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FIAT 500 Review

The 2015 FIAT 500 ranks 13 out of 17 Affordable Subcompact 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 2015 FIAT 500 is ranked:

Critics find the 2015 Fiat 500's engine capabilities and interior styling lacking, but they enjoy the energetic performance of the higher-trim 500 Abarth.

The 2015 Fiat 500’s standard four-cylinder engine provides acceptable power around town but is underpowered on the highway, according to reviewers, who prefer the 500 Turbo and 500 Abarth models, which each come with turbocharged engines. Test drivers say the 500 Turbo's engine displays some initial turbo lag but delivers swift acceleration, and they praise the 500 Abarth for its substantial power. The base 500 gets an EPA-estimated 31/40 mpg city/highway, which is good for a subcompact car. The 2015 Fiat 500 also pleases reviewers with its good maneuverability in the city, though many note that its high center of gravity and dull steering result in ponderous handling on winding roads.

Some reviewers find that the 2015 Fiat 500 provides a uniquely designed interior that uses better-than-expected materials, but other critics say that the interior feels cheap. The 500’s climate and audio controls are also confusing, according to test drivers. They speak better of the 500's generous front-seat passenger space. The back seat, they say, is tight and provides limited room for cargo. Optional features include satellite radio, Alpine or Beats audio systems, automatic climate control, rear parking sensors, a sunroof and a TomTom navigation system.

  • "By now, everyone knows the FIAT 500 as a small car that is primarily remembered for its unique looks and risqué television ads. The 2015 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 2015 Fiat 500 isn't the most practical or logical choice for an economy car. But what do you expect from something Italian? If you're shopping for a personable small car, the 500 is worth a look." -- Edmunds
  • "Smaller than the Mini Cooper and Ford Fiesta, the 500's primary attraction are its playful attitude, impressive list of colors and features, attractive price and good fuel economy." -- Kelley Blue Book 
  • "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." -- Consumer Guide (2013)

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Other Cars to Consider

The Mini Cooper gets great fuel economy for the class, and test drivers report that it offers nimble handling and powerful turbocharged engine options. The Mini Hardtop also offers a bit more overall cargo space, and critics love its high-quality interior materials.

The Chevrolet Sonic is available with a long list of available features, and reviewers are pleased with its spacious rear seats and large trunk. The Sonic also earns praise for its poised handling and responsive, optional turbocharged engine.

Compare the 500, Cooper and Sonic »

Details: 2015 Fiat 500

The 2015 Fiat 500 seats four and has front-wheel drive. A 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine and five-speed manual transmission are standard, and a six-speed automatic is optional. The Fiat 500 is available as a three-door hatchback or a convertible (500c), and comes in Pop, Sport, Lounge, Turbo and Abarth trims. The 500 gets a few updates for 2015, but has not been fully redesigned since it was introduced for the 2012 model year. As a result, this overview uses applicable research and reviews from 2012 through the current model year.

See 2015 Fiat 500 specs »

Review Last Updated: 8/28/15

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