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Fiat 500

A little slice of Italy.

The Abarth was a late addition to the 2012 Fiat 500 range and this year brings the addition of another new model, the 500 Turbo. The Turbo uses the 1.4-liter MultiAir turbo-charged engine from the Abarth but makes 135 hp to the Abarth’s 160 hp, and it has the underpinnings of the normally aspirated Sport model instead of the Abarth’s uprated suspension, wheels, differential, and transmission. That isn’t to say the existing 500 is slow: the 1.4-liter four-cylinder MultiAir engine — good for 101 hp — only has to move about 2400 pounds, so the 500 has relatively brisk performance. Manual-transmission, non-turbo models get a slightly tweaked transmission for 2013 that allows the hatch to get of the line quicker and finally hit the 40-mpg highway mark. For drivers who don’t want three pedals, the optional six-speed automatic has both manual shift and sport modes. Although the 500 is designed to seat four passengers, rear legroom measures just under 32 inches, which means space is tight. The benefit is that, at 139.6 inches long, the 500 will fit almost anywhere and makes parallel parking a breeze. Inside, you’ll find modern technology with a retro feel. Behind the two-tone dash are the voice-activated, hands-free Blue&Me infotainment system and an optional TomTom portable GPS navigation unit.

COMPETITORS

Chevrolet Spark

Ford Fiesta

Mini Cooper

Scion iQ

new for 2013

Buyers can now purchase an optional 368-watt “Beats by Dr. Dre” audio system, and two new paint colors are available: luce blu (light blue) and verde azzurro (blue-green). Manual-transmission models get different gear ratios to increase off-the-line acceleration and augment fuel economy between 1 and 2 mpg. Sport and Turbo models add premium leather seating, and the 500 Turbo is all-new for 2013.

SAFETY EQUIPMENT

Front, knee, side, and side curtain air bags; stability and traction control; a tire-pressure monitoring system; and ABS are standard. Hill-start assist is standard on all trim levels, and audible rear park assist is optional on the top-of-the-line Lounge model.

High Mileage

MPG

CITY 27–31

HWY 32–40

PRO

Chic Italian styling

Peppy engine, especially on the Abarth variant

Maneuverable

CON

Bouncy ride on Abarth model

Premium fuel recommended

So-so fuel economy with automatic

Base Price Range: $16,200–$23,200

SPECIFICATIONS

DRIVE: Front-wheel

TRIM LEVELS: Pop, Sport, Lounge, Turbo, Abarth

BODY STYLES: Hatchback, convertible, 2+2-passenger

ENGINES: 1.4L I-4, 101 hp, 98 lb-ft

1.4L turbo I-4, 135/160 hp, 150/170 lb-ft

TRANSMISSIONS: 5-speed manual, 6-speed automatic

PASSENGER VOLUME: (Abarth/coupe/convertible) 84.9/85.1/81.6 cu ft

CARGO SPACE: (convertible) 5.4 cu ft; (coupe, rear seats up/down) 9.5/26.8 cu ft

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