The 2018 Fiat 500 packs a much bigger personality than its diminutive size might suggest. The Fiat is about bold style and, despite being about a foot shorter than a two-door Mini, it easily stands out among the sea of crossovers, SUVs, and pickups.
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2018 FIAT 500 Overview
What's New for 2018
All 2018 Fiat 500 models come standard with a 1.4-liter turbocharged engine that delivers 135 horsepower (34 more than what came standard on the outgoing model). The Pop and Lounge trims now come standard with an upgraded suspension system and brakes, a spoiler, and body colored trim pieces. A rearview camera is also standard per federal mandate.
Choosing Your Fiat 500
The 2018 Fiat 500 sees a significant boost in power as the defunct 101-hp engine is no longer available and in its place is a turbocharged four-cylinder that develops 135 hp and 150 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed manual transmission is standard while a six-speed automatic is available for $995, and power is delivered through the front wheels. The Abarth trim comes with an uprated version of the 1.4-liter engine that generates 160 hp and 183 lb-ft of torque. It's also available with the manual and automatic transmissions.
The newly standard power comes at the expense of fuel economy. With either engine, the row-it-yourself transmission achieves an EPA-estimated 28 miles per gallon city, 33 mpg highway, and 30 combined, which is slightly better than the 24/32/27 mpg (city/highway/combined) that's achieved with the automatic transmission.
The Fiat 500 is available in base Pop, mid-level Lounge, and the sporty Abarth performance version. All models are available as either a hatchback or a Cabrio (convertible).
The 2018 Fiat 500 has charm but its sub-par fuel economy and small interior proportions keep it far away from mainstream competitors. For those less bothered by those attributes, the Pop trim brings all of the European flair and quirkiness one would expect from the Italian-based manufacturer.
2018 FIAT 500 Review
Since its relaunch in 2012 as a quirky, attention-grabbing hatchback, the FIAT 500 hasn’t seen many changes. While its looks kept it in people’s hearts for several years, its appeal is fading. Can the 2018 FIAT 500 still hold its weight in a class that’s becoming more advanced every year? Keep reading to find out.
There's not much room in the tiny 2018 FIAT 500 for features, but the base Pop trim does a good job of sprinkling in those most young buyers want without a high price. Some of its key features include a seven-inch digital instrument cluster, a five-inch touchscreen, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, Bluetooth connectivity, and a USB port.
There's room for growth, though, so we also recommend going with the Navigation and Satellite Package and the Popular Equipment Package to get the latest amenities the 500 offers without paying too much.
- Model: 2018 FIAT 500 Pop Hatchback
- Engine: 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder
- Output: 135 hp / 150 lb-ft
- Transmission: Six-speed automatic
- Drivetrain: Front-wheel drive
- Fuel Economy: 24 City / 32 Hwy
- Options: Navigation and Satellite Package ($695, GPS navigation, SiriusXM radio with one-year subscription), Popular Equipment Package ($495; automatic climate control, auto-dimming rearview mirrors with microphone), six-speed automatic transmission ($995)
- Base Price: $17,490 (including a $1,245 destination fee)
- Best Value Price: $19,675
The new standard turbocharged engine delivers a little more punch than the wheezy, old base engine. Real attitude comes with the Abarth model, which boasts 160 horsepower and a throaty exhaust that’s not afraid to announce itself with the occasional crackle.
While the base 1.4-liter engine is more potent than previous year’s base power plants, it's still underpowered, leading to frustration when getting up to highway speeds. Plus, the standard five-speed manual transmission is sloppy and its throws are too long, which is irritating in stop-and-go traffic.
The ride is also nothing to write home about – unless you want to write about needing your liver repositioned because of all the bouncing around. And there's no payoff in handling for all this bounciness either.
The FIAT 500 still inspires the occasional smile from a passerby or two as its quirky style continues to attract attention. And the light changes over the years have kept this classic shape at least a bit modern. Especially endearing are the sporty touches the Abarth adds, taking this quirky hatchback up a notch and getting the performance enthusiasts’ attention too.
Inside, the quirky looks continue, but the 500’s cabin shows its age with outdated styling and tech. It's also impossibly small, so the rear seats are mostly just for show. And with 9.5 cubic feet of trunk space – 5.4 cubes in convertible models – we don't imaging it inspiring many road trips.
The Best and Worst Things
The 500’s funky looks are still valid to this day and fit younger personalities well. Add in the touch of performance from the Abarth model, and you have a hatchback that loves attention.
The tiny cabin is useless for more than two people, and its dated features make this hatchback feel like it’s living about five years behind every other car on the market. It’s clear that FIAT has no plans to change this strategy either.
Right For? Wrong For?
The FIAT 500 is perfect for the empty-nester or young, single, 20-something who loves conversation pieces.
If you plan to use the rear seat for anything other than tossing your groceries in – because they won't fit in the trunk – then you may want to cruise past that FIAT dealership.
The Bottom Line
The 2018 FIAT 500 is a quirky hatchback that screams “look at me!” It craves attention, but its eye-grabbing looks are aging. If you’re considering the 500 for anything other than as a conversation starter, then you may want to consider something larger and more modern, like the Honda Fit or Ford Fiesta.