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2013 FIAT 500

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2013 FIAT 500 Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 7.1

The slick and sassy 500 anchored Fiat's 2012 return to the U.S. market, where it's become Chrysler's new small-car brand. It's easy to see the 2013 Fiat 500 as an Italian Mini Cooper: They're both small cars with big personalities and both have storied pasts dating to the 1950s. But they're very different cars, the 500 countering the Mini's superpower and sharper handling with lower prices, a more comfortable ride and superior fuel efficiency. For 2013, the 500 comes in eight model/trim configurations, including a convertible, two levels of up-power sport tuning, and a new electric version, the 500e (California only). All models offer opportunities for personalization.

You'll Like This Car If...

Cool, funky, fun and unexpectedly refined, the 2013 Fiat 500 bridges the gap between the sportier, pricier Mini Cooper and the more pedestrian Toyota Yaris. If you like a little car with attitude, and hear the call of Italian style sensibilities, the Fiat 500 may be for you.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you're not smitten by the style of the 2013 Fiat 500, you can get more car for your money in something like a Honda Fit, Ford Fiesta or Mazda2, all offering more doors, more room and more standard power.

What's New for 2013

Launched just last year, the Fiat 500 hatchback was soon joined by the slide-open-top 500c cabriolet, followed by the up-power Abarth version late last year. For 2013, a mid-power 500 Turbo model slides in under the aggressive Abarth, and a pure electric, the 500e, makes its debut, initially limited to California.

Driving the 500

Driving Impressions Whereas the Mini Cooper is an undersized action hero – as in The Italian Job – the Fiat 500 is more likely to appear in a romantic comedy. The lightweight,...

101-horsepower Fiat is definitely fun, just not in a car-chase kind of way. The 500 combines tiny car advantages with comfortable accommodations and a relatively smooth highway ride. The steering, brake and shift controls all have a quality feel, and the optional 6-speed automatic surprised us with its responsiveness. Obviously, the 160-horsepower Abarth model runs and drives a lot more aggressively, and the newly added Turbo model, at 135 horsepower, splits the difference in terms of over-the-road intensity. With an EPA-estimated range of 87 miles per charge, the electric-powered 500e delivers stronger acceleration than the naturally-aspirated 500s, and the quietest operation of the entire line. In any form, the 2013 Fiat 500 is tiny and quirky until you drive it. Then, it's tiny, quirky and respectable.

INTELLIGENT POWER CONVERTIBLE TOP
The 500c's dual-layer power top cycles in just 15 seconds and can be deployed at speeds up to 60 mph. The folded top stack automatically slides up into an "easy-access" position when you pop the decklid. Unfortunately, it also hampers rearward views.

ECO:DRIVE
Plug a USB memory stick into the Fiat 500's glovebox-mounted USB port and the car will upload onto it a variety of trip details including carbon dioxide emissions information. Plug the memory stick into your computer and you'll get personalized tips on how to improve your driving efficiency.

2013 FIAT 500 Details
Interior

The Fiat 500 is roomier up front than you might expect, and just as tight in back as it looks. If you will transport more than two adults on a regular basis, we'd suggest a larger 4-door alternative. The interior style lives up to the promise of the quirky but fashionable exterior, and we found the materials, build quality and seat comfort impressive for a car with a starting price around $16,000. As the athlete of the group, the 2013 Fiat 500 Abarth offers aggressively bolstered front seats, exclusive red seam stitching and a thick-rimmed, flat-bottom steering wheel.

