2018 FIAT 500 Review
Pros & Cons
- Fun and distinctive styling
- Handling abilities are much better than other low-priced superminis
- Fairly comfortable ride for a car of this size
- Lots of personality for the price
- Disappointing fuel economy given the slow acceleration
- Poor rear visibility with the convertible's top lowered
- Abarth model isn't very quick or much fun
- Cramped interior
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Which 500 does Edmunds recommend?
The 2018 Fiat 500 is a spunky car that deserves a little extra Italian flair with its cute-as-a-button looks. That's why we'd go with the mid-trim Lounge. The price jump is pretty high, but the 500 Lounge is still reasonably priced. The extra cash outlay primarily adds leather upholstery and a glass roof, but there are other goodies such as satellite radio and heated front seats, too. We're not impressed by the Abarth's purported performance chops, even though it's not much more expensive than the Lounge, so we wouldn't recommend that one unless you absolutely need the additional power.
Edmunds' Expert Review
The Abarth may look and sound sporty, but its actions don't back up the bravado. With 157 horsepower, you can spin the front tires at full throttle. But in terms of instrumented acceleration numbers, it can barely keep up with the base Mini Cooper Hardtop, let alone the Cooper S model.
Limitations to seat and steering wheel adjustability compromise comfort, and the contouring of the front seat will bother some drivers. The lack of adequate elbow padding and the drone of the engine and exhaust further hurt comfort scores. The ride quality is decent enough.
While the 500's minimalist interior has a certain retro design appeal, it also serves to limit the functionality of many systems. The limited passenger space leaves it trailing rivals by a considerable margin.
The cabriolet's trunk only measures 5.4 cubic feet, roughly half the capacity of the hatchback model. The tiny opening hampers usefulness. It's a struggle to get a carry-on suitcase to fit. Interior storage is minimal, with shallow door pockets and cramped cupholders.
Most helpful consumer reviews
Pop 2dr Hatchback (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 5M)
Turbo charging changed the driving experience for the 500. I drove my Neon for 13 years / 180 K miles. I loved its reliability ($300 in parts outside of scheduled maintenance), and getting 37.5 MPG over its life. It's hard to replace a car like that. Saving for 4 years, I test drove them all. I came close to buying the Fiat 124, but this little guy had similar pizzazz, as well as being practical. Performance is excellent, even in Oregon's heavy rains and, though marketed as a city car, it was comfortable on a 250 mile trip. I read the back seats are uncomfortable but, if the passengers are under 6', it seems adequate and it carries 5 bags of groceries w/o folding the rear seats. The controls are well thought out and the speedo provides lots of useful information. The drawback is that the stereo is part of the control system. I would like to upgrade it, but best I could do was replacing the speakers. It lacks navigation, except thru a phone, and its voice recognition is inadequate at freeway speeds. For value, the car was CHEAP, $14K out the door (tax, license, etc). Fuel economy is OK at 35 MPG freeway, compared to the Dodge's 41. I don't know about maintenance, except oil changes are dealer-only, $100 every 8K miles, due to special spec oil. It is a hard car to customize, and parts are limited to bling. Mostly, with its pep, decent fuel economy, and 15' turning radius, it's a joy to drive as my retirement car. Update 2 years later: It had 3 faults work during the first 8 months, all covered 100%. I deleted the rear seats, which provides decent room for cargo and transporting 3 dogs. I added sound deadening, upgraded speakers and amp, so the sound system is better than any I've heard in any new car. It's a blast to drive and it's been years since I've hard a car that navigates city traffic/parking like this one.
Pop 2dr Hatchback (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 5M)
everything you could want if you are looking for a small car..peppy ,( it was a must for me) cute , great interior colors . My only complaint so far is there is hardly any room to put the key in the ignition to start the car.
C Pop 2dr Convertible (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 5M)
I really don't mind the small trunk. Or the fact other small cars get better MPG. This car is cute, sporty, and fit my price range. My only complaint is that the touch screen, which doubles as the backup cam. It's completely useless when the top is down. The sun glare is so intense. 32MPG on average. Enough zippy power in town and on the highway. Plenty of room for my son and I. And in a pinch...two adults can fit in the back seat. This is truly an amazing car for the price. My only regret...is the fact I won't be able to replace it with a new one when it is gone.
Abarth 2dr Hatchback (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 5M)
So I have had a 2018 for nearly a year now. I drive about 20k miles yearly and my drive includes driving through the blue ridge mountains. With me owning a 5spd and driving normal I averaged 38mpg. One the rare occasions that I have driven it on flat land at 55 I've turned 42-44mpg. The thing I can say is best about my car is the smile that I have while driving it. A freind has a stage 2.5 Jetta gli came back after a short drive with a huge smile and saying how fun the car is. The exhaust note is great for a 4cyl. Unlike many car companies the Abarth doesn't need to have sounds pipped through the speakers to sound great to the driver. I do have a couple of younger children and they fit fine in the back of the car. I have done a week's worth of grocery shopping using the small trunk. If I can be completely honest though, buy one used as the depreciation is crazy. Low mileage used ones can be had for half the cost of a new one. At the end of the day life is too short to drive boring cars. A golf gti is all around better, but damn it's sooo boring. This is a car for those who don't want to be boring. 2020 update: The car now has 20K on the clock and I have yet to have a single issue mechanically. I have developed an intermittent rattle from somewhere. The car drove well enough the only time we got snow on stock Pirelli all seasons.
Features & Specs
Our experts like the 500 models:
- ParkSense Rear Park Assist System
- Sounds an alert as the Fiat 500 approaches an object behind the car.
- ParkView Rear Backup Camera
- Displays an image of the area directly behind the car in the central touchscreen.
- Hill Start Assist
- Keeps the brakes applied even after you let your foot off the pedal while on a hill to prevent rolling backward.