Fiat and its 500 hatchback returned to the U.S. in the 2012 model year. With this resurrection came the introduction of the peppy Abarth model too, which gave buyers a performance-oriented version to power around town in.

There are a number of minor tweaks for 2016, but the big change this year is the introduction of an Abart version of the 500c convertible.

Pricing and Equipment

The 2016 Fiat 500 comes in a slew of trim levels, none of which are especially well-equipped. The base trim is the Pop, and it starts at just $16,995. For this low base price, the 2016 Fiat 500 Pop includes:

  • 15-inch steel wheels
  • Power windows and door locks
  • Power, heated mirrors
  • 7-inch display

The 500 comes in six additional trim levels to fit various needs, including the $17,745 Easy trim, the $17,900 Sport trim, the $19,700 Turbo trim, the $20,395 Lounge and 1957 Edition trims, and the range-topping $22,575 Abarth trim.

Performance Pros

FIAT 500

The Abarth model is the liveliest of the bunch, and performs like a true hot hatchback should. Surprisingly, the 500’s electric power steering feels like an unassisted steering system from years past.

  • The Abarth's 160-horsepower are wonderful, and its exhaust note is attention-grabbing.
  • Surprisingly heavy electric power steering delivers great feel.
  • Suspension in the Abarth model is tight and limits body roll nicely.

Performance Cons

Rated at just 101 horsepower, the 500's base engine is terribly underpowered and borders on scary when trying to pass on back roads. And with the manual transmission, long clutch travel with a high grab point doesn’t work well with the 500’s limited foot room.

Interior Pros

  • The front seats are relatively spacious, with enough room for most drivers and passengers.
  • Limited noise reduction allows the Abarth's pleasing exhaust note to travel through the cabin.

Interior Cons

The cabin is very cramped, even for a subcompact hatchback:

  • Headroom is limited for taller adults.
  • The cabin also admits noise that isn't as pleasant as the Abarth's exhaust note.
  • The tiny trunk can barely haul a few days' worth of groceries.
  • It requires some contortions to get an adult in the rear seats.

The Most Pleasant Surprise

The 2016 500’s interior, despite its flaws, is actually very stylish. There's plenty of color to liven up the mood, and the unique shapes satisfy the eye.

The Least Pleasant Surprise

We didn’t expect much in terms of cargo room, but only 9.5 cubic feet with the seats up is almost ridiculous. Sure, you can drop the seats and get up to 30 cubic feet, but that doesn’t work when you’re hauling around the family or friends.

The Bottom Line

FIAT 500 Center console

The 500 is great for buyers looking for a small car to zip around town in and get great gas mileage. Its Abarth model also checks most boxes for folks looking for a hot hatchback. However, with such cramped rear seats and limited cargo room, this is not a model that works for growing families.