The FIAT brand stands for discovery through passionate self-expression. It encourages people to be in charge of their lives, live confidently and celebrate the smallest of things with infectious excitement. That philosophy is embodied by the North American introduction of the iconic Fiat 500 or Cinquecento – a small car that lives big. Italian at heart and rooted in a rich heritage, the 500 is synonymous with modern, simple design blending form, function and a pride of ownership that is genuine. Reminiscent of the original Cinquecento, the Fiat 500 and Fiat 500c (Cabrio) build on the vehicle’s global popularity. Since its initial launch in 2007, more than 1 million Fiat 500 vehicles have been sold in more than 100 countries around the world.
The 500’s agile handling and crisp-shifting five-speed manual make it fun to drive. The non-turbo engine and manual returned 33 mpg overall, but require frequent downshifts to keep up on hills and with traffic. A 135-hp turbo engine improves the experience, but the ride is choppy and the cabin noisy. Head room up front is good, but the steering wheel is too far away for some. The rear seats are very tight and difficult to access. The convertible has a clever top. The high-performance Abarth is quick, grips well, and has a sporty exhaust note. The 500e electric version is enjoyable, too. Reliability of the 500 has dropped to well below average. The 500 scored a poor in the IIHS small-overlap crash test.
The model’s unquestionable popularity is the result of the Fiat 500’s great ability to deliver unmatched personalization options with advanced solutions in terms of quality, fuel economy and passenger comfort. In addition to success on the sales front, the Fiat 500 has earned more than 80 international awards, including being named the 2008 European Car of the Year, 2009 World Car Design of the Year and Best New Engine of 2010 (Fiat MultiAir Turbo). In the U.S., the 2012 Fiat 500 was named “Best Buy” in the subcompact category by Consumers Digest and was deemed a “Top Safety Pick” by the influential Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The FIAT brand portfolio in North America continues to expand with the arrival of the high-performance Fiat 500 Abarth, Fiat 500 Abarth Cabrio and the Fiat 500 Turbo. In 2013, the FIAT brand launched the Fiat 500e, a full-electric version of the Fiat 500, and the Fiat 500L, a new five-passenger model that expands FIAT’s brand style and efficiency into the growing B-segment.