Exterior

The 2013 Fiat 500 is a modern interpretation of 1957's tiny, rear-engined original. Although larger than the original, it's still seven inches shorter than today's Mini Cooper. The iconic sloping rear end is a big part of the 500's personality, though it limits rear headroom. For 2013, the Fiat 500 is available in eight distinct models and trim combinations: The hatchback offers Pop, Sport and Lounge trim levels, while the soft-top 500c comes in Pop and Lounge. The new Turbo, Abarth and 500e electric are their own packages. Wheels, fascias and body trim differentiate the models.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The 2013 Fiat 500 and 500c Pop include a leather-wrapped steering wheel, 15-inch covered steel wheels, a 5-speed manual transmission, air conditioning, cruise control, power window/locks/mirrors, Bluetooth, and a 6-speaker audio system with a USB port for portable music players. The range-topping Abarth variant includes a Bose premium audio system, 16-inch alloy wheels, sport-tuned suspension, and a leather-wrapped dashboard. Standard safety features include seven airbags, hill-start assist to help prevent vehicle rollback on steep inclines and seemingly all the other advancements we're seeing on new cars in this price range and beyond.

Optional Equipment

A fully loaded 2013 Fiat 500 Lounge includes a 6-speed automatic transmission, leather seats, heated front seats, rear parking sensors, Bose audio system and automatic climate control. The 500 Sport model is differentiated by a sport-tuned suspension, 16-inch wheels and a variety of aesthetic touches including red brake calipers and a subtle rear spoiler. The new Turbo model adds larger front brakes and more serious suspension tuning to go with its specific 16-inch wheels and identifying trim. The mighty Abarth offers larger 17-inch wheels, 2-tone leather-trimmed seats and your choice of either white or red body side stripes.

Under the Hood

The front-wheel-drive 2013 Fiat 500 is motivated by a small but sophisticated 1.4-liter 4-cylinder engine using Fiat's patented MultiAir technology, which varies intake-valve timing and lift. Fiat tunes this engine to three power levels: The base hatchback and cabriolet get 101 horsepower (naturally aspirated), the new-for-2013 Turbo makes 135 horsepower and the Abarth, also turbocharged, cranks out 160 horsepower. The new 500e electric is rated for 111 horsepower and 147 lb-ft of torque. Those numbers may look modest, but they only have to move some 2,400 pounds of car. Most of the 500s offer the choice of a 5-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission, but the turbocharged engines get only the 5-speed manual gearbox. We like the automatic for its extra ratio and responsive shifting though it does cut fuel efficiency by more than 10 percent. The 500e uses a single-speed automatic.

1.4-liter inline-4
101 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm
98 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 31/40 mpg (manual), 27/34 mpg (automatic)

1.4-liter turbocharged inline-4
135 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
150 lb-ft of torque @ 2,500-4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 28/34 mpg

1.4-liter turbocharged inline-4
160 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
170 lb-ft of torque @ 2,500-4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 28/34 mpg

Permanent magnet electric motor
111 horsepower
147 lb-ft of torque
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 122/108 mpg equivalent
EPA range on a full charge: 87 miles

Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

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2013 FIAT 500 Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.4
Out of 10

Based on 128 Ratings for the 2012 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.5/10
    Quality
    8.5/10
  • Reliability
    8.8/10
    Performance
    8.6/10
  • Comfort
    8.2/10
    Styling
    8.7/10

2015 Fiat Sport 5 speed

By on Thursday, August 27, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 5,100

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Three words: FUN FUN FUN!"

Cons: "More power but they have turbo options."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Took one for a test drive and fell in love with it. An easy way to explain it is if you ever wanted to drive a go cart on the street,then you have to check this out! We have a Red 2015 Sport and we love how it looks, drives and handles.It has the base engine with the 5 speed and it zipps right along.We are averaging around 40mpg with a mix of highway and around town driving.We call it our poor mans Italian Sports Car."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Outstanding gas economy, flexible

By on Monday, August 03, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 72,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Price, value, gas economy, fun to drive"

Cons: "Need to use dealers for repairs"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"Excellent economy: 45-48 mpg in Summer, 43-45 mpg in Winter. Has surprising room, can carry 2 people and a cello. Never been stuck in the snow with X-ice tires. Fairly comfortable on long road trips. Only complaint has been need to use dealer for even routine service, and several expensive repairs. While under warranty, the dealer provides excellent service with little or no expense. Out of warranty, repairs are expensive (not as bad as Jaguar, but more than Toyota). Features in the basic model are surprisingly extensive. But best of all, it is a lot of fun to drive: responsive, maneuverable, good acceleration with driver only, good brakes."

