In a market and country dominated by the philosophy of ""the bigger the better"", the Fiat 500 sticks out like a sore thumb. It is one of the few city cars launched in the United States and still shares a lot of similarities with its older namesake, which was produced from 1957 to 1975.
The Fiat 500 was announced in 2006 and went into production from 2007. When compared to the first 500 that was last produced in 1975, the new Fiat 500 is larger. However, it is still stays true to its roots as a small, practical city car.
Considering its small size, the 2013 Fiat 500 is as stylish as it is sporty, and still manages to offer amazing efficiency. However, with the Italian carmaker’s reputation for poor reliability, it looks to be seen if the 500 can change the company’s fortunes.
New For 2013
The 2013 Fiat 500 Turbo trim is launched with an improved output and torque from its turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Other changes are mentioned below:
- Taller drive gear ratio for improved fuel economy
- New audio system with better in-cabin sound
- New color options
- Premium leather seating enhancement
- Standard five-speed manual gearbox
The first thing that strikes people about the 2013 Fiat 500 is its small size. Look beyond that, and you would be surprised to find so much character imbued in the exterior of such a small car. The design of the 2013 Fiat 500 is based on Fiat’s Trepiuno concept, which was introduced at the 2004 Geneva Motor show.
The car features the same distinctive retro exterior that is similar to the first Fiat 500, with its pert and upright design. The styling is kept to a minimum, but the small lines look surprisingly unique. Overall, the 500 looks more like an upscale version of a budget compact car.
Interior & Cargo
The interior of the 2013 Fiat 500 is more or less the same as previous models – highly-stylized looks produced from inexpensive materials.
The cabin of the 500 feels very similar to that of a Fiat Panda rather than an old 500, which is good. The stylish design of its interior is as bright and attractive as the exterior, and is also quite practical.
The driver and front-seat passenger enjoy plenty of legroom and headroom. In fact, the driving position in this car is more upright than that of other normal hatchbacks, making it instantly comfortable for most drivers.
The dashboard up front is arranged well. The dials are easy to read and glow warmly at night. The heating and ventilation controls are nice and chunky. Atop the center console is one of the best aspects of the car’s interior- a stylish touchscreen infotainment system that works well and is easy to understand.
The rear seats are surprisingly easy to access thanks to the big, wide rear doors. Legroom is decent, but rear headroom is a limited due to the raised positioning of the rear seats.
Even more surprising, the design of the flat center seat and floor make it possible for a third passenger to be squeezed in with reasonable comfort. The trunk of the car is also of a decent size, and can be accessed through the tailgate. Of course, the trunk space is not as wide as expected from the 2013 Fiat 500’s width, but it has a neat square shape and comes with nice touches, such as extra cubbies on the sides and pop-out bag holders.
One of the highlights of the 2013 Fiat 500, however, is its three-position floor. The lowest setting gives maximum headroom. The second position sets the level of the seats with the sill, and the top setting allows the rear seats to be folded down in a 60/40 split.
The 2013 Fiat 500 comes with seven airbags inside to protect its passengers. Although not tested in the United States, the 500 has already received good scores in European tests. Fiat expects to receive a full five-star rating for this car in the U.S.
The 2013 Fiat 500 is fitted with a 1.4-liter, Multiair engine that delivers 101 horsepower (hp) and 98 lb-ft of torque. The engine sounds great, but does not get the car going very fast. The lack of torque at low revs can be especially problematic.
Nevertheless, the 500 performs well in the city. It goes from traffic light to traffic light quickly, and the high seat position gives the driver great visibility all around. Out of the city and onto the highway, the 2013 Fiat 500 still manages to hold its own despite the soft suspension and abundance of body roll.
Key Competitors For The 2013 Fiat 500
- Mini Cooper
- Ford Fiesta
- Chrysler 300