- Five trim levels, including a Turbo and the high-performance Abarth
- Available as a coupe or convertible (500c, covered separately)
- Up to 40 mpg highway
The subcompact 2014 Fiat 500 is a stylish two-door that is perfectly suited for the urban environment. It is also offered as a convertible, the 500c, which is covered separately on this site.
Now in its third year on American shores, the 500’s lineup has expanded and includes five trim levels: Pop, Sport, Lounge, Turbo, and the high-performance Abarth. The Turbo trim debuted in 2013 and bridges the gap between the tamer 500 models and the legitimately crazy Abarth, getting a more powerful turbocharged engine to go along with a sport suspension and some styling tweaks.
The 500’s styling is most often referred to as “cute” due to its stubby profile and small size. Up front are circular headlamps that flank a slim grille highlighted by the prominent FIAT logo in the center. There’s more than a little old-school VW Beetle in the 500’s design. Fog lights, a power sunroof, and a large glass roof which lets in extra sunshine are all optional.
Under the hood, there are three engine options. The base engine, found in Pop, Sport, and Lounge models is a 101-horsepower, 1.4-liter four-cylinder that is mated to a five-speed manual or automatic transmission. Turbo models feature a 135-horsepower, turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder that is mated to a five-speed manual. The third engine is found in the 500 Abarth, a 160-horsepower, turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder that produces 170 pounds-feet of torque and is mated to a heavy-duty five-speed manual. The Abarth also gets its own exhaust tuning, which means that the small in stature two-door comes with a big exhaust note. Fuel economy ratings are 31 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway for 500s with the base engine, while Turbo models 28/34 mpg/highway
Inside, the 500 is just as stylish as it is on the outside. The front is dominated by a large body-colored plastic trim piece that surrounds the instrument panel and covers much of the passenger side of the dash. There are technically four seats in the 500 but we wouldn’t recommend putting people you like in the backseat for extended trips. Standard features include remote keyless entry, cruise control, air conditioning, Bluetooth connectivity, and a USB/iPod input. Automatic temperature control and a Beats By Dre audio system are optional.
Safety might be a concern for those buying a smaller car, but fear not: the Fiat 500 won an IIHS Top Safety Pick award for its performance in crash tests. Standard safety features include seven airbags, antilock brakes, electronic stability system, and active front head restraints.