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#25

in Affordable Small Cars

MSRP: $16,445 - $26,195
Invoice: $16,034 - $25,196
MPG: 31 City / 40 Hwy
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FIAT 500 Review

The 2014 FIAT 500 ranks 25 out of 40 Affordable Small Cars. This ranking is based on our analysis of published reviews and test drives of the FIAT 500, as well as reliability and safety data.

The 2014 FIAT 500 is ranked:

The 2014 Fiat 500 is undeniably chic and fun to drive, auto writers say, but its modestly powered base engine and cramped rear seats make rival subcompacts more attractive.

The Fiat 500’s base four-cylinder engine is fine for tooling around the city, reviewers say, but can feel strained at highway speeds. Two optional turbocharged engines improve acceleration, they add. Reviewers are impressed with the 500's standard manual transmission, saying it’s easy to use. The optional six-speed automatic is smooth and responsive, they add. The base Fiat 500 gets an EPA-estimated 31/40 mpg city/highway with a manual transmission, which is good for the class. With an automatic transmission, it gets 27/34 mpg, which is low for a subcompact car. Most auto writers agree that the 500 is nimble and easy to maneuver in the city, but a few critics report that the 500 is slightly less composed when tackling a corner at speed, which causes its body to lean.

Like most subcompact cars, test drivers say the Fiat 500’s cabin is made with hard plastics. However, they’re willing to overlook the materials because of the 500’s charmingly retro interior design. They note that the front seats are spacious and there’s enough room to accommodate a tall driver. As with most small cars, the rear seats are a different story, they say, citing a lack of legroom and limited headroom thanks to the sloping roofline. The 500 comes standard with a six-speaker audio system, an auxiliary jack, a USB port, Bluetooth, keyless entry and steering wheel-mounted audio controls. Optional features include a power sunroof, satellite radio, an Alpine premium audio system, a premium Beats audio system and touch-screen navigation.  Reviewers say the climate and audio controls are easy to master, though some critics point out that the voice commands for external media devices don’t work very well.

  • “The Fiat 500 is hip, happening and a must-have for style-conscious city dwellers. Not as pricey as a Mini Cooper, but far more fun than a Toyota Yaris or Honda Fit, the 500 serves up a big dose of Italian attitude in a little body." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "As endearing as the 500 is in many ways, it definitely has its share of flaws. But if you want a fun little economy car that even JLo wouldn't mind being seen in, the ambitious FIAT 500 is the best deal going.” -- AutoTrader
  • "Even the most basic Fiat 500 is brimming with European personality. All are fun to drive, with the Abarth being among the most engaging cars in its price class. We especially love that model's throaty exhaust." -- Consumer Guide (2013)
  • “Inside, front passengers are treated to a surprisingly spacious cabin that is adorned with plenty of contemporary niceties. Add to that a pleasantly lively driving experience and favorable fuel economy figures, and it's no wonder why the Fiat 500 is one of our top recommended coupes." -- Edmunds (2013)
  • "I found the car perfectly able, cleverly designed with fun touches, like the round headrests, and enjoyable to drive. It neither wowed me nor left me flat." -- Popular Mechanics (2012)

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Other Cars to Consider

The Mazda Mazda3 has a more powerful engine than the Fiat 500 and still gets great fuel economy. Reviewers say it offers athletic handling and a spacious back seat. We named the 2014 Mazda3 the Best Compact Car for the Money thanks to its combination of positive reviews, price and long-term ownership costs.

The Volkswagen Golf costs a few thousand dollars more than the Fiat 500, but test drivers say it has one of the nicest interiors in the class and a roomy back seat. Reviewers say the Golf is no slouch when it comes to performance, either, with a powerful engine, nimble handling and composed ride.

Compare the 500, Mazda3 and Golf »

Details: 2014 Fiat 500

The 2014 Fiat 500 seats four, has front-wheel drive and is offered in hatchback and convertible (Cabrio) body styles. For 2014, the 500 comes in a total of seven trims, ranging from the base 500 Pop with a four-cylinder engine, to the 500 Abarth Cabrio with a turbocharged four-cylinder. A five-speed manual transmission is standard and a six-speed automatic is optional on the base Abarth. For 2014, the Fiat 500 is available in limited edition GQ and 1957 trims, but sees few other changes. As a result, this overview uses applicable research and reviews from the 2012 to 2014 model years.

See the full list of 2014 Fiat 500 specs »

Review Last Updated: 5/12/14

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