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.
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:
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
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.