2019 Fiat 500Should you buy?
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Fiat has been making the 500 since 2012, and the 2019 Fiat 500 continues the trend of having a big personality for such a little car. With its smooth ride quality and small size making for a laid-back driving experience, the new 500 has some good things to offer its drivers. However, it does have some drawbacks that might steer you away from buying this vehicle.
What's New for 2019?
The only new items on the 2019 Fiat 500 are the 1957 interior appearance and exterior packages. Other than that, you can expect to find the Fiat 500 to be relatively unchanged from its 2018 model year line-up. Since it has been in its current (and first) generation since 2012, a redesign should be on the horizon.
Top 10 Reasons to Buy a 2019 Fiat 500 – The Pros
1. A Big Personality For a Very Modest Price
Looks-wise, the 2019 Fiat 500 stands out. On the outside, it has a lot of distinctive features and a curved body that just doesn't look like anything else that is on the road. The line-topping Abarth model is particularly striking. However, its personality does not stop there. The interior colors are eye-catching regardless of which trim level you get, and the spunk you get from the 500 in terms of its ride quality give this little car a big personality. The price just makes the 500 even that much more attractive.
2. A Cozy Ride Quality
The Fiat 500 has a gentle and comfortable ride quality, which is impressive for a vehicle in this class. Sure, the Fiat 500 is supposed to be more of a sporty vehicle, but it does not give you the excessive firmness that you might expect from it. Instead, the ride is pretty relaxing, as even rough bumps on the surface of the road can be smoothed over with ease.
3. Fits Easily Into Tight Spaces
Of course, the 2019 Fiat 500 is a vehicle that you can easily navigate into and out of tight spaces. This is certainly helpful for those who live in sprawling urban centers where parking is, at best, crammed. The front doors do open wide, but this will not present much of a problem while parking since the vehicle is pretty svelte. With the rearview camera as standard equipment, backing out is all the more simple, and you will not need much room to get into and out of a parallel or perpendicular parking spot.
4. A Retro Design for the Interior
The throwback design you get on the Fiat 500's interior is exciting if you are into classic cars. The different design elements seem to be thoughtfully pieced together so as to create this nostalgic vibe. It does not exactly make for the most functional controls layout, but it definitely hearkens back to days gone by.
5. Good Handling Capabilities for its Segment
The 2019 Fiat 500 has remarkably good handling abilities for a vehicle in this class. A lot of the economy minis have pretty poor handling capabilities, so it seems that Fiat is trying to step it up a notch by improving the 500's handling. It certainly does not have the impeccable traction control of larger vehicles, but the 500 feels secure enough, even though the Abarth just isn't that sporty.
6. The Manual Transmission is Smooth
If you are going to buy the new Fiat 500, you might want to consider sticking with the manual transmission instead of opting for the automatic. The standard five-speed manual transmission is a lot smoother than the automatic, which tends to hesitate after you start the car up.
7. Sport Mode
Since we are talking about the manual transmission here, we have to address the Sport mode. One press of this button, and your ride quality becomes more enjoyable. This sharpens your car's shifting points and refines the handling a bit more. It also works to boost the throttle pedal's response to the engine as well as the steering's response. Overall, it creates a much more precise and dynamic ride.
8. Getting In and Out of the Front is Easy
While entering and exiting the rear seat is quite a chore, the front is less of a hassle. The doors open wide, and since they are so short, you should be able to get in and out of them a lot more easily when you are stuck in a tight parking spot. Of course, this tiny vehicle was virtually designed for snagging those otherwise hard-to-access parking spots.
9. The Standard Rearview Camera
Since there are some issues with visibility when you put the top of the 2019 Fiat 500 down, the standard rearview camera really comes in handy. It allows you to see what is behind you so that you can more efficient back out of a parking space. Since the 500 is dwarfed by so many larger vehicles, backing out of a spot that is located between a couple of SUVs or trucks would be quite complicated if not for the rearview camera system.
10. Visibility is Good With the Top Up
Keeping the top up will allow for good visibility all around the vehicle. The roof pillars are quite slender, so you get a good perspective out of the front and rear windshields. The windows on the doors are also wide enough to allow some visibility to the sides.
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Reasons Not to Buy a 2019 Fiat 500 – The Cons
1. Slow to Accelerate
Unfortunately, the 2019 Fiat 500 has quite a few drawbacks. One of its biggest pitfalls is that the 500 is slow to accelerate. It takes the supposedly sporty Abarth model 7.5 seconds to go from 0 to 60 mph, which lags behind its competitors by one second or more. Things are somewhat more fluid when you have the manual transmission and flip it into Sport mode. The automatic transmission just feels clunky, and the standard 1.4-L 4-cylinder engine feels underpowered. It makes for an underwhelming performance that will leave most drivers wanting more.
2. An Underwhelming Fuel Economy
Another lackluster aspect of the Fiat 500 is its fuel economy. For being a small vehicle with a tiny engine, you would expect better gas mileage. That just is not the case here. On the 6-speed automatic transmission, the Fiat 500 can get about 27 mpg combined (24 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway) while the 5-speed manual transmission gets around 30 combined mpg (28 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway). While these numbers are not necessarily bad, they do seem low compared to what some of the 500's top rivals achieve this model year.
3. The Abarth Model is Lackluster
We want the Abarth trim to be cool. It is the line-topper for the 2019 Fiat 500, and it looks nice on the outside. Sadly, under the hood, the Abarth just does not measure up. It is supposed to be the sportiest trim, yet it feels underpowered and sluggish to accelerate. For a starting MSRP of around $20,000, your money might be better invested elsewhere. This just is not the best model in its class.
4. Diminished Visibility
With the top up, visibility is not too much of a problem. However, when you take it down, you severely limit your visibility to the rear. Also, you will not be able to access the trunk while this hard panoramic sunroof-like top is in the down position. It is a moderate inconvenience, to say the least.
How it stacks up to the competition:
2019 Fiat 500 vs. 2019 Honda Fit
The 2019 Fiat 500 has serious competition from the 2019 Honda Fit. The Fit is surprisingly much roomier than the 500 and gets some of the best fuel economy numbers in this segment. On the downside, it does not have the most secure-feeling brakes, even though they are pretty easy to modulate. They're just a touch too soft.
2019 Fiat 500 vs. 2019 MINI Hardtop 2-door
The 2019 MINI Hardtop 2-door is another top contender against this year's Fiat 500. It has a series of powerful powertrain options that provide good returns on fuel. The MINI Hardtop 2-door is also very chic on the inside and has a ton of features that make it worth its higher price tag. However, the MINI Hardtop 2-door has a ride that can feel stiff, especially with the larger tires equipped. Also, the manual transmission has a shifter and clutch that lack feeling.
The 2019 Fiat 500 is something of a mixed bag. While it handles well in a lot of situations and is nimble enough to fit into extremely tight parking spots, the 500 lacks power and substance under the hood. The interior might also feel a bit dated and even cheap compared to some of its rivals. With a mediocre fuel economy and slow acceleration speed, the 2019 Fiat 500 is probably going to be one of those vehicles that gets passed over for snazzier models this year.
• Why buy a 2018 Fiat 500? w/ pros vs cons