• Jan 28, 2011
2012 Fiat 500 – Click above for high-res image gallery

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.



[Source: Automotive News – sub. req.]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 82 Comments
      • 3 Years Ago
      This thing will be hot at first. After they've been on the road for a while and all of the issues Europeans have with the 500 start cropping up, the car will lose its lustre.

      The reality is, the vehicle has a unique exterior and an interior most non-aficianados will say reminds them of the dash in the PT Cruiser. As long as you have no more than one person to take with you at any given time (Car and Driver said the back seat was only suitable for groceries that need to be seat belted in) and you live in the city, this is probably a nifty little vehicle.

      For everyone else, it's a 2.5 seater with subjective styling, good handling, tepid acceleration and overall gas mileage not much better than a much larger Hyundai Sonata- all from a manufacturer with fair to poor reliability.
      • 3 Years Ago
      The difference in fuel consumption at that end of the mpg spectrum is miniscule anyway.

      1000/38 = 26.32
      1000/40 = 25.00
      For a whopping savings of 1.32 gallons over a thousand miles.
      Let's get away from mpg and rate in consumption already.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Pretty much as expected.

      People keep looking at Euro MPG numbers and whining about how come we don't get these, but they completely fail to recognize that Euro numbers are a joke (and many times those numbers are in Imperial Gallons).

      EPA is a tough cycle. It is very difficult to get over 30/40.
        • 3 Years Ago
        It may be tough to get good numbers on the EPA's cycle, but that hasn't stopped bigger cars from doing so...
        • 3 Years Ago
        Why small cars might beat EPA more often is because they have better city MPG and a lot of people do more city driving. Small cars don't take as big a hit driving in the city.
      • 3 Years Ago
      So when do we get the Abarth SS version? :)
      • 3 Years Ago
      So small does not necessarily mean frugal.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I have promised to be good, so I won't say anything.
      • 3 Years Ago
      The 500 is fabulous, I can't wait too see the 500 Abarth!!!
      • 3 Years Ago
      I think people that compare the 500 with the SMART don't know much about cars.
      The SMART is a toy, the 500 is a car.
      If you compare the size of them, the look of them, if you sit in them, and if you drive them, they are totally different machines.
      I don't see this car being popular with cowboys of course.
      This is a second car, mainly for city workers, but it is a proper car, not a box with an engine.

      Drive an Abarth SS then tell me that this car is like a SMART
      • 3 Years Ago
      Unfortunate. Fiat should've led with the TwinAir.
        • 3 Years Ago
        they're still mulling twinair vs diesel, i hope they choose twinair.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Remember that highway mileage looks good in advertising, but that the Combined number is projected to be the most realistic fuel economy number for most people- where City mileage is more heavily weighted.

      The regular automatic Fiesta makes 33 mpg combined and the automatic Cruze 1.4 makes 28 mpg combined. Basically, the manual (33.6 combined) 500 is on par with the Fiesta and the automatic (30.15 combined) is better than the Cruze.
      • 3 Years Ago
      So besides being 'unique' why would someone get this over a 2012 Focus?
        • 3 Years Ago
        The 500 does NOT compete against the Fiesta. The 500 is a cute fashion car available with a choice of several two-tone interiors and more exterior colors than all the cars from some entire brands. The Fiesta is an economy car, available with a choice of cheap and boring. The 500's real competition is the Mini and New Beetle.
        • 3 Years Ago
        I don't know. The base price is the same as a base Elantra which, IMO, looks better, hauls more, has more power and get better mileage.
        • 3 Years Ago
        The EPA economy numbers haven't been published for the 2012 Focus yet. I hardly thing the Fiat 500 is meant to compete with the Focus, try the Fiesta, which does get a few MPG more. I'm more interested in real world figures than the EPA ones.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Some people live in cities where having a small car is preferable.
      • 3 Years Ago
      After reading the comments, I gotta ask: Are people really going to let a 5% difference ruin this car for them?

      I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that the average Fiat 500 buyer, while they care about good mileage, isn't going to let something that will amount to a tank of gas a year difference get between them and a car that is appealing both visually and from a driving standpoint.

      It's not designed to be the most fuel efficient conventional car known to man at the expense of everything else. Its meant to be a car that's fun, attractive, affordable and economical all at the same time, and I'd say they have done that superbly.
        • 3 Years Ago
        zamafir - Fiat has the lowest rated quality in Europe - so you're saying I can only compare it to other Chrysler products?
        • 3 Years Ago
        Um... For even double the money?

        MINI obviously.
        • 3 Years Ago
        yup, name another automaker offering a car with this kinda quality and quirk and choices inside and out for even double the money.
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