even after fourteen hours behind the wheel in miserable Manhattan traffic, I want one, badly. Almost everyone we spoke to wants one, too, just because of the way it looks. Obviously, there's little chance that the little Fiat will wind up on our country's best-seller list; differences in geography and culture and tastes prevent that. But to the group of people who don't find Pizza Hut's stuffed-crust pepperoni all that appealing, it's nice to know that a thin-crust, Neapolitan, wood-fired pizza Margherita is available.
And even if the whole Chrysler/Fiat thing makes no sense, as these little cars assimilate into mainstream American car culture, we'll look back at this moment as the start of a new Italian car culture-one where Tony doesn't have to fix anything and where we're finally getting a taste of the delicacies that real Italians have been enjoying all along.
2012 Fiat 500
PRICE: $16,000/$19,500 (base/as tested, est.)
Powertrain
ENGINE: 16-valve SOHC I-4
DISPLACEMENT: 1.4 liters (83 cu in)
HORSEPOWER: 101 hp @ 6500 rpm
TORQUE: 98 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm
TRANSMISSION: 5-speed manual
DRIVE: Front-wheel
Chassis
STEERING: Electrically assisted, rack-and-pinion
SUSPENSION, FRONT: Strut-type, coil springs
SUSPENSION, REAR: Torsion beam, coil springs
BRAKES: Discs, ABS
TIRES: Pirelli Cinturato P7
TIRE SIZE: 195/45HR-16
Measurements
L x W x H: 139.6 x 64.1 x 59.8 in
WHEELBASE: 90.6 in
TRACK F/R: 55.4/55.0 in WEIGHT: 2350 lb
FUEL MILEAGE: 29/37 mpg (est.)
2012 Fiat 500 Side View
One of the happy consequences of Chrysler landing in the arms of the Fiat group -- aside from the American company's continued existence -- is that the Fiat 500 is coming to the United States. Since its debut as a concept at the 2004 Geneva auto show, the wee Fiat has been a sensation in Europe. The design, by Fiat & Abarth style director Roberto Giolito, obviously is inspired by the classic Cinquecento that was first introduced in 1957. It packs more style into a smaller package than perhaps any other car on the market and thus lives at the polar opposite of Chrysler's current domestic small cars.
2012 Fiat 500 Side View
The 500 will come here in three versions: Pop, Sport, and Lounge. All will have a four-year/50,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and four years of roadside assistance. The Pop is the least expensive, starting at $15,500. Standard equipment includes A/C, cruise control, and power windows/locks/mirrors; Bluetooth/USB/iPod connectivity is optional, as are a six-speed automatic transmission and a sunroof. The Sport and the Lounge are both a step above. The Sport, at $17,500, includes the connectivity package as well as different seats, a restyled fascia, a sport suspension, and sixteen-inch wheels. The $19,500 Lounge comes with the automatic, auto A/C, and a glass roof; heated leather seats and rear park assist are optional. A dockable TomTom nav unit is optional on Sport and Lounge. The 500's pricing puts it above a Ford Fiesta, but below a Mini Cooper.
Cute, and retro
The latter is of particular interest because there are several parallels between the Fiat and the Mini. Both are spot-on interpretations of a beloved icon. Both are brands that are essentially starting from scratch in the United States. Both try to make an emotional appeal rather than simply selling on a small car's traditional virtues.
But beyond that, the two cars diverge. The Fiat is smaller, for instance. Its wheelbase is half a foot shorter and it's seven inches shorter in length, although it's four inches taller. While the Mini, like the Honda Fit and the new Ford Fiesta, is a B-segment car, the 500 falls into the A-segment, where its only companion in the U.S. market is the toy-like Smart ForTwo. Unlike the two-seat Smart, the 500 is an actual four-seater, although anyone who tries to squeeze in back better be less than six feet tall and preferably will be sitting behind front-seat riders who are under six feet as well. Up front, the 500 does a good job of not feeling tiny, thanks to the chair-high seats, fairly big windows, and low dash.
The 500 does take a page from the Mini playbook in its zippy performance, fun-to-drive character, and go-cart handling, although it is not quite as sporty overall as the British car. Handling, body control, and turn-in are commendable. In our earlier drive of a pre-production prototype, the electric power steering was disappointingly light and disconnected-feeling, but the 500's chief engineer, Fabio DiMuro, tells us that "we've changed the half-shaft to improve on-center response and give the impression of more directness." Their efforts succeeded: the 500's steering is now very precise, even if it could still use a bit more feel. A sport button on the dash adds a bit of steering effort (and also changes the throttle mapping and the automatic transmission's shift logic). We've been very impressed with the 500's ride quality over a variety of roads, including the beaten-up pavement in and around NYC and near our editorial offices in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where we've driven pre-production-spec 500s; as well as on the smoother roads of San Diego County, where we drove a production-spec car. This is especially true given the car's ultra-short wheelbase.
2012 Fiat 500 Front View Static
What makes it go
