2012 Fiat 500 Long Term Road Test - Cargo Space

2012 FIAT 500 Long Term Road Test

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2012 Fiat 500 Sport: Rear Hatch Won't Open

March 26, 2012


I tried to open the rear hatch of our 2012 Fiat 500 this weekend and it wouldn't budge. After confirming it was unlocked I made a second attempt but with the same result. Various combinations of locking and unlocking the doors failed as well. I resorted to climibing inside and lowering the rear seatbacks to get my stuff out.

About an hour later I returned to the Fiat to try once more. The rear hatch opened perfectly. It did so time and again as if nothing happened. That was weird.

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 14,127 miles

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2012 Fiat 500 Sport: Doesn't Work on the Weekends

March 12, 2012


Just a "This might be broken" report. Apparently the trunk release button for our 2012 Fiat 500 Sport is broken, in that if you're lucky enough to be able to open the trunk to put something in it, nine times out of 10 you might not be able to get it out again. The only option at this point is to fold the backseat down and extract said trunk items the hard way.

This weekend I stowed my laptop bag in the trunk and when I got to my destination, went to open the hatch by pressing the trunk release button on the key fob and then pressing the button on the hatch under the "500" on the grab handle. But it wouldn't open. So then I tried the unlock button on the key fob and pressed the button on the trunk again. Nuthin'.

To make sure it wasn't just me and my bad luck with technology, I had another editor give it a go. He did the same things I did with the same result. "Yup, it's broken," he confirmed.

And this morning, three different car wash attendants tried it and couldn't get it open as well. On one hand, I'm glad it didn't work for them because then I would have felt extra stupid but on the other hand, I'd like this feature to work, ya know.

Fortunately, when I got to work and tried it again, it worked. Pfew! Three times in a row, nonetheless!

If this sort of thing happened to your car, would you take it in to get attended to right away or wait until you have to take your car in for another more serious issue? (Luckily, we have a vehicle testing manager to take care of such things for us -- making appointments, driving the car to the dealership, etc. -- and lots of back-up cars should the car have to stay overnight so it's not an inconvenience to attend to non-dire issues.)

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor

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2012 Fiat 500 Sport: Parts Hauler? Not so Much.

March 08, 2012


I sold one of my personal cars to purchase a Yamaha YZF-R1. Mid-life crisis, much? No, those who know me will say it's a full-life crisis. It took a few weeks between selling the car and finally taking delivery of the bike (an eternity, in my mind), and in the meantime, I did some shopping.

With the left over funds from the car sale, I spent like a drunken sailor. Of course, when I received the biggest shipment (Yoshimura carbon fiber exhaust slip-ons) I had already signed-out the Fiat 500. It fit, but just barely. You'll see more of the bike when I start posting on our Reader's Ride blog.

What is it with me, bikes and the Fiat?

The box required me to fold the rear seats flat. Not a big deal, I know, but I suppose it's a good thing I wasn't hauling car parts. I'm pretty sure the Fiat can hold a set of its own tires, but I doubt it would be able to carry tires for the Mustang or a Viper.

Really, though, how much (or little) do you think we can cram into the 500? How many Editors? How many bottles of beer?

Mark Takahashi, Automotive Editor @ 13,320 miles

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2012 Fiat 500 Sport: Put This in Your Boot, Mini.

January 17, 2012

fiat cargo.jpg

Arguably (or not, actually), the Fiat 500's chief rival is the Mini Cooper. Two tiny, fuel- and space efficient boxes that are fun to buzz around in. Yes, the Cooper is sportier, especially in turbocharged S form. But the forthcoming 500 Abarth looks very promising...

Sorry, I digress, this is supposed to be about something much more exciting...

After some serious procrastination on my part and subsequent urging on the part of the missus, we finally went to the laundromat. Three large gym/duffle bags and an overflowing basket were ready to challenge the 500's cargo capacity. After flipping the rear seats down they all just fit. I was pleasantly surprised, as I was prepared to pile a few of them atop each other.

Of course I had to then see how the 500 compares to the seven-inch-longer Mini Cooper hatchback. Whaddya know; the 500 has 25 percent more max cargo capacity -- 30.1 cubic feet versus the Mini's 24 cubes. And with the rear seats up, the 500 again has a sizable advantage, with 9.5 cf versus 5.7 cf. Maybe not as glamorous a victory as a superior slalom time, but more relevant for most folks.

