2011 marks the official return of Fiat here in the United States, with the adorable little 500 hitting dealerships in the coming weeks. With Fiat's MultiAir 1.4-liter engine under the hood, you'd be right to expect top-notch fuel economy numbers. And while the 500's EPA ratings of 30 miles per gallon in the city and 38 mpg on the highway aren't bad, it's not exactly what we were hoping for.
For comparison, consider the fact that much larger C-segment entries like the Hyundai Elantra, Ford Focus and Chevrolet Cruze are all capable of achieving 40 mpg or higher (granted, you have to spec certain transmissions and option packages on the latter two in order to achieve it). What's more, the 30/38 mpg rating on the Fiat 500 is only with the five-speed manual transmission. Cars equipped with the six-speed self-shifter will only achieve 27/34 mpg. Ouch.
Still, with prices starting at $15,995 for the entry-level Pop model, we don't think Fiat will have too much trouble moving 500s out of showrooms. Besides, the majority of people purchasing the Fiat 500 will be doing so because of its style rather than its frugality.