The 1.4-liter MultiAir four-cylinder, which is manufactured at a Chrysler plant in Dundee, Michigan, then shipped to the 500's assembly plant in Toluca, Mexico, makes 101 hp and 97 pound-feet of torque, plenty enough to motivate the roughly 2400-pound Fiat. Off-the-line acceleration is a bit slow, but once you get the revs up the car moves along very well (the torque peak arrives at 4000 rpm). The engine is pretty vocal; a sportier exhaust note to offset that would be welcome. EPA fuel economy figures are 30/38 mpg city/highway for the manual transmission and 27/34 mpg with the automatic. These figures slightly exceed those of the base Mini Cooper but fall slightly short of the figures for the most economical versions of the Ford Fiesta or even the much larger Chevy Cruze.
Fiat 500 buyers have a choice of a five-speed manual or a six-speed automatic (except for buyers of the Lounge model, which is offered only with the automatic). Shifters for both are located not on the floor but in a pod that projects out from the dashboard, a surprisingly convenient solution. The manual's shift action is light but not especially positive; the automatic includes a separate gate for up- and down-shifts but no shift paddles. Shift paddles -- and a turbocharged engine -- will have to wait until the Abarth version arrives next year. Fiat offers a six-speed manual gearbox in Europe, but chief engineer DiMuro tells us that he was not able to package it in the U.S.-spec 500 without sacrificing a vertical linkage between the horizontal crash-protection beams. He hasn't decided yet whether he'll package the six-speed for the Abarth, which arrives in early 2012 with, DiMuro assures us, "much higher" horsepower than the current MultiAir's 101-hp rating. The Abarth will also feature the predictable upgrades in brakes, suspension, wheels, and seats, and its front fascia will project two inches farther forward to accommodate the turbo.
Italian style
For now, the 500's principal appeal is not so much as a gas miser or as a tear-around funster, but as a design object. The exterior styling is just right and will be augmented by an unusually large selection of colors, fourteen in all, as well as various graphics packages. The interior is far more highly styled than one usually sees in this category, with a big swath of body-color trim on the dash; large, upholstered door armrests; off-white switches; and a detailed steering wheel, yet it's far more logically arranged than the style-over-substance instrument panel of the Mini Cooper. There are also fourteen available interior colors, rather than the typical choice of tan or gray. Fiat says there are more than 500,000 possible ways to spec out a 500.
2012 Fiat 500 Front Three Quarters View
Small car, big ambition
Fiat hopes to sell 50,000 cars in North America this year between the hardtop and the Cabrio that goes on sale this spring. For its part, Mini, a much more established brand, sold only 45,000 cars annually in the United States in 2009 and 2010, so even with the addition of the 500 Abarth next year and an electric 500 in late 2012, Fiat's goals are very ambitious. Whatever the volume, we're glad to see the 500 in America. With sales of the smallest cars in a long-term uptrend, we need more variety in the small-car arena and, in particular, more models that don't feel like lesser versions of larger cars. That's certainly the case here.
2012 Fiat 500 Base price: $15,500 (plus destination)
Powertrain: 16-valve DOHC I-4
Displacement: 1.4 liters
Power: 101 hp @ 6500 rpm
Torque: 98 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm
Transmission: 5-speed manual or 6-speed automatic
Drive: Front-wheel
EPA Fuel Economy: 30/38 mpg (manual); 27/34 mpg (automatic)
Chassis
Suspension, front: Strut-type, coil springs
Suspension, rear: Beam axle, coil springs
Wheels: 15 x 6.0 in, 16 x 6.5 in (Sport)
Tire size: 185/55R15, 195/45R16XL (Sport)
Measurements
Wheelbase: 90.6 in
L x W x H: 139.6 x 64.1 x 59.8 in
Curb weight: 2350-2430 lb
Fuel capacity: 10.5 gallons
Cargo capacity: 9.5 cu ft
2012 Fiat 500
2012 Fiat 500
The retro movement in car design has been going strong for the last several years, buoyed by the success of such cars as the Mini Cooper and the Chevrolet Camaro. The movement's newest member is the Fiat 500, a tiny Italian car that harks back to the original 1957 model. The new Cinquecento (which is Italian for 500) has managed to keep the classic look even as it has grown larger and been updated for modern drivers. The American 500 is a lightly massaged European model with what Fiat calls necessary tweaks for American customers: a stronger suspension, wider seats, and more cupholders. Inside you'll find modern technology with a retro feel: behind the two-tone dash is available Sirius satellite radio and a voice-activated Bluetooth-linked infotainment system. Under the hood is Fiat's 1.4-liter four-cylinder MultiAir engine, which is good for 101 hp. That may not sound like much, but the engine only has to move about 2400 pounds, so the 500 has relatively brisk performance and returns decent, if not stellar, fuel economy. For drivers who don't want three pedals, the optional six-speed automatic can be manually shifted, and it has a sport mode that adds a little bit of spice to the driving experience. Although the 500 is designed to seat four passengers, rear legroom measures just under 32 inches, which means space is tight. The benefit is that, at 139.6 inches, the 500 will fit into almost any kind of parallel parking spot.
2012 Fiat 500C Pop Rear Three Quarters Promo
All Fiat 500s should be cabriolets. The 500 is so awkward to drive that you might as well peel the roof back, slow down even more, and let in the scenery. I cannot get past the seat height/clutch pedal relationship in any 500, so I'd like to try an automatic transmission. This car can't get much slower, right? At least the folding cloth top distracted me from the ergonomics for a little while.