John DiPietro, Automotive Editor @ 11,381 miles

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2012 Fiat 500 Sport: Thanks for the Bragging Rights

November 26, 2011

Thanks for bragging.jpg
The Fiat has been a nice companion so far this holiday weekend. I give it thanks for its cargo space, which was just big enough for a 20-pound turkey in its box, a jumbo eight-pack of paper towels and a bag of groceries. It supped a mere 8 gallons of gas today, and stayed under $32. Its brilliant color contrasts nicely with the russet shades of leaves as they turn. (Yes, out-of-staters, leaves turn color in California.)

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2012 Fiat 500 Sport: Will The Bike Fit?

October 20, 2011

500 and Voodoo.jpg

Challenges are good in life. So I figured, why not try to stuff a bike into the back of the Fiat 500? With something this diminutive, I knew it would be a total hassle and no doubt involve removing both wheels and who knows what else.

In other words, I'd make it fit somehow, but at what level of disassembly?

I chose my singlespeed mountain bike as the test dummy. It has normal-size 26-inch wheels (as opposed to 29-inchers like some of my mountain bikes), but a wider-than-roadbike handlebar with bar-end stubs, so it's not completely cheating. The singlespeed doesn't have a quick-release rear wheel, and I didn't want to have to remove that, but I was pretty sure it would be necessary anyway.


With rear seats folded, the front passenger seat moved all the way forward, and the one concession to the bike being lowering the seatpost (above and beyond removing the front wheel), believe it or not the mountain bike just barely squeezed in. With rear wheel still in place. I know, shocking.

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2012 Fiat 500 Sport: Will it (all) Fit?

September 29, 2011


I just got off of a plane from Vancouver, where I was driving the new Range Rover Evoque, and grabbed a taxi back to our Santa Monica headquarters. Then I did a quick costume change into my motorcycle gear for a night video shoot (story forthcoming). When I got back to the garage, I wondered if all of my luggage and riding gear would fit in the back with the cargo cover in place. In essence, "Will it fit?"

Yes, of course, as you can see in the photo. And yes, I know it's a crappy iPhone photo, but I did that on purpose. After all, I don't want to give away what the bike in the background is, do I? Got any guesses? And no, you cannot blow up the photo.

In my tired state, I didn't have the energy to dig through my luggage to find some sensible shoes. Instead, I kept the motorcycle boots on. I don't recommend this. It's like trying to work an iPhone with mittens on. Ladies, I'll never understand how you can drive in stilettos.

Mark Takahashi, Automotive Editor

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2012 Fiat 500 Sport: Will the Wing Fit?

September 07, 2011


I've decided to reinstall the factory Tea Tray spoiler on our 1985 Porsche 911. Don't tell the IL staff, it's going to be a surprise.


Well, we've had the car since February, and I think it'll be a nice change. Personally I love it without the wing, but I'm not afraid of change and you shouldn't be either.

Anyway, this morning I had to move the spoiler to a different location for installation and it thankfully and surprisingly fit in the back of out long-term 2012 Fiat 500. Well, it just fit with both rear seats folded.

More on the Tea Tray installation later.

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief @ 7,767 miles

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2012 Fiat 500 Sport: Errand Buddy

September 06, 2011


Forget Fiat 500, I shall call this car, Errand Buddy.

Because for whipping around town, making multiple stops, loading groceries and other small purchases in and out of the rear hatch, it just doesn't get any easier than my new Errand Buddy.

The Fiat 500 has everything I need for a busy day of local runs. And best of all, since not even an 11-year-old wants to climb repeatedly in and out of the back seat, I get to do the errands all by myself.

Kelly Toepke, News Editor @ 7,743 miles

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2012 Fiat 500: A Little Help Closing the Hatch

July 28, 2011


There's a dinky little nylon loop on the inside of our long-term 2012 Fiat 500's hatch. It's really only big enough to grab with your right index finger, but the hatch is so small and light that you actually can get the leverage you need to close it in one motion.

More importantly, the loop is riveted securely onto the hatch, so unlike with our Volvo S60's grab handle, I haven't broken it yet.

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2012 Fiat 500: Dwarfed By The Mini Cooper?

July 20, 2011

fiat 500 and mini cooper.jpg
So I know the 500 is smaller than the Mini Cooper, but when I saw a Cooper parked on Wilshire the other day, I couldn't resist the urge to get the little cars parked next to each other for a visual comparison.

The Cooper is obviously longer and wider. Relative to the Cooper, though, the 500's cabin is roomier than you might think, in certain respects.

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Past Long-Term Road Tests