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2015 FIAT 500 Review

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2015 FIAT 500 Expert Review

By

KBB Expert Rating: 6.9

Many didn't expect a small Italian subcompact to do well in the U.S., but the 2015 Fiat 500 coupe and soft-top cabriolet have confounded the critics. Smaller than the Mini Cooper and Ford Fiesta, the 500's primary attraction are its playful attitude, impressive list of colors and features, attractive price and good fuel economy. Of course, those not interested in cute also have a friend in the 500, that being the performance-oriented Abarth model. Even environmentalists have a seat at the table, thanks to the all-electric Fiat 500e. Now, if only we could get more car companies to see the wisdom of adding color and cleverness to their most affordable models.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you're looking for something practical, affordable and efficient but not boring, the 2015 Fiat 500 subcompact is a viable alternative to the Nissan Versa Note, Scion iQ or Honda Fit. The Abarth model will give the Mini Cooper a run for its money, too.

You May Not Like This Car If...

The 2015 Fiat 500 coupe and convertible are unknown commodities, meaning they have yet to earn the track record of cars like the Ford Fiesta, Honda Fit and Mazda2. The 500's diminutive size might also exclude bigger drivers or those who need room for additional passengers.

KBB Expert Ratings

  • 6.9
  • 6.9
  • 6.5
  • 7.7
  • 6.5
  • 5.7
How It Ranks

#3

out of 7

Fuel Economy

#6

out of 7

Horsepower
View all rankings

Consumer Rating

8.3 out of 10
View all
consumer ratings
2015 FIAT 500 Low/wide front photo What's New for 2015

For 2015, the 500 Abarth receives a new 6-speed automatic transmission, while all but the base 500 trim are outfitted with a new 7-inch easier-on-the-eyes/visually sharper TFT instrument cluster (replacing the old analog unit). Streaming Bluetooth and an additional USB port are also new this year.

Driving the 500
2015 FIAT 500 Front angle view photo

Driving Impressions The 2015 Fiat 500 subcompact coupe doesn't weigh much, which is why its engine only needs about 101 horsepower to move it along. While top speed and rapid acceleration aren't...

... the 500's strong suit, the 500 can scoot about with relative ease and its go-kart like handling make even the shortest drives feel like a sporty adventure. The 500's steering is precise, the brakes are strong and the manual transmission is so good, it might actually spark a movement back to the days when everyone knew how to stir their own gears. Those who don't care to live in the past will find the 500's 6-speed automatic equally enjoyable. The 160-horsepower turbocharged Abarth steps up the 500's game by a notch or two, while the all-electric 500e makes the perfect urban commuter, capable of traveling up to 87 miles on a single charge.

INTELLIGENT POWER CONVERTIBLE TOP
The convertible Fiat 500c employs a rather unconventional power top. Instead of folding to expose the entire cabin, the 500c's top rolls back on a track leaving a protective metal frame in place. The top can be opened in just 15 seconds at speed up to 60 mph.

Eco:DRIVE
Dr. Dolittle could talk to the animals and now your 500 can talk to you. Using a flash drive, the 500 can upload data about everything from CO2 emissions to trip information. When plugged into your laptop, the data can be used to help you learn how to drive more efficiently.

2015 FIAT 500 Details
2015 FIAT 500 Dashboard, center console, gear shifter view photo Interior

The 2015 Fiat 500 subcompact is roomier up front than you might expect, and just as tight in back as it looks. 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 $17,000. As the athlete of the group, the Fiat 500 Abarth offers aggressively bolstered front seats, exclusive red stitching and a thick-rimmed, flat-bottom steering wheel.

Exterior
2015 FIAT 500 photo

The 2015 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. The Fiat 500 is available in a stretched 4-door model that alleviates many of the coupe's shortcomings. The hatchback offers Pop, Sport, Lounge and Turbo trim levels, while the soft-top 500c comes in Pop and Lounge. The Turbo, Abarth and 500e electric are their own packages. Wheels, fascias and body trim differentiate the models.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The 2015 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 2015 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 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
2015 FIAT 500 Engine photo

The front-wheel-drive 2015 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 Turbo makes 135 horsepower and the Abarth, also turbocharged, crank out 160 horsepower. The 500e electric is rated for 111 horsepower and 147 lb-ft of torque. All of the 500s now offer the choice of a 5-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission. 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 (500)
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 (500 Turbo)
135 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
150 lb-ft of torque @ 2,500-4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 28/34 mpg (manual), 24/32 mpg (automatic)

1.4-liter turbocharged inline-4 (Abarth)
160 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
170 lb-ft of torque @ 2,500-4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 28/34 mpg (manual), 24/32 mpg (automatic)

Permanent magnet electric motor (500e)
111 horsepower
147 lb-ft of torque
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 122/108 mpg equivalent
EPA range on a full charge: 87 miles

The 2015 Fiat 500 lineup starts at a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) right around $17,000 for a hatchback Pop and climbs to just over $32,500 for the California-only 500e electric. However, incentives and tax credits can trim that price substantially. These can total as much as $14,000, according to Fiat. The 2015 Mini Cooper Hardtop starts at just over $20,000 and can top $35,000. Fiat includes a Mini-matching 4-year/50,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty with roadside assistance and a 3-year/36,000-mile no-cost maintenance package. Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price should reflect real-world transaction prices close to MSRP, so be sure to check them out before you purchase. Five-year projected residual values for the 500 fall considerably short of the Mini's, but remain slightly higher than the Ford Fiesta's.

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2015 FIAT 500 Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.3
Out of 10

Based on 124 Ratings for the 2012 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.5/10
    Quality
    8.4/10
  • Reliability
    8.8/10
    Performance
    8.6/10
  • Comfort
    8.2/10
    Styling
    8.7/10

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."

8 people out of 16 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."

2 people out of 3 found this review helpful

This is the most fun on four wheels

By on Thursday, June 11, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,000

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: "Great style, handling, fit and finish+personaity"

Cons: "Wish I had a larger garage for the 500L too!"

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

"We purchased the 500C POP for a weekend run around fun car and it has a personality of its own. We get thumbs up and smiles everywhere we take it. It is fun to drive and gets great mileage. Lots of value and very presentable. Fit and finish are above the norm on a vehicle in this price range and it drives like a dream. I'm looking at a 500L for myself right now based upon how well I like this vehicle. We also have a 2015 Chrysler 200 which is another FIAT Chrysler vehicle that has performed above our expectations. In short if your thinking about a FIAT and your concerned about quality go and see for your self drive one and compare it to its competitors and I'm sure you'll be pleasantly surprised and how well these little charmers from Italy convince you that you have to have one."

4 people out of 7 found this review helpful

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