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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 Interior

Auto writers report that the 2014 Fiat 500’s interior is made with hard plastics, but they point out that’s typical of many cars in the class. FIAT’s hallmark Italian styling and craftsmanship makes up for the budget materials, they add. The front seats have ample room but the rear seats are cramped and lack head- and legroom, they say. Reviewers find the dashboard controls generally easy to use and reach, though critics point out that using voice commands to control external media devices like an iPod can be difficult. Cargo space is limited with all seats in use, but there is a useful amount of storage with the rear seats folded, they add.

  • "The interior style lives up to the promise of the quirky but fashionable exterior, and we found the materials, build quality and seat comfort impressive for a car with a starting price around $17,000." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "As for interior quality, the Fiat is not quite up to the Mini's level. There are more hard surfaces, but compared to other cars in its modest price range, they are pleasingly textured and generally higher in quality." -- Edmunds (2013)
  • "Most materials are hollow plastic, which reflects the car's economy-oriented roots. A large plastic panel extends across the entire face of the dashboard and is painted to match the exterior color. We think it adds a sporty vibe to the cabin, but some buyers might find it a bit too ostentatious." -- Consumer Guide (2013)
  • "Inventive styling remains a hallmark of the car, with enough creativity to help you overlook stretches of old-school, subcompact-grade materials." -- Cars.com (2013)

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Seating

The Fiat 500 seats four and comes with cloth bucket seats, a tilt steering column and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Leather-trimmed seats are available. Test drivers say that the 500’s cockpit is surprisingly spacious with plenty of room for tall drivers. Rear seats are predictably tight, they say, adding that headroom is limited due to the sloping roofline and even further compromised if you opt for the sunroof. Several critics point out that rear visibility is poor, particularly in convertible models when the top is raised.

  • "The Fiat 500 is roomier up front than you might expect, and just as tight in back as it looks." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Though the Fiat 500 is one of the smallest cars sold in the United States, its high-mounted front seats allow for an impressive amount of legroom even for tall drivers. Sadly, however, those same tall drivers will find their heads grazing the headliner should they get a car with the available sunroof.” -- Edmunds (2013)
  • "Visibility over the driver's left shoulder is almost completely blocked by the roof pillars and the headrest. The convertible's top unveils an expansive opening that extends well forward. However, the rear window is smaller than the hatchback's.” -- Consumer Guide (2013)
  • "The rear seats are tiny, providing headroom for short adults up to about five-foot, five-inches. Taller passengers will ride with their necks bent because there's not enough legroom to slouch." -- Autoblog (2012)
  • "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 (2012)

Interior Features

The Fiat 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 Beats premium audio system and touch-screen navigation.

While the automotive press agrees that climate and audio controls are generally intuitive, they say that using voice commands to control external media devices like an iPod can be difficult. The premium Beats audio system is powerful enough to drown out road noise, but the sound quality is average, they note. 

See the full 2014 Fiat 500 features and specs »

  • "The climate controls have a more-traditional layout, though we vastly prefer rotary knobs to the push-button arrangement found here." -- Consumer Guide (2013)
  • "It also has a more straightforward control layout than the form-over-function Mini. However, the available ‘Blue & Me’ voice-activated iPod control is practically unusable, leaving you to use the standard auxiliary jack." -- Edmunds (2013)
  • "A new, optional Beats stereo thumps out clear enough sound to overcome road and wind noise, but editors agreed the bass underwhelmed despite a trunk-mounted subwoofer." -- Cars.com (2013)
  • "On the other hand, the little Fiat's interior design is attractive, the control layout doesn't require consultations with the owner's manual, and of course, its style is almost off the charts." -- Car and Driver (2012)

Cargo

The hardtop Fiat 500 has 9.5 cubic feet of cargo space. With the rear seats folded, cargo space increases to 30.1 cubic feet. Convertible models have 5.4 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats. While test drivers agree that the cargo area is limited to a few grocery bags with all seats in use, several are impressed by the amount of space available with the rear seats folded, saying there’s enough room for a weekend getaway.

  • "Lower the backseat in the hatchback and although the load floor isn't completely flat, you'll have 30.2 cubic feet of space available, or about 25 percent more than you'll get in a Cooper hatchback." -- Edmunds (2013)
  • “The tiny backseat sits ahead of an afterthought of a cargo area." -- Cars.com (2013)
  • "The Fiat's cargo capacity was put to the test again when another driver headed to Lansing, Michigan, for Christmas dinner. He folded down the rear seats before stuffing the cargo area with two suitcases, a couple of backpacks, a clutch of gifts, and an antipasto platter. Then he and a fellow six-plus-footer hopped in front for the drive to grandma's house." -- Automobile Magazine (2012)
  • "Trunk space with the back seats in place is 9.5 cubic feet -- the Mazda2 has 13.3 -- enough for a few bags of groceries, and maybe a gym bag, but that's it." -- Motor Trend (2012)
Review Last Updated: 5/12/14

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