2012 FIAT 500c

MSRP ?

$19,500 - $22,500
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Smart Buy Market Avg. ?

N/A
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Engine Engine 1.4LI-4
MPG MPG 30 City / 38 Hwy
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2012 500c Overview

Fashion-Forward Fiat For Fun Northern California is an odd place – and that's just the cars. For every Toyota Prius-driving eco-yuppie, you'll find a diehard Datsun 510 enthusiast. And you can't toss a bushel of puntarelle without hitting a grease-powered Mercedes-Benz in the East Bay. But here's a better case in point: A few weeks back, I was driving an arrest-me-red Chevrolet Camaro SS Convertible and it barely turned a head. One week later, there was a Mercedes-Benz E350 Bluetec parked in my driveway and I couldn't stop fielding questions. Like I said, odd. So when I snagged the keys to a 2012 Fiat 500C, I wasn't sure how it would be received by the mismatched masses of the Bay Area. Less than 10 miles later, I lost count of the number of thumbs-up and double-takes I got while crossing the San Mateo Bridge. Surprising? Not really. After all, this is the coast that seared the original Volkswagen Beetle into the national consciousness and took to budget compacts years before Detroit had a clue. But while we've driven the 500 in all its guises, one question remained: Could you really live with something this damned cute? If you're looking for something with some visual panache for around $20,000, your options are decidedly limited. The 500's obvious competition would be Mini, but a base Cooper starts at $20,100, with the droptop commanding $5K more. Honda Fit? Pedestrian. Smart ForTwo? Please. Mazda2? Fun, but lacking curb appeal. Nissan Juke? Polarizing. All of which puts the 500C in an odd middle ground. It's not a budget city car and it's not a premium subcompact. But it's a good niche to cater to. While 500 pricing starts at $15,500 plus $500 destination, the C comes in $4,000 more at $19,500. Our Pop-spec tester with a five-speed manual carried a sticker of $21,750, and the only car we could secure for a photo shoot was a loaded Lounge model with six-speed automatic that cleared $24K. Not bad, but that $4K tariff basically means the power canvas roof accounts for more than 25 percent of a hardtop 500's base price, and that seems rather stiff. Either way, there aren't many options to choose from – particularly if you want to retain the manual 'box, which is only available on the less expensive Pop model. With the standard C-spec goodies (Customer Preferred Package 21A) bringing Blue&Me hands-free connectivity and a pair of awkwardly positioned stereo controls behind the leather wrapped steering wheel, the only major option left is the $1,250 Bose Premium Audio Package. Tick that box and Bose pumps out a few extra watts through the six standard speakers, and a one-year SiriusXM subscription and alarm system comes along for the ride. All that's left is to pick your colors, roof fabric ($500 more for the Bordeaux red top), wheels (another $500 for the 15x6-inch aluminum hoops) and one of two interior trims. That's it. And that's fine. If you're looking for 10 million possible combinations, …
Full Review

2012 500c Overview

Fashion-Forward Fiat For Fun Northern California is an odd place – and that's just the cars. For every Toyota Prius-driving eco-yuppie, you'll find a diehard Datsun 510 enthusiast. And you can't toss a bushel of puntarelle without hitting a grease-powered Mercedes-Benz in the East Bay. But here's a better case in point: A few weeks back, I was driving an arrest-me-red Chevrolet Camaro SS Convertible and it barely turned a head. One week later, there was a Mercedes-Benz E350 Bluetec parked in my driveway and I couldn't stop fielding questions. Like I said, odd. So when I snagged the keys to a 2012 Fiat 500C, I wasn't sure how it would be received by the mismatched masses of the Bay Area. Less than 10 miles later, I lost count of the number of thumbs-up and double-takes I got while crossing the San Mateo Bridge. Surprising? Not really. After all, this is the coast that seared the original Volkswagen Beetle into the national consciousness and took to budget compacts years before Detroit had a clue. But while we've driven the 500 in all its guises, one question remained: Could you really live with something this damned cute? If you're looking for something with some visual panache for around $20,000, your options are decidedly limited. The 500's obvious competition would be Mini, but a base Cooper starts at $20,100, with the droptop commanding $5K more. Honda Fit? Pedestrian. Smart ForTwo? Please. Mazda2? Fun, but lacking curb appeal. Nissan Juke? Polarizing. All of which puts the 500C in an odd middle ground. It's not a budget city car and it's not a premium subcompact. But it's a good niche to cater to. While 500 pricing starts at $15,500 plus $500 destination, the C comes in $4,000 more at $19,500. Our Pop-spec tester with a five-speed manual carried a sticker of $21,750, and the only car we could secure for a photo shoot was a loaded Lounge model with six-speed automatic that cleared $24K. Not bad, but that $4K tariff basically means the power canvas roof accounts for more than 25 percent of a hardtop 500's base price, and that seems rather stiff. Either way, there aren't many options to choose from – particularly if you want to retain the manual 'box, which is only available on the less expensive Pop model. With the standard C-spec goodies (Customer Preferred Package 21A) bringing Blue&Me hands-free connectivity and a pair of awkwardly positioned stereo controls behind the leather wrapped steering wheel, the only major option left is the $1,250 Bose Premium Audio Package. Tick that box and Bose pumps out a few extra watts through the six standard speakers, and a one-year SiriusXM subscription and alarm system comes along for the ride. All that's left is to pick your colors, roof fabric ($500 more for the Bordeaux red top), wheels (another $500 for the 15x6-inch aluminum hoops) and one of two interior trims. That's it. And that's fine. If you're looking for 10 million possible combinations, …Hide Full Review