Fiat 500 Research & Reviews

Overview & Reviews

Average Score

3.88/5 Average
178 Total Reviews
Model Overview:

Something of an Italian answer to the VW Beetle, the original Fiat 500 was produced from 1957 through 1975 and featured a rear-mounted, air-cooled engine of just 500cc (a half-liter) in size. Among the 500's (or Cinquecento's) lovable traits were its diminutive yet space-efficient body that made maneuvering in crowded European cities a snap, an available large fold-back canvas sunroof and a small appetite for fuel.

Arriving someĀ  50 years after the introduction of the original, today's Fiat 500 boasts many of the traits that made its forebear so beloved. The contemporary Fiat 500 has cute retro styling along with a surprisingly roomy cabin for its small footprint. Marking Fiat's return to the United States after a 27-year hiatus, the 500 is something of a United Nations approach to car building, as this Italian car is built at a Fiat-owned Chrysler plant located in Mexico. Though that may put long-term reliability into question, what we do know is that this little car's personality fits its cheeky looks.

Current Fiat 500
The Fiat 500 is available in both coupe and convertible body styles. The convertible, though, is actually more like a coupe, with a huge, roll-back cloth sunroof.

The standard 500 comes with a 1.4-liter 101-horsepower four-cylinder matched to either a five-speed manual or six-speed automatic. As the Fiat 500 weighs just 2,350 pounds -- a few hundred less than a base Mini Cooper -- performance is actually fairly peppy.

The Fiat 500 Turbo and GQ Edition gain a turbocharged version of the 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine that generates 135 hp and 150 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed manual is the only transmission available. Those looking for the spiciest meatball should consider the 500 Abarth. With 160 hp and 170 lb-ft of torque, its turbocharged 1.4-liter four sends the Abarth to 60 mph in a quick 7.1 seconds. The five-speed manual is the sole transmission offering here.

The standard Fiat 500 coupe comes in Pop, Sport, Lounge, Turbo and Abarth trim levels, while the convertible comes in the Pop, Lounge and Abarth variants. Standard feature highlights for the base Pop trim include full power accessories, air-conditioning, cruise control, a tilt-only steering wheel, a height-adjustable driver seat and a six-speaker sound system. The luxury-themed Lounge adds 15-inch alloy wheels, exterior chrome accents, foglamps, a fixed glass roof (hatchback only), upgraded cloth upholstery, Bluetooth phone connectivity and an iPod/USB audio interface. The Sport, Turbo and Abarth models upgrade with features that are mainly performance-related. Two special-edition models, the GQ and the 1957, were introduced this year, offering mainly cosmetic flourishes.

In reviews, we've been impressed by the 500's smooth and willing engines and slick-shifting manual transmission. Though the steering feel is somewhat numb, the 500, especially the Sport version, provides agile handling along with a compliant ride quality, besting the Mini Cooper in the latter respect. The Abarth is a different animal entirely -- a 500 with an attitude by way of its spirited acceleration, snorting exhaust and athletic handling. This little dynamo should have strong appeal to enthusiasts, as it provides massive driving entertainment in a tiny package.

Though the 500 is 6 inches shorter in length and 2 inches narrower than its chief rival, the Mini Cooper, the Fiat 500 is substantially taller (by 4 inches). That translates into better outward visibility and respectable leg- and headroom, especially for rear seat passengers. The interior is cheerful-looking, especially when optioned with the two-tone coloring, and the controls are easy to operate. Despite the Fiat 500's small size, seating comfort is surprisingly respectable for drivers of all sizes, though tall folks should avoid the sunroof, as it significantly reduces headroom.

Used Fiat 500 Models
The current-generation Fiat 500 was introduced in 2012. Besides the Turbo and Abarth convertibles being unavailable that first year, changes since then have mostly been limited to shuffling of trim level content. The 1957 and GQ special edition models debuted in 2014.

User Reviews:

Showing 1 through 10 of 178.00
  • Clutch Recall - 2013 Fiat 500
    By -

    I purchased my fiat in 2013 and it had no problems for a while. At 50,000 miles everything changed. My clutch was faulty and despite the recall, fiat found loopholes in the warranty and I was out $1,500. Now every 50,000 miles my clutch breaks and I owe about $1,600 just to fix the clutch. Do NOT buy this car. Do NOT trust fiat. Please take it from me when I honestly write how terrible my experience has been. Be warned.

  • Fiat usa is not customer friendly! - 2015 Fiat 500
    By -

    I bought my 2015 fiat 500 pop five months ago, thats when my troubles started... at the first rain I found out that my car has a leak, car did not have even 500 miles when I took it to get serviced, in staid of giving me a new car they repaired it, I thought I was buying a new car, in staid I have a new repaired car, and this is only the beginning.... stereo problem, done the software update no changes, had the engine check light that went on, the heater takes 20 MIN to defog at full power, driver seat latch sticks and now another leak. They are great little cars and fun to drive when they work. Till this moment Fiat USA and the dealership is still giving me the turn around.

