2016 FIAT 500 Overview
Pros & Cons
- Above-average fuel economy with manual transmission
- Composed city handling
- Powerful Abarth trim
- Underwhelming base engine
- Cheap interior materials
- Low predicted reliability score
- Tiny trunk
Notable for 2016
- 5-inch touch screen now standard
- New Easy trim level
FIAT 500 Rankings and Research
The 2016 FIAT 500 ranking is based on its score within the Subcompact Cars category. Currently the FIAT 500 has a score of 7.1 out of 10 which is based on our evaluation of 85 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.
2016 FIAT 500 Pictures
2016 FIAT 500 Review
The 2016 Fiat 500 has a striking design both inside and out. According to our analysis of automotive reviews, however, the cabin is constructed with lots of low-rent materials, and while the front seats are roomy, the back seats are barely spacious enough for children. The trunk is also much smaller than many rivals' trunks. Some other subcompact cars, including the Chevrolet Sonic, offer more space and more optional features.
For driving around the city, the 500's base engine makes sufficient power, but it isn't all that peppy overall, especially if you plan on doing a lot of highway driving. The Turbo or Abarth trims have turbocharged engines for those seeking more power. The 500 is not as agile as some competitors, like the Mini Cooper, because of its high center of gravity. With one of the lowest predicted reliability scores in the class, you may save time and money on maintenance by shopping for a different model.
If you're interested in the 2016 Fiat 500, you're probably drawn by its distinct styling, which is more fashion accessory than drab commuter car. Most of the 500's interior is focused on circular design, with a round gauge cluster, circular headrests, and dashboard controls arranged in circles. The dash features a prominent piece of trim that matches the exterior color of the car. You can choose contrasting seat colors to really make it your own.
Despite the 500's striking styling, its materials quality leaves something to be desired. Lots of low-rent trims and hard plastics abound. Still, you’ll find some soft-touch materials and padding around the doors for your knees.
As you might expect from such a pint-sized car, the 2016 500 doesn't have a particularly spacious interior. Still, you'll find a surprising amount of room in the front seats. Tall drivers and front-seat passengers may want more headroom in models equipped with the optional sunroof. When driving in traffic, you'll notice some large blind spots created by the headrests and wide roof pillars.
The 500 can seat up to four people, but two of the four will have to be small children because the rear seats are especially cramped. Even kids may find them too confining for long drives.
Fiat 500 hatchback models have 9.5 cubic feet of cargo room behind the rear seats and 30.2 cubic feet with them folded. Many competitors offer significantly more overall cargo room; the Honda Fit offers an additional 20 cubic feet with the rear seats down. You'll only have enough room for a few shopping bags with the 500's rear seats upright. 500c convertible models and 500e electric models offer even less cargo room, with only 5.4 and 7 cubic feet respectively behind the rear seats.
If you never want to miss a text or call while on the go, you'll appreciate the 500's standard and simple-to-use Uconnect infotainment system. It features a 5-inch touch screen with a USB port and Bluetooth connectivity. After connecting your phone to the system, you can accept calls through the audio system or reply to texts using your voice, so you can keep your eyes on the road. Navigating Uconnect's menus is straightforward, and the screen displays text in a large font that’s easy to see.
Adjusting the climate system's fan speed is done via buttons on the dashboard rather than a simple knob. However, there are knobs for radio tuning and volume adjustment. The optional Beats audio system delivers excellent sound quality to drown out exterior noise, but it's only available in options packages on Easy or higher trims. To get the Beats audio system with the Easy trim, you'll have to buy the Easy Collection 2 package for $1,200, but you'll also get automatic climate control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and satellite radio.
Options, Trims, and Pricing
The 2016 Fiat 500 is available as a three-door hatchback or a convertible (500c) and comes in Pop, Easy, Sport, Lounge, Turbo, and Abarth trims. The base 500 Pop starts around $17,500, which is about average for the class. It comes standard with the Uconnect infotainment system, a six-speaker audio system, and Bluetooth. Some cheaper competing cars may offer a better value depending on what you need in a car. For example, the Kia Rio starts at $14,165 and comes standard with satellite radio, while the Chevrolet Sonic ($14,345) is equipped with a subscription-based Wi-Fi hot spot, though neither comes standard with an infotainment system.
Moving up to the Easy trim (priced around $17,700) gets you the same features as the Pop model plus extras like an upgraded six-speaker Alpine audio system. With the Easy trim and above, you can select from options groups to add features like navigation, satellite radio, heated front seats, a power sunroof, and the Beats premium audio system. Most options packages range in price from $500 to $4,600.
The Sport trim includes all the lower trims' standard features and adds sport seats that feature additional side support and a sport steering wheel for around $17,900. With the Turbo trim, starting around $19,700, you get the same features as the Sport trim plus a more powerful turbocharged engine, sport suspension, and performance brakes.
The top-of-the-line Lounge trim comes equipped with all the Easy trim's standard features, as well as heated, leather-upholstered front seats and automatic climate control. A fully equipped Lounge model, with automatic transmission and options packages including the Beats audio system, sunroof, and navigation, tops out around $25,000.
All 500c convertible trims come with the same features and options as their hatchback counterparts, but instead of a fixed roof, the 500c has a roll back soft top. Prices range from around $20,000 for the base 500c Pop to about $25,000 for the 500c Lounge.
The all-electric 500e, which you can only buy in California and Oregon, is available in one trim level and is priced around $32,000. It comes standard with leatherette upholstery, heated front seats, automatic climate control, the Uconnect infotainment system, and navigation. A power sunroof is a $1,200 standalone option in the 500e.
