2012 Fiat 500 Interior
While the 2012 Fiat 500’s interior is criticized for cheap materials, hard-to-use voice controls, cramped seating and skimpy cargo space, reviewers can’t deny that the 500’s interior is quirky and cute. They say the cabin’s colorful, retro design makes it a standout in the class.
- "Inside, the Italian flair remains front and center. The 500 greets occupants with a fun, bright, happy and functional cabin." -- Autoblog
- "… demerits for blind spots in the rear quarters, gauges that require considerable practice to read quickly, and seat adjustments that some find frustrating." -- Car and Driver (Fiat 500 Sport)
Like the Mini Hardtop, the Fiat 500 seats four and has two rear seats that are too tight for adults and are best-suited for groceries, cargo and kids. Reviewer opinions on the front seats are mixed. Some reviewers say the front seats are comfortable and that their upright position makes the Fiat 500 feel bigger than it really is. But other reviewers complain that the driver and front passenger seats, particularly in the Sport model, don’t have enough support. They also mention that there isn’t enough leg space, there isn’t enough headroom in the convertible and that it can be difficult to find a comfortable driving position because the steering wheel doesn’t telescope.
- "Up front, the 500 does a good job of not feeling tiny, thanks to the chair-high seats, fairly big windows, and low dash." -- Automobile Magazine
- "The seats are comfortable, but we would appreciate some additional bolstering for those in the Sport model." -- Consumer Guide (on the front seats)
- "I tried the back seat and found it tight for a 6-ft. 1-in. adult, my head grazed the roof and my knees were tight against the front seat. Fine for children and short trips for your adult friends. Or long trips for your short friends." -- Road and Track
Many reviewers like the 500’s retro, colorful interior, but several dislike the cabin’s cheap plastics, though that isn’t surprising for a hatchback in this price range. Other reviewers have a lot of complaints with the entertainment system. Blue & Me is the standard voice-activated system that makes phone calls and music selections, but reviewers say the voice controls are hard to use. Another reviewer annoyance is that while the stereo plays music on an iPod via a USB port, you can’t sort through files by artist or song. You can only skip from one audio file to the next.
Another test driver grievance is the optional, portable TomTom navigation system. One test driver mentions that it’s not as easy to use as the Garmin units Chrysler uses in some of its vehicles.
Standard on the Fiat 500 are a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio and cruise controls, Bluetooth, a USB port and an auxiliary input jack. Optional features include satellite radio and a Bose stereo that many test drivers aren’t impressed with because the sound quality isn’t great.
- "Cabin materials don't set any new standards for a sub-$20,000 car, but the 500's appealing trim pieces lend a fresh, avant-garde flavor that draws attention away from some cheaper plastics." -- Cars.com
- "Fiat boasts that its ‘Blue & Me’ system has the ability to control your Bluetooth-enabled phone and iPod using voice controls. ‘Wow, that's just like Ford's Sync,’ you might think. Unfortunately, while the Bluetooth phone controls are passable, the iPod system is a joke." -- Edmunds
- "And the cupholders seem designed to fit a demitasse of espresso instead of a venti Frappuccino -- forget about cramming a Big Gulp in there." -- Motor Trend
- "The optional Bose audio system sounds just okay - better than the base system, presumably - and we couldn't navigate via artist or song title while using the USB interface; we just skipped to the next song." -- Kelley Blue Book
- "The available navigation system is a standalone TomTom-brand unit. It's not as intuitive as the Garmin-brand units found in other Chrysler Group vehicles." -- Consumer Guide
Don’t plan on packing a lot of shopping bags into the Fiat 500’s trunk. If two people sit in the back row, there’s 9.5 cubic feet available in the base 500 and 500 Abarth. With the rear seats folded, that cargo space increases to 30.1 cubic feet. The 500c has much less cargo space when there are two rear passengers: 5.4 cubic feet.
- "The backseat and trunk area, the latter with a smallish 9.5 cubic feet, aren’t good for much more than groceries, and occasional hapless passengers." -- Cars.com