  • Originally Excited, Now Regretting Purchase - 2012 Fiat 500
    By -

    2012 Fiat: 43,208 miles - Automatic Trans. Purchased July/August 2014 from a seedy local dealership whom cant be held accountable for this "Lemon". It drives GREAT, when its working but I live in the U.P. of Michigan. Hard winters are common and the car doesnt have much clearance (which I knew purchasing the car and wasnt worried). However, the digital displays do not work after 20 degrees (and in the winter that is normally -20 degrees). 25 minutes is usually how long i had to run the car to warm up the car enough for the digital displays to work properly (which wouldnt be bad except the accurate speedometer is digital). When I first logged on to their online service/maintenance report- I had seen that it was in for electrical work (I believe) twice, and did not think anything of it at the time. However, around Thanksgiving of that same year I had to send my car to the car dealership in Traverse City for work to be done. I did not get my car back until late December 2015 because the parts were out of stock. The customer service department was very nice about the delay, and towing to the customer service department was paid by the Fiat brand because it was under warranty (I paid for bridge tolls $50.00). I had to make arrangements to get a ride to Traverse City to pick up my car because they were going to charge me to bring it back. The dealership in this area that sold me the car, Fernelius Hyundai, would not help me in the slightest besides giving me a lender car for three days around Thanksgiving- they said it was my problem and I should be thankful for their generosity. When I received my car it worked fine, but then in February of 2015 the same thing happened again. I received free towing to Traverse City, and I had to pay bridge tolls again. This time customer service in Traverse City said they couldnt find the problem, but it seemed to be working fine (my theory was that since it is warmer in Traverse City they didnt have the same issue). Now it is January 2016, we had a warmer than normal winter. AGAIN, I have the same problem with my Fiat. I again will have to send it down to Traverse City to get it worked on, however, I dont believe it will fall under the 4 year warranty/50,000 miles. This means I will probably have to pay for the towing and bridge tolls out of pocket. I cannot in good mind sell my car. I believe Fernelius Hyundai knew of these problems. I no longer have access to the previous service records on my car that I can tell. I believe I have no protection in this but want to try. I cant believe there isnt a recall on my 2012 Fiat after having the same problem YEARLY.

  • Fiat USA is NOT customer friendly! - 2015 Fiat 500
    By -

    I bought my Fiat 1 year ago. I love the little car! But Fiat is not customer friendly. On 8/27/2015, my engine blew with 28,000 on the car. It took over a month to get it repaired and back to me. Three days later, I gave it back to the dealer, as it was not fixed. The 2nd engine blew. 3 months later, they gave me my car back. The upper management will not contact me. They continue to tell a CSR my options. 1/3 of my ownership has been in the shop, and they dont care. Buyers look elsewhere if you want support. My case number is 28015096.

  • Fiat USA is NOT customer friendly! - 2015 Fiat 500
    By -

    I bought my Fiat 1 year ago. I love the little car! But Fiat is not customer friendly. On 8/27/2015, my engine blew with 28,000 on the car. It took over a month to get it repaired and back to me. Three days later, I gave it back to the dealer, as it was not fixed. The 2nd engine blew. 3 months later, they gave me my car back. The upper management will not contact me. They continue to tell a CSR my options. 1/3 of my ownership has been in the shop, and they dont care. Buyers look elsewhere if you want support. My case number is 28015096.

  • Got a love it - 2012 Fiat 500
    By -

    Had it for almost 4 years now with little to no problems. Hand rest broke had it taken care off. Use it mostly for a work commute and driving around the city. So far so good I enjoy it and best of all almost paid off. Thinking can get another 4 years out of it.

  • Great car with a lot of small issues - 2012 Fiat 500
    By -

    Would be a great car if the interior quality was a little better, if you get the convertible then be aware that the light color headliner suffers from discoloration in the rear and that Fiat and the dealers will not correct the issue, instead blaming it on dust that gets on the interior. You will be going to the shop for small things and they will add up over time.

  • Clutch broke at 53,000km - 2012 Fiat 500
    By -

    Clutch broke at 53,000km, 4 months after the end of 3 year warranty. Cost of repair was CAD 1,800. Called Fiat Canada customer support, they did not want to reimburse.

  • The City car - 2012 Fiat 500
    By -

    This car was designed to be in a city. The city mpg was always over 22 and the highway went as high as 40. Highway driving was fine with the acceleration of the manual gearbox allowing me to merge into traffic going 60+ mph. I was comfortable driving at 72 mph.Most of my driving was in the Boston area and traversing the river on a high bridge gave me no difficulty in a cross wind. The back seat was occasional used (sometime by me) by adults with no difficulty as long as the passenger seat was move forward a little. With the back seat folded down and access through the hatchback made this a useful vehicle. I always got a lot of attention in a parking lot. The looks were attractive to lots of people and the would ask me about the issues I described above. Overall, a good, reliable, stylish car.

  • I Hate to Say It, But... - 2012 Fiat 500
    By -

    As much as I love it, its got to go. Bought used with about 40K miles on it. Its fun to drive, gets great mileage, and I had no complaints until I went to have the oil changed and the mechanic told me there were metal particles in the oil, and I shouldnt be driving it. I bought it from CarMax, who have been wonderful about dealing with this: ended up having to replace the engine (no cost to me), but when the car came back after being gone for a month, the antennae had been broken off (and not replaced) and one of my hubcaps was missing (again, CarMax is being great about repair/replacement). Came out a week ago to drive to church, and the drivers side door handle came off in my hand. Not a big thing, but a) I live in Wisconsin, where it gets pretty cold, and it was very temperate the night before-not like it was well below freezing and therefore brittle, and b) This car doesnt even have 50,000 miles on it yet. Im now wondering "what next" every time I get in the car to drive it. It makes me sad, because Ive really loved this car. Too bad Fiat cant make something more reliable...

Fiat 500 Reviews By Year:
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