2012 FIAT 500 Consumer Review: Feeling Regret

2012 FIAT 500 Hatchback - Consumer Review

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41 of 62 people found this review helpful
Feeling Regret
By kiehen on


2012 FIAT 500 Pop 2dr Hatchback (1.4L 4cyl 5M)


Back in June of 2011 when I bought my 500, I can't even tell you how excited I was.
I had been waiting for these to hit the States for several years.
Loved (and still do love) the retro look.
Efficient and fun to drive?
Most definitely.
Quality is where the 500 falls short.
I understand cheap materials.
Those are to be expected.
The unexpected?
I just scheduled my 8th service visit.
It pains me to say that I have started looking at the best way to get rid of this car with the least amount of loss.
With 13,000 miles on it, it acts like a car with 100,000, and that simply doesn't work.
Amazing concept, questionable execution.
Wish it weren't so!
My dealer's attitude is no help.

Best Features

Fun factor, design, efficiency (I've averaged up to 47 mpg). Roomy considering the size of the car. I have 6'+ fronts who fit comfortably.

Worst Features

Overall build quality. My visits to the service center have run from damage caused by one of their employees to brake issues, door issues, electrical issues, and most recently a rough running engine with some misfiring (at a measly 13,000 miles). Road noise is a bit excessive. Headrests are excessively firm.
Recommend (41) (21)

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Comments (9) Post a Comment
By donovang1
on 06/04/12 12:36 PM (PDT)

I completely agree with you. I really like the design and efficiency, but the quality is awful. I bought my 2012 500 Sport on 03/20/12. I've taken it in twice for brakes...once at 300 miles and the second time at 900 miles. Apparently Helfman Fiat in Houston thinks it's normal for a new car to make horrendous noises when braking. My second issue is the leather wrapping around the gear shift. It's currently dangling off the console because it's come loose and I cannot fix it myself. Lastly, my engine is so hot that it's burned a bright orange circle about the size of a basketball on my hood. My car is red. It's literally cooking the paint from the engine compartment. I'm taking it in tomorrow..for the forth time. I'm pretty upset about it and am expecting to have the issue resolved asap. The most horrible issue is that my dealership thinks that all these things are non-issues. They wont give me a loaner so I'm forced to cab it to work and back. I've had my car a little over 60 days, and it currently has 1609 miles on the odometer. I've been reading up on Texas Lemon Laws and am considering consulting an attorney. I'm mentally exhausted over all this. Thanks for letting me vent. -D.

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By cn1109
on 07/05/12 00:28 AM (PDT)

I just put a deposit down for an Abarth coming in August. Should I get the deposit back and wait a year to see how the quality is? The car drives great and looks great but again I'm afraid of the quality and want to avoid going to get it serviced as much as possible.

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By 3_fiat_owner
on 08/23/12 14:44 PM (PDT)

As the owner of 3 Fiats, I find them great cars to own and love. They make you smile when you drive one. If I see another one on the road, I make sure to toot the horn and wave. The Fiat family is like no other car family. Join the club Fiat Lancia Unlimited and you will understand. My Fiats? A 1981 Spider, a 1972 124 Coupe and a 1969 Fiat 600. I will be placing an order for an 2013 Abarth this fall.

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By cindylou470
on 08/31/12 06:58 AM (PDT)

I'm a proud owner of the Fiat 500C Cabriolet convertible. I absolutely LOVE it!!! I put a ton of miles on my car - 14,000 in 6 months - and I've had absolutely no problems with performance. My car still looks and drives like I drove it off the lot yesterday. Unfortunately for some, in the first year of new or re-release, there are quirks in any model. The only reason I'm giving it 4.5* instead of 5* is that I'm slightly disappointed with the mileage. I think I average more like 25-27 mpg rather than the advertised 35-40. I highly recommend this car to anyone considering it for your next set of wheels. (and I frequently do, as I get stopped on the street a few times a day to get compliments on my ride:) I'll check back in when I hit 30k and let you know how it's holding up. until then...

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By rangergirlie
on 10/31/12 12:09 PM (PDT)

These cars are not worth it. I used to work for one of the FIAT dealerships and you would not believe how many compliants I received from people who regreted buying one of these. The interior is cheaply made; starts fading and falling apart, people having issues with the transmission and AC, and among other things. Im my opinion, until they are directly imported from Italy, they are just a headache to deal with.

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By bentleyjazzie
on 08/14/12 11:51 AM (PDT)

Sorry this happened to you. What a shame. When Fiat was a player in the American market some years ago, everyone referred to their cars as Fiat=Fix It Again Tony. I wouldn't buy a Fiat if my life depended on it. The only thing I care about in a car is how often I'll have to take it in once the warranty expires. I feel sorry for people who buy this car, because problems will only increase with age. So glad I bought a Yaris. Going on two years of ownership now and not one single problem..... Good luck to you.

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By sruczko
on 07/13/12 03:41 AM (PDT)

I understand cheap materials and cut corners (I made the mistake of buying a first year Focus in 2000...) but I'm not seeing that sort of thing on my Pop. Sure, the door panels are cheap feeling but they are in keeping with the intent of the car - it is not designed to be a luxury vehicle. I'm at 3800 mi. and I've had no problems whatsoever - not even a rattle. I drive my car as it was intended to be driven (manual transmission, rev the motor!) and it seems to love it. I had a few odd brake noises which I cured by replacing the stock rotors with higher quality crossdrilled aftermarket rotors from The Tire Rack. Problem solved. Maybe the factory has bad days and lets a lemon out the door but my 11/2011 production car has been a champ. I'd buy it again in a heartbeat.

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By tinmantt
on 07/24/12 13:40 PM (PDT)

Really? All these problems in a new car, and you gave it 4 stars? Resale value? Nonexistent.

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By markj5362
on 07/10/12 16:47 PM (PDT)

I wouldn't worry about it..The U.S. Fiat has sold in the thousands so far...There are only a few negative postings here. Not sure the issues or agendas. Go with gut feeling...The Fiat has a bumper-bumper 48 month 50k warranty We have owned our 500 Sport for 6 months now and not one problem. We did get one with a manual tranny which makes it very fun to drive! No regrets at all!

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