4 people out of 6 found this review helpful

My 2nd one and still LOVE IT!!!!!

By on Sunday, July 26, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 8,500

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Still fun and nimble, decent MPG nice looks."

Cons: "It won't fit in my living room."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"The 2015, pretty much like my 2012 with a few more upgrades like rear hatch spoiler and very minor interior do-dads. Overall the car is pretty much the same. I like it better then the Mini Cooper because you can actually enter and exit this car without hurting your back!! I am 6'-4" and this car still feels cavernous when driving, still amazed! Car has 8500 miles on it with NO issues at all. Has classic Italian ques inside and out. For a econo-boxer it's still fun to drive. Nimble, quick for a non-turbo 1.4 liter engine. It feels of greater quality then the Mini Coopers PLASTIC "I am going to break something" interior. Oh and did I say you can actuality get in and out of this car???"

8 people out of 9 found this review helpful

Sweet Car

By on Sunday, July 05, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 21,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
Not Rated
Reliability
Not Rated
Quality
Not Rated
Performance
Not Rated
Styling
Not Rated
Comfort
Not Rated

Pros: "fun to drive, gorgeous, easy parking, reliable"

Cons: "passengers are squished"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"I bought this car new two years ago and like it more and more. I was worried about reliability, but it hasn't had any problems. Aside from oil changes it has only needed a headlamp bulb replaced, which was covered under warranty. Gas mileage is great but it runs better on supreme which negates some of the fuel savings. It is very very fun to drive (I recommend a stick shift) and feels good and safe on the freeway. Squeezing grownups into the back seat is funny but doable. Good car for one person with occasional passengers."

19 people out of 34 found this review helpful

Purchased Used

By on Tuesday, June 16, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 40,598

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Responsive, Smooth, Stylish, Tight, Spacious, FUN"

Cons: "Winter, Clearance, Wait-time on Certain parts,"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Avoiding Dealership information- I paid slightly more than market value to buy local and that is the only reason why I put the value at a 7/10. I live in a colder climate and my only issues were electrically based and in the winter. I have no reliable information that it's the cold climate that caused it's malfunctions but that is my opinion. Fiat's brand stood behind their product, unlike the dealership and I will purchase my next vehicle from them again! I'm unbelievably happy with my car. The steering is very responsive and unlike the Mini Cooper it shifts aren't choppy. Very responsive, easy drive, turns on a dime! Not loud, and very spacious for being such a little car. I had 5 adults comfortably seated in the car. The interior is sharp. My only slight criticism, again comes from winter driving, when it gets really cold (-10 or below) you can't read the digital speedometer, even with a longer period to warm the car up. It's surprisingly stable on icy roads, and has more weight to it than I expected as well. The only thing I caution people with good winters (like myself) when you have a spring melt- Potholes or ice craters will be terrible on your car unless you drive very cautiously. There isn't a great amount of clearance on this peppy little car- you will rub if there are snow trenches. If that doesn't bother you, this is a fantastic buy! I don't want to leave out that it's great on gasoline. There are times when I'm driving 55/60 mph down the highway that the mileage gets above the projected average (between 74 and 95- because there were no stops if the speed was around 70 mph it was more like projected). On a 6 hour trip (415 miles) I stop once for gasoline. I'm not uncomfortable, it's a very pleasant ride. Blue&Me sometimes gives me trouble when it's really moist outside, but I've brought it up to Fiat but the diagnostics can't seem to catch it- but besides that- I will buy a Fiat next time. ^.^ Outstanding customer service."

22 people out of 43 found this review helpful

In 50 years of car ownership, this is in my top 3

By on Monday, June 15, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 25,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Fun, fuel efficient, reliable."

Cons: "No negatives."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I have owned foreign and domestic cars of all sorts - sedans, convertible sports cars, minivans, etc. This car is comfortable, safe, and fun to drive. I hope to keep it long term and would replace it with another one."

7 people out of 13 found this review helpful

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