The high-performance Abarth hatchback, starting around $23,000, and Abarth Cabrio, priced around $27,000, both come with a turbocharged engine, performance brakes, cloth sport seats, the Uconnect infotainment system, and an Alpine audio system. Both models are available with options packages – ranging from around $700 to $1,000 – that add features like automatic climate control, navigation, and the Beats audio system.
All models except the 500e are available with a six-speed automatic transmission, which adds about $1,300 to the car's sticker price.
500 Safety and Reliability
In crash tests performed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Fiat 500 earned at least four out of five stars in every category. Still, it scores slightly below average for a subcompact car. The 500 also earns one of the lowest predicted reliability scores in the class, so you may spend more time with the mechanic than you’d like.
While many subcompact cars are available with advanced safety features to help prevent accidents, the 500 is only available with rear parking sensors that alert you if you get too close to anything while backing up. Rear parking sensors are only available in the 500 hatchback Lounge trim, the 500e, and all 500c trims. There's not even an optional rearview camera, which comes standard in many competitors.
Underpowered Base Engine
The 500's base four-cylinder engine delivers adequate acceleration if most of your driving is around town, though it feels a little underpowered when driving on the highway. The standard five-speed manual transmission has light clutch action that makes it easy, and even fun, to shift. The automatic transmission makes good use of the engine's power, though it decreases fuel economy significantly and adds around $1,300 to the price of the car. A base model with the manual transmission gets up to 31 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway, while those with the automatic get 27/34 mpg. With the manual, fuel economy is better than most rivals, while models with the automatic are slightly below average for the class.
Most subcompact cars' base engines are more powerful than the 101 horsepower provided by the 500's four-cylinder. Rivals like the Honda Fit and Mini Cooper Hardtop have around 130 horsepower, while the Volkswagen Beetle's base turbocharged four-cylinder generates a class-leading 170 horsepower.
Pricey Power From Optional Engines
The 500 Turbo and Abarth models come with a more powerful turbocharged four-cylinder engine. It can feel slow off the line due to turbo lag, but once it reaches the middle of the power band, acceleration is brisk and more than sufficient to overtake other cars on the highway. You'll pay more for the added power, however, with the 500 Turbo starting around $2,200 more than the base model. Abarth models cost even more, around $5,000 above base price.
If you need even more power than the Abarth offers, and you’re open to shopping other brands, the high-performance Mini Hardtop John Cooper Works trim comes with a 228-horsepower, turbocharged four-cylinder that is incredibly potent.
The Fiat 500 is fairly agile weaving through city traffic. If you take it on twisty back roads, however, it becomes unsteady. It has a high center of gravity that makes it lean quite noticeably around corners. The power steering feels heavy so you may find yourself using more effort than you'd like to when navigating around tight parking lots.
Other Cars to Consider
The Mini Cooper Hardtop is one of the most fun-to-drive subcompact cars on the market. It has athletic handling around corners and strong brakes to help you make the most of winding roads. The base engine delivers decent acceleration, while its optional turbocharged engines are particularly potent. The cabin is fitted with top-notch materials and has a unique design that stands out from the class. In four-door models, the back seat offers plenty of room for a couple of adults. Like the 500, the Mini Cooper is also available in a convertible body style.
Unlike the 500, the Chevrolet Sonic has roomy rear seats and plenty of cargo room behind the rear seats. The Sonic is fun to drive, with sharp steering, composed handling through turns, and a smooth ride over rough roads. Inside, the cabin has a straightforward design with easy-to-reach dashboard controls. The Sonic has an impressive list of optional safety features for a subcompact car, including a rearview camera, forward collision warning, and lane departure warning.
Details: 2016 Fiat 500
The 2016 Fiat 500 seats four and comes with front-wheel drive. The 500 is available as a three-door hatchback or a convertible (500c) and comes in Pop, Easy, Sport, Lounge, Turbo, and Abarth trims. A 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine comes standard with the Pop, Easy, Sport, and Lounge models, while Turbo and Abarth trims come with a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine. A manual transmission is standard with all trims, while a six-speed automatic transmission is optional. The electric Fiat 500e is only available in select regions. The Fiat 500 was fully redesigned for the 2012 model year and has seen few changes since then. As a result, this overview uses applicable research and reviews from 2012 through 2016.
Standard features include a six-speaker audio system, a Uconnect 5-inch touch-screen infotainment system, and Bluetooth. Available features include front sport seats, heated front seats, leather upholstery, satellite radio, Alpine or Beats audio systems, automatic climate control, rear parking sensors, a sunroof, and navigation.
- "By now, everyone is aware of the FIAT 500 -- a small car primarily known for its unique looks and risque television ads. But the 2016 FIAT 500 offers a lot more than that, touting fuel-efficient powertrains, a modern interior and -- in Turbo or Abarth guise -- surprisingly impressive performance." -- AutoTrader
- "The 2016 Fiat 500 isn't the most practical or logical choice for an economy car. But if you're shopping for a personable small car with extra style points, the 500 is certainly worth a look." -- Edmunds
- "Although not as large as a Mini Cooper Hardtop or Ford Fiesta, the 500 makes up for its lack of rear-seat room with its playful attitude, lengthy list of features and wide model range that includes the performance-oriented Abarth and all-electric 500e." -- Kelley Blue Book
Research Prices: 2016 FIAT 500
Over 75,000 car shoppers have purchased a car through the U.S. News Best Price Program. Our pricing beats the national average 86% of the time with shoppers receiving average savings of $3,279 off MSRP across vehicles. See what others paid for the FIAT 500 and get upfront pricing to make sure you don't overpay. Learn More »