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  • James Flammang
    Contributing Editor - October 28, 2015

    2016 FIAT 500 OVERVIEW

    Evolved from a lilliputian, Italian-built model that captured the heart of many a European-car devotee back in the late 1950s, the Fiat 500 might be dubbed a mini-size hatchback with Italian flavor.

    Fiat Chrysler revived the Fiat 500 for 2012, giving it retro-exotic looks and an abundance of equipment choices. Not many cars in this class can make those two claims. With six trim levels to choose from, configuring the 500 to meet your needs and desires should be a snap, so long as a roomy backseat isn't essential. Both Coupe and Cabrio (sliding fabric roof) body styles are available.

    What's New for 2016

    New standard features include Uconnect 5.0 with a 5-inch touchscreen radio, Bluetooth connectivity, and integrated voice command. A new Easy trim level has joined the lineup, focusing on personalization options. New wheel and body-color choices are available.

    A reworked Fiat 500, longer and wider, is expected to arrive soon.

    FIAT 500

    Choosing Your FIAT 500

    The Fiat 500 starts out with a 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 101 horsepower and mated to a five-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. A turbocharged version makes 135 horsepower in the Turbo edition, and 160 horsepower in the Abarth.

    The Fiat 500 is available in six trim levels:


    Powered by the 1.4-liter engine, the base model carries all the expected equipment for this minicar class, including air conditioning and power windows. It also offers a few surprises, such as seven airbags, standard heated power mirrors, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio/cruise controls, six-speaker sound, plus Bluetooth phone and streaming audio with voice command. Steel wheels hold 15-inch tires.


    Adds to Pop equipment a 7-inch color TFT display, Alpine 276-watt premium audio, premium cloth upholstery, and 15-inch aluminum wheels. Three Easy Collection option groups add satellite radio, an auto-dimming mirror, automatic temperate control, and more.


    Retains the base engine, but adds a sport-tuned suspension as well as more aggressive interior and exterior trim, including a bigger honeycomb grille and unique sill cladding. Also standard are 16-inch aluminum wheels, and a 276-watt six-speaker Alpine sound system. Leather seat upholstery is available.


    Equipped like the Pop in terms of performance, but carries an assortment of luxury upgrades including premium cloth upholstery, a fixed glass roof, automatic climate control, satellite radio, cast aluminum 15-inch wheels, and chrome exterior trim. An optional package adds leather seat upholstery with front seats heated.

    Fiat continues to offer a limited-production 1957 Edition, which commemorates the 500's first year of production with a choice of four period exterior colors (including two-tone treatment), badging, and wheel designs.


    Substitutes the 135-horsepower turbocharged engine, along with upgraded brakes, a liftgate-mounted spoiler, and specific interior trim. Spring rates, shock absorbers, and steering calibration are sport-tuned. The front fascia is pushed forward 2.7 inches, to accommodate the turbo engine.


    Drawing the most attention, the Abarth variant contains the delightful 160-horsepower turbocharged engine. In addition to aggressive styling touches throughout, Abarth gets the firmest suspension tuning in the Fiat 500 lineup. A specially-tuned six-speed automatic transmission can replace the standard five-speed manual gearbox. Standard wheels are 16-inch cast aluminum, but you can get three-season performance tires on 17-inch wheels.

    Sport, Lounge and Turbo models can add specific “Collection” option groups. Some of those Collections include a TomTom navigation system and/or a BeatsAudio studio-quality sound system with upgraded speakers

    Get your price on a FIAT 500 »

    Read our review on the FIAT 500 »

    CarsDirect Tip

    For many buyers, the standard 101-horsepower engine fails to deliver sufficient power, especially when driving the automatic transmission. For others, the nimble Fiat 500 is fun to drive regardless of engine, and the lower power may even be seen as a welcome challenge. Then again, the 160-horsepower Abarth is our favorite. A brief test drive should clearly tell you whether to upgrade to one of the turbocharged models.

    Fiat 500


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    FIAT 500 By Year

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