2012 Fiat 500C Pop

2013 Fiat 500 Abarth Side View
October was yet another good month for the Chrysler Group, at least in terms of new-car volumes. The company sold some 126,185 vehicles, which not only represents a 10-percent growth over last October, but the company’s best October sales result since 2007.
Fiat 500 Beach Cruiser Front Close
Chrysler Group plans to show off 24 of its new vehicles modified by in-house parts company Mopar at the upcoming Specialty Equipment Market Association show in Las Vegas. The company chose to highlight eight of those tricked-out models ahead of the show's start of October 30. Almost all of the components shown on these cars are available for customers to purchase from the Mopar parts catalog.
2012 Fiat 500 Sport Front Left View
"Over a year it's proved itself a viable, useful, and capable little car."

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Certified Pre-Owned 2012 Fiat 500 Pricing

Certified Pre Owned Price
$10,475

Used 2012 Fiat 500 Values / Pricing

Suggested Retail Price
$15,500

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2012 Fiat 500 Specifications

Quick Glance:
Engine
1.4L I4Engine
Fuel economy City:
30 MPG
Fuel economy Highway:
38 MPG
Horsepower:
101 hp @ 6500rpm
Torque:
98 ft lb of torque @ 4000rpm
  • Air Conditioning
  • Power Windows
  • Power Locks
  • Power Seats (optional)
  • Steering Wheel Tilt
  • Cruise Control
  • Sunroof (optional)
  • ABS
  • Stabilizer Front
  • Stabilizer Rear (optional)
  • Electronic Traction Control
  • Electronic Stability Control
  • Locking Differential (optional)
  • Limited Slip Differential (optional)
  • Airbag Driver
  • Airbag Passenger
  • Airbag Side Front
  • Airbag Side Rear (optional)
  • Radio
  • CD Player
  • CD Changer (optional)
  • DVD (optional)
  • Navigation (optional)
Vehicle
50,000 miles / 48 months
Powertrain
50,000 miles / 48 months
Corrosion
50,000 miles / 48 months
Roadside
Unlimited miles / 48 months
Maintenance
36,000 miles / 36 months
IIHS Roof Strength
Good
NHTSA Rating Front Driver
4
NHTSA Rating Front Passenger
3
NHTSA Rating Front Side
5
NHTSA Rating Rear Side
2
NHTSA Rating Rollover
4
IIHS Front Moderate Overlap
Good
IIHS Overall Side Crash
Good
IIHS Best Pick
1
IIHS Rear Crash
Good
NHTSA Rating Overall
3

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5-Year Total Cost to Own For The 2012 Fiat 500

Depreciation
13.9%
Loss in Value + Expenses
= 5 Year Cost to Own
Depreciation
$3,455
13.9%
Insurance
$6,170
24.7%
Fuel Cost
$8,313
33.3%
Financing
$1,145
4.6%
Maintenance
$3,275
13.1%
Repair Costs
$2,261
9.1%
State Fees
$317
1.3%
Five Year Cost of Ownership: $24,936 What's This?
Value Rating: Excellent