2018 FIAT 500 Review
Edmunds expert review
Subcompact cars generally aren't much to write home about. They usually sacrifice materials quality, quick acceleration and an exciting driving experience in exchange for a rock-bottom price tag. Something must have been lost in the English to Italian translation, however, because the 2018 Fiat 500 offers what others don't. Not only is this pint-size coupe fun to drive, but it also brings distinctly European design flair to this otherwise dowdy segment.
The 500 has been on sale for a while now without any significant refresh, but the things we liked about it when it debuted for the 2012 model year hold true even today. The cabin design surpasses many in this field, and its cute looks still command attention on the road. Plus, the previous naturally aspirated base engine has been replaced with a turbocharged unit, so this year's 500 is noticeably quicker than the 2017 model.
On the other hand, we're not sold on the top Abarth trim's performance chops, especially considering you can get the more luxurious and faster Mini Hardtop for about the same price. We think the base Pop and more luxurious Lounge are both better buys. There are still some inherent downsides, too, such as the cabin that's really only big enough for two people. Overall, though, the 500 is a good choice if you want an affordable subcompact with some personality.
What's new for 2018
Trim levels & features
The 2018 Fiat 500 is a small city car with seating for four, although the rear seats are only suitable for very small children. It's available as a two-door hatchback or convertible (Fiat calls this the 500C) that uses fixed roof rails and a folding center portion. The base Pop model is lightly equipped, but its price is quite reasonable. The midlevel Lounge is more expensive, but many will find the leather upholstery and other goodies worth the extra cost. The performance-oriented Abarth rounds out the lineup, with a peppier engine, sport-tuned suspension and boisterous exhaust note.
All three trims are powered by a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine that drives the front wheels. A five-speed manual transmission is standard, while a six-speed automatic is optional. In the Pop and Lounge models, the engine produces 135 horsepower and 150 pound-feet of torque. Abarth models receive a modest but noticeable power bump: Manual-equipped versions produce 160 hp and 170 lb-ft, while automatic models make 157 hp and 183 lb-ft.
Standard features for the Pop trim include 16-inch alloy wheels, a rearview camera, hill start assist, heated mirrors, foglights, keyless locking and unlocking, air conditioning, full power accessories, cruise control, cloth upholstery, a height-adjustable driver's seat, a 7-inch color driver information display, 50/50-split folding rear seatbacks, a tilt-only leather-wrapped steering wheel, a cargo cover, and Fiat Chrysler's Uconnect infotainment interface with a 5-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth, voice controls, and a six-speaker Alpine audio system with an auxiliary audio input and two USB ports (one for mobile device integration, the other for charging). The Pop convertible also comes with rear parking sensors.
The luxurious Lounge trim includes all of the above, plus chrome exterior trim, a fixed glass roof, rear parking sensors, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, automatic climate control, heated front seats, leather upholstery and satellite radio.
At the top of the Fiat 500 food chain is the performance-focused Abarth. It includes the parking sensors from the Lounge and adds a more powerful engine, a rear spoiler, sportier suspension tuning, upgraded brakes with red-painted calipers, a performance exhaust system, distinctive exterior and interior styling tweaks, premium cloth upholstery, a leather-wrapped shift knob, a sport steering wheel and front floor mats.
Some of the Lounge's extra features can be added to the Pop and Abarth as options. Other popular options include a sunroof for coupe models, 17-inch wheels for the Abarth, a six-speaker Beats Audio sound system with a trunk-mounted subwoofer, a navigation system, and a variety of Mopar-branded exterior and interior styling enhancements.
Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the Fiat 500C Abarth Convertible (turbo 1.4L inline-4 | 6-speed automatic | FWD).
NOTE: Since this test was conducted in 2015, the current 500 has received some revisions, including a new touchscreen in 2016. Our findings remain broadly applicable to this year's 500, however.
Noise & vibration2.0
Ease of use2.0
Getting in/getting out2.5
Edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.