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.

Best Value

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

Performance

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.

Style

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.