I was excited about driving this car a week before I was to sit in the driver’s seat. The first glimpse at the new 500 Fiat was during the Superbowl when a commercial for the Fiat 500 Abarth aired. It featured a hot Romanian model, Catrinel Menghia and spoke Italian quite seductively. Me being a guy, on Superbowl weekend, that’s all that mattered. Oh, she was also wearing a black and red summer dress. Pretty hot!
A week after the Superbowl when I picked up the Fiat 500, I was disappointed to find out that the car didn’t come standard with hot Romanian Italian-speaking models. Regardless, I was about to drive one of the smallest cars on the market and looking forward to taking this amazing little car through its paces during our mild Winnipeg winter.
If there’s one thing I can say about the Fiat 500 is that you will never have a problem finding a parking spot. This car is so compact that you can park almost anywhere. It’s peppy, quick, easy to drive and easy to park. I did say preppy and that’s largely due to the 1.4L inline 4-cyl 101hp engine. It’s definitely a fun, little car to drive through the city. Driving on the highway is just as enjoyable and knowing when to downshift using the manual transmission added a little power to the driving experience.
As gas prices continue to climb, the best feature about the Fiat 500 is fuel economy. You can drive and drive and drive and somehow, the gas gauge is still stuck at full. Fuel economy is rated at 5.1L/100kms.
Attaching my iPad or iPod Touch to the audio system was simple and listening to my playlist on the Bose Premium sound system was one of my favorite features. Siruis Satellite Radio is also an available option.
Seating is comfortable and lots of available headroom especially for taller drivers. Seating in the back, is a different story and not a lot of space unless you’re a kid. The Fiat 500 is not especially designed for hockey players in mind. The trunk with rear 50-50 split folding seats was still not able to accommodate my hockey bag. I had to move the front passenger seat up slightly to accommodate it.
The Fiat 500 is available in several trim models starting with the Pop trim at $13,495, Sport trim at $16,000, and Lounge trim at $17,000. The Fiat 500 Abarth which comes with a 1.4-litre turbocharged 160-horsepower Multiair engine starts at $23,995. Compared to other vehicles in the same class, the Fiat 500 has very agressive pricing. Main competition in this class include the Kia Rio, Ford Fiesta, Nissan Versa, VW Bettle, Hyundai Accent, Scion iQ, Toyota Yaris, Mazda 2, Honda Fit, Chevrolet Aveo and the MINI Roadster.