Avg. Price Paid:$10,680 - $15,471
Original MSRP: $15,500 - $23,500
MPG: 30 City / 38 Hwy
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2012 Fiat 500 Review

Review Last Updated: 10/9/13

These scores and this review are from when the car was new.

Many test drivers think the 2012 Fiat 500 is one of the most attractive small cars on the road, but when it comes to performance and functionality, they say there are much better choices.

Auto writers love the Fiat 500 for its petite exterior and colorful, retro cabin. However, when styling is placed on the backburner, there is a lot reviewers dislike about this small car’s powertrain, cabin space and some interior features. The Fiat 500’s engine has one of the lowest horsepower ratings in the class. Many critics say it’s powerful enough for the 500 to scoot around town, but taking the underpowered hatchback on the freeway is a different story. Traveling at highway speeds, the 2012 Fiat 500 is easily overwhelmed by potholes and cross winds. The Fiat 500 Abarth, which is the performance model, is much faster, but test drivers say you may still find that it doesn’t thrive on the interstate, no matter how fast it goes. Inside, reviewers say the 2012 Fiat 500 has a very cramped second row, little cargo space, its fair share of cheap plastics and confusing voice-activated controls.

The 2012 Fiat 500 does have some perks, though. One is affordability. The 500 costs thousands less than the base Mini Hardtop, which is the 500’s main competitor. The Fiat 500’s cargo area won’t fit more than a few grocery bags, but the available space is commendable for the car’s small size.

Little engine power, a small cabin and modest cargo space can be deal breakers for shoppers looking for a small hatchback, but those who need a small car for driving to work or enough cargo space for a quick run to the grocery store should be satisfied.

Other Cars to Consider

The Mini Hardtop is a good choice if you want a small, retro hatchback that’s faster and more agile than the Fiat 500. But keep in mind that there are two areas where the Fiat 500 beats the Mini Hardtop: cargo space and price. The Fiat 500 has more cargo space and is several thousand dollars less than the base Mini Hardtop. Test drivers say you can’t go wrong with the Mini Hardtop, and highly recommend the Hardtop S and John Cooper Works models if you’re shopping for two of the fastest and most nimble hatchbacks on the market.

If you need more space than the Mini Hardtop and Fiat 500 offer, check out the Volkswagen Golf. This hatchback is available with two or four doors, and regardless of the body style you choose, you’ll be impressed with the amount of rear passenger space it has. Unlike the Fiat 500, there are three rear seats, and there’s enough space for adults to sit comfortably. Choosing the Golf also means that you don’t have to sacrifice performance. In that category, it’s considered one of the best small cars in the class.

Details: Fiat 500

There are five models in the Fiat 500 lineup. The base Fiat 500 comes in three trims: Pop, Sport and Lounge. The 500c, which is the convertible model, is available in Pop and Lounge trims. There is also a Gucci model, which offers a hardtop or convertible roof. The 500 is also available in a Pink Ribbon edition for breast cancer awareness. Finally, the Fiat 500 Abarth is the performance model, and has a standard hardtop and an optional convertible roof.

See the full list of 2012 Fiat 500 specifications.

  • "But Fiat has built a legitimate Mini alternative for thousands less, and shoppers willing to trade absolute utility for creative styling and driving fun should give the car a try. For a brand looking to get back into a market it left 27 years ago, that could signal as good a start as any." -- Cars.com
  • "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

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