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2012 FIAT 500View 2017 Model Price, Photos, Reviews & Features

2012 FIAT 500 Exterior

2012 FIAT 500 Overview (See Available Styles)

The 2012 FIAT 500 heads over to American shores for the first time this year, and this stylish mini-hatchback looks to carve out a place for itself in car buyer's hearts.

After years of expanding the waistlines on their cars, demand is shifting (especially among younger buyers) to smaller, more fuel efficient cars and the 500 making the move over from Europe at this time makes a lot of sense. Invariably, the FIAT 500 will be compared to another tiny import from across the pond, the MINI Cooper, which will also be the 500’s direct competition. The 500 features similar retro styling but appears to sit much higher than the MINI does due to its shorter length and more upright stance. (Scroll down for details on the high-performance FIAT 500 Abarth)

Under the hood of the 500 sits a 101-horsepower, 1.4-liter four-cylinder that outputs 98 pounds-feet of torque, while a five-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission handles the gear changes. While 101-horsepower may not seem like much, when you take into account the 500’s curb weight of under 2,500 pounds, it’s more than enough power to get the 500 wherever it needs to go even at highway speeds. Fuel economy checks in at a brisk 30 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway with the manual, and 27 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway with the automatic.

The interior of the 500 has a unique look, with a body colored large trim piece that covers much of the dash being the highlight. Behind the steering wheel is a large circular pod that houses the speedometer and tachometer as well as an information display. FIAT has divided the 500 into three available trim levels: Pop, Sport, and Lounge. The Pop comes with standard features like power windows and locks, remote entry, air conditioning, and a stereo with MP3 jack.  Sport and Lounge trims add on USB/iPod connectivity with a Bose stereo, leather-wrapped, three-spoke steering wheel, and better seating fabric.  The Lounge gets automatic climate control and a glass roof as well.

Standard safety features on the 500 include seven airbags including a driver’s knee airbag, electronic stability system, antilock brakes, and active head restraints.

After a 28 year hiatus, FIAT is back and hoping that the 2012 FIAT 500 can make its return a successful one.  Keep an eye out for convertible versions of the 500 on the horizon.

FIAT 500 Abarth

This high-performance variant takes the 500 and gives it plenty of extra bite, transforming it from a cute car-around-town into a scowling performance hatchback. Under the hood you'll find a more powerful, 160-horsepower, turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder that outputs 170 pounds-feet of torque.

Mechanical changes include a more robust five-speed manual, upgraded suspension, and the ability to partially turn off the electronic stability system for more aggressive driving.

There are also a few exterior changes that distinguish the Abarth from it's tamer relative, such as dual tailpipes, functional air ducts in the bumper that route air to the intercoolers, a rear spoiler, and larger wheels.

EPA Fuel Economy

  • City: 28 - 30 MPG
  • Highway: 34 - 38 MPG

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Vehicle crash and safety data is provided by NHTSA, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The NHTSA testing was established by Congress to reduce highway deaths and injuries. Read an article on the current NHTSA crash test program.

Safety Rating

  • Overall Safety: ***
  • Frontal Crash: ****
  • Side Crash: ** - ***

Consumer Reviews Summary

Overall Rating:

60 of 71 (84%) consumers said they would recommend this vehicle to a friend.

Read FIAT 500 Consumer Reviews