2015 Fiat 500Buying Guide • Review • Research
Driving the 2015 Fiat 500 is engaging by almost any measure. The base model gets a 101 hp engine which though not as peppy as the higher trim levels, gives good performance and response. The Turbo models with 135 hp engines and the top-of-the-range Abarth with a 160 hp engine actually feel truly sporty, especially in the lower gears. The raucous exhaust note completes the sportiness of the vehicle.
Top Ten Reasons to Buy the 2015 Fiat 5001. Excellent Powertrain Performance
Both the lower and upper trim levels of the Fiat 500 give miles upon miles of trouble-free performance. The brakes in the older models worked quite well, though not quite as well as those of close peer Mini Cooper S. In its defense, the Mini Cooper S requires new braked pads every 30,000 miles whereas the Fiat 500 will go for much longer between changes. Steering is very precise and tight, with the precision being most evident in the Abarth. The power in such a tiny vehicle is quite entertaining--the Fiat 500 can go from 0-60 mph in 6.5 seconds. The Abarth has no muffler fitted, leading to a wonderful growl which is nevertheless quiet enough at highway speeds. The suspension system is fairly stiff which is to be expected in a performance model but not too uncomfortable on less-than-perfect roads.
2. Excellent Fuel Economy
All the 3 Fiat 500 models have excellent fuel economy. Though not as miserly as some of the small cars in the U.S. today, it’s nevertheless much more efficient than the average vehicle on U.S. roads. The Abarth manages 28/34 mpg while the base Fiat 500 five-speed manual transmission takes that up to 31/40 mpg. The optional six-speed automatic does 27/34 mpg. The engines can be a bit tight when new, with fuel efficiency increasing once you crack the 4000- mile mark.
3. Optimal Driving Position and Visibility
The driving position of the Fiat 500 can feel a bit odd at first for drivers who are used to driving other small sports cars. The seating position is very high and upright. In comparison, seating in a Ford Mustang feels like sitting in a bowl. The sitting position, however, lends itself well to excellent visibility, with a built-in spot mirror on the driver’s side to overcome the blind spot.
4. Good Warranty and Maintenance Costs
The Abarth comes with a 3-year 36,000 mile scheduled maintenance (oil changes and tire rotations) for the first 3 oil changes. At 30,000 miles, the car requires additional filter changes along with new spark plugs. The factory specifies oil change intervals at one year or 10,000 miles whichever comes first. The factory wiper blades are awesome and worth every penny they cost during replacement.
5. Impressive Audio & Navigation Systems
Fiat 500 comes with a standard Alpine audio system and an optional and more expensive Beats Audio system. This might come as s surprise but the standard system actually sounds better. The 2015 Fiat 500 models have Bluetooth audio streaming and a Microsoft-based ‘‘Blue and Me’’ system that works well for hands-free cellphone use and can also be paired easily with an iPhone.
6. Trouble-free Handling
The Fiat 500 might not be the sportiest handling car available in the market, but its small size makes it very easy to maneuver in traffic and tight parking spaces, making it an excellent choice for city folks.
7. Eye-Catching Exterior Styling
The Fiat 500 is simply great eye candy that is guaranteed to catch the eyes of everybody wherever you drive. The Fiat 500 adds something svelte to its tall and somewhat upright shape. The lower third of the shape manages to hide the extra bulk demanded by modern safety standards while the combination of cues such as button-like headlamps, forward-sloping rear glass, upward-sloping sides and the mustache bar in the front all make up for a thoroughly modern look built in the classic Cinquecento shape.
8. Imaginative Interior Styling
The Fiat 500 looks equally great on the inside as it does from the outside. At first glance, the inside looks a little bit too gimmicky and over-styled. But, a closer peek reveals that the arrangement of the controls and displays is a lot more well-thought out and intuitive than many of its peers. The car has simple concentric gauges yet the attention to detail and the infusion of color makes them appear playful and appealing.
9. Adequate Safety Features and Braking
The Fiat 500 handles very well and is loaded with a host of safety features. Its four-wheel disc anti-lock brakes are fast and responsive without being too grabby.
10. Reasonable Price
The Fiat 500 is priced mid-range for small sports cars - $17,000 for the base model and $27,000 for the Abarth.
Reasons You Might Not Want To Buy the Fiat 5001. Cramped Rear Seat
Perhaps the biggest downside to the Fiat 500 is the cramped rear seating and the poor entry/exit. The rear seats look something like those of Porsche 911. It’s hard imagining traveling for long trips wedged in the rear seat.
2. Squeaky Brakes
Though functionally sound, the Fiat 500 sometimes has squeaky brakes.
3. Rough Ride
The Fiat 500 can give a bit of a rough ride primarily due to its small size and stiff suspension. This might not be a big problem where roads are relatively smooth but can be a bit of a headache when motoring on rough pavements.
4. No Towing
Towing is not recommended for any Fiat 500 model.
5. Diesel Problems
For Fiat 500 models that are powered by a diesel engine, the diesel particulate filter can be problematic due to frequent blockages. A simple answer to this would be to buy the petrol models of course.
Despite a few drawbacks, overall the 2015 Fiat 500 is a great small sports car. The car’s striking looks, great fuel economy and easy handling makes it a top contender for the most beloved small sports car in the U.S in 2015.