Thoughts on Fuel Economy - 2012 FIAT 500 Long-Term Road Test

2012 FIAT 500 Long Term Road Test

2012 Fiat 500: Thoughts on Fuel Economy

June 15, 2011


No surprise here, our Fiat 500 is one of the most fuel efficient cars in our fleet right now. As of last month's fuel update, it was fourth on the list behind the Jetta TDI, Fusion Hybrid and Mazda 2. But I was curious to see how it would fare with me since my driving style with economy cars is typically pretty conservative. The car is already slow, so why bother trying to go fast?

I filled up three times in the last week and a half. The results were 31.9 mpg, 36.5 mpg and a best-so-far 39 mpg. The first tank was a mix of drivers, so fill-ups two and three are more representative. The 36.5 mpg figure came from both city and highway driving, while the 39 mpg was nearly all highway. For the highway drive, my speed was typically about 75 mph, with the air-conditioning on. For reference, official EPA estimates are 30 mpg city, 38 mpg highway and 33 mpg combined.

So, yeah, you can get high fuel economy from the 500 if you want to. But I've had a lot of people ask me about fuel economy when they see the 500. There seems to be an assumption that because it's so small, you get really good fuel economy. But the thing is, you don't really gain all that much from the 500's smaller size. I could have been driving a Mini Cooper or Ford Fiesta (or our Mazda 2) and still likely gotten very similar numbers assuming the same driving style. All have 32 mpg combined EPA ratings.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor

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