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1209 2012 Fiat 500 Sport August Update
four seasons long-term tests

2012 Fiat 500 Sport - Arrivederci e Buonanotte

A. J. Mueller
FALL 2012-fiat-500-sport
2012 Fiat 500 reviews to date
Over a year it's proved itself a viable, useful, and capable little car.

"I think once the novelty of having a Fiat wears off, this car will rapidly stop accumulating miles," predicted senior web editor Phil Floraday twelve months ago, just days after the Fiat 500 showed up at our old office.

Floraday was wrong. The Fiat 500 averaged about 1750 miles each month, not bad for a car obviously aimed at city folk with short commutes.

Then there was copy editor Rusty Blackwell's forecast: "It remains to be seen how much longevity the 500 will have in our marketplace. The Mini Cooper has stayed fairly hot since its arrival, and the comparisons between the two are clear. But I think there's a better chance that 500 sales will tank like those of the Smart ForTwo."

He, too, was wrong. Fiat is currently selling three times as many 500s as it was a year ago. In the last seven months, 24,416 have rolled off showroom floors. (Sidenote: the Mini and the ForTwo are selling better this year as well. You go, small cars.)

Finally, there's associate web editor Jake Holmes, who declared that the 500 felt "no more special than other small hatchbacks like, say, a Hyundai Accent or Volkswagen Golf" after one of his first stints in the Fiat. Now, Holmes says, "I'm convinced I could live with this car. It is easy to drive and has adequate, if not abundant, power, and the 'tiny' cargo area is actually big enough for most grocery runs, errands, and suitcases."

Even if our initial impressions of the 500 were negative, we were eager to spend a year it. And, boy, are we glad we did. Give it up for the Fiat. It proved to be a viable, useful, and capable little car.

Safety and Convenience package $400 Automatic temperature control Security alarm Compact spare tire
Safety and Sound package $200 Sirius XM satellite radio w/one-year subscription
Power sunroof $850
TomTom navigation w/BLUE and ME $400
2012 Fiat 500 Specs
  • Overview
  • powertrain
  • chassis
  • measurements
  • equipment
  • options
Body style: 2-door hatchback
Accommodation: 4-passenger seating
Construction: Unitized steel body
Base price: (with dest.) $18,000
As tested: $19,850
Engine: 1.4-liter MultiAir I-4
Displacement: 1.4 liters
Power: 101 hp @ 6500 rpm
Torque: 98 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm
Transmission type: 5-speed manual transmission
Drive: Front-wheel
EPA Fuel Economy: 30/38/33 (city/hwy/combined)
Steering: Power rack and pinion with electric power steering column
Lock-to-lock: 3
Turning circle: 30.6 ft
Suspension, front: Sport-tuned shock absorbers and springs
Suspension, rear: Sport-tuned shock absorbers and springs
Brakes f/r: Vented disc/solid disc
Wheels: 16-in. aluminum wheels
Tires: Continental ContiProContact
Tire size: 195/45R16
Headroom f/r: 37.6/35.6 in
Legroom f/r: 40.7/31.7 in
Shoulder room f/r: 49.4/46.4 in
Wheelbase: 90.6 in
Track f/r: 55.4/55.0 in
L x W x H: 139.6 x 64.1 x 59.8 in
Cargo capacity: 9.5 cu ft
Weight: 2363 lb
Weight dist. f/r: 64/36
Fuel capacity: 10.5 gal
Est. fuel range: 346 miles
Fuel grade: 91 octane (premium unleaded)
Standard Equipment
  • 1.4-liter MultiAir I-4 engine
  • 5-speed manual transmission
  • Four-wheel antilock disc brakes
  • 16-in. aluminum wheels
  • Electronic stability control
  • Power windows w/one-touch-down
  • Power locks
  • Remote keyless entry
  • Speed control
  • Hill start assist
  • Tire pressure monitoring system
  • Rear window defroster
  • Rear window wiper/washer
  • Sport suspension
  • 12-volt auxiliary power outlet
  • Air conditioning
  • Driver height adjustable seat w/memory
  • Bose premium audio system
  • Leather-wrapped sport steering wheel
  • Steering wheel-mounted audio controls
  • Auxiliary audio input jack
  • Tilt steering column
  • Front floor mats
  • Chrome shift knob
  • Halogen projector headlights
  • Power heated exterior mirrors
  • Fog lamps
  • Rear spoiler
  • Chrome exhaust tip
  • Red brake calipers
  • Tire service repair kit

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