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MSRP: $16,245 - 33,210

7.2

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 7.3
Performance: 7.4
Interior: 6.6
Safety: 8.4
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2019 FIAT 500 Review

The 2019 Fiat 500 is a good daily driver with easy maneuverability. However, its cramped, low-grade cabin pushes it near the bottom of our subcompact car rankings.

Pros & Cons

  • Good city commuter
  • Powerful Abarth model
  • Easy-to-use infotainment system
  • Low-quality cabin
  • Cramped seating space

Is the Fiat 500 a Good Car?

The 2019 Fiat 500 is an OK car. It can easily snake through congested city streets, and backing into a tight parking space is a breeze. You can also opt for the performance-oriented Abarth model, which has a good amount of power for driving at higher speeds. However, there are some shortcomings that ultimately drag the 500 down in our subcompact car rankings. It has one of the smallest passenger and cargo areas in the class, and its use of hard plastics makes the cabin look and feel cheap.    

Should I Buy the Fiat 500?

The 500 is a solid choice for shoppers who don’t need much cargo or passenger space and will primarily be driving in the city. However, there are many more well-rounded competitors, including the Honda Fit and the Mini Cooper. The Fit is just as maneuverable as the 500, but it offers an upscale interior with additional passenger and cargo space. The Mini offers a stylish interior like the Fiat, but its material quality is much nicer. The Cooper also delivers sporty handling around curvy roads.

Compare the 500, Fit, and Cooper »

Should I Buy a New or Used Fiat 500?

The 2019 Fiat 500 is part of a generation that debuted for the 2012 model year. Fiat made many changes over the years, starting off with the addition of an available Beats audio system to the 2013 Fiat 500. The 2013 model year was also the first for the 500 Turbo and Abarth Cabrio trims. For 2014, the 1957 special edition model was introduced. The base 2015 Fiat 500 gained standard Bluetooth, a second USB port, and a digital cluster display. For the 2016 500, Fiat added a standard 5-inch touch screen and the Easy trim level. The Easy, Sport, and Turbo trims were all discontinued for 2017, which is the same year the 1957 Retro Edition took a year off. However, many of the 2017 Fiat 500’s options became available in all trim levels. For the 2018 Fiat 500, a turbocharged engine and a rearview camera became standard. There are no notable changes for 2019.

If you’re going to buy a 500, the 2018 model is your best bet because it has a more powerful base engine. Read our 2017 and 2018 Fiat 500 overviews if you're considering an older model. Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Fiat dealer.

Compare the 2017, 2018, and 2019 Fiat 500 »

We Did the Research for You: 88 Reviews Analyzed

We’ve analyzed 88 Fiat 500 reviews, as well as performance specs, interior dimensions, fuel economy ratings, and more, to give you all the information you need to make a smart car-buying decision.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News & World Report has been reviewing cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007, and our Best Cars team has more than 75 years of combined automotive industry experience. To remain impartial, we do not accept extravagant gifts from automakers, and an outside source handles our advertising.

This review uses applicable research and data from all model years of the current 500 generation, which runs from 2012 to 2019.

How Much Does the Fiat 500 Cost?

The 2019 Fiat 500 starts at $16,245, which is slightly above the class average. The mid-level Lounge trim starts at $19,745, and the top-of-the-line Abarth starts at $20,495.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Fiat dealer. 

Fiat 500 Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Fiat 500 or Honda Fit?

The highly ranked Honda Fit is one of the more well-rounded subcompact cars. The Fit has a roomy cabin, and there’s even enough space in the back row for tall adults. Additionally, at a whopping 52.7 cubic feet, the Fit’s cargo area is much larger than the 500's. Despite its practicality, the Fit has one of the most engaging rides in the class, as well as composed handling and responsive steering. Plus, it does a good job of smoothing out road bumps. However, the 500 does have a few advantages over the Fit. While both vehicles feel short on power at high speeds, the 500 is available with a more potent engine that makes highway driving more tolerable. The Fiat’s continuously variable automatic transmission also doesn’t drone at highway speeds like the Honda’s. Nonetheless, the Fit is still a better choice.  

Which Is Better: Fiat 500 or Mini Cooper?

You'll have to spend more for the Mini Cooper, but it's a nicer subcompact car than the 500. Like the Fiat, it has retro styling inside and out, but the Cooper has a higher-quality cabin than the 500. Inside, the Mini has a larger standard infotainment display than the Fiat (6.5 inches versus 5 inches), as well as more overall cargo space. The Cooper also dominates the 500 when it comes to performance. Its sharp steering and firm suspension help make it fun to drive, and it has two available turbocharged engines that are more powerful than the 500's optional turbo engine. The Cooper's stiff suspension reduces ride comfort, but it's a superior option nonetheless.  

Compare the 500, Fit, and Cooper »

500 Interior

How Many People Does the 500 Seat?

There's seating for up to four people in the 500. The front row has a good amount of space for such a small vehicle as long as you skip the optional sunroof, which limits headroom. Some drivers may also struggle to find a comfortable driving position since the 500 lacks of a telescoping steering wheel. Space is limited in the back row, so passengers will likely feel restricted. Additionally, rear visibility is limited when the top is down in Cabrio (convertible) models, but a standard rearview camera somewhat mitigates this problem.

500 Interior Quality

The 500's Italian-designed cabin is pleasing to the eyes, but its interior materials are a letdown. The quality of most materials in the cabin are poor, and there are several hard-touch plastics here and there. However, upgrades like leather-trimmed front seats are available.

500 Cargo Space

The 500 comes up short on cargo space. With the rear seats up, it has 9.5 cubic feet of space. Drop them down, and the cargo capacity tops out at 30.1 cubic feet. Don't even think about purchasing the Cabrio model if you're in need of cargo space. It comes with 5.4 cubic feet, which is barely enough room for a few grocery bags.

500 Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

The 500 comes standard with a generous host of technology. This includes the Uconnect infotainment system with a 5-inch touch screen, two USB ports, voice command capability, six speakers, and Bluetooth. Optional features include a Beats premium audio system and navigation.

The standard infotainment system is easy to use, but reviewers note that its push-button controls for audio and climate settings aren't as convenient as regular control knobs. 

For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto?

Read more about interior »

500 Performance

500 Engine: Enough Power

A 135-horsepower, turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine powers the base Fiat 500. Acceleration is adequate for navigating city streets, but it isn't ideal for commuting on the highway. The engine also has a bit of turbo lag from a standstill. If you're craving a little more power, a turbo-four that makes roughly 160 horsepower is available.

A five-speed manual transmission is standard, and a six-speed automatic transmission is optional. Some reviewers claim that the manual transmission works better with this vehicle, but the automatic transmission still delivers quick shifts.

An all-electric 500e model is also available in California and Oregon.

500 Gas Mileage: Just OK

With the base engine and automatic transmission, the 500 delivers 24 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway, which is so-so for the class.

500 Ride and Handling: Perfect for the City

The 500's small size makes it a fantastic vehicle for city driving. You can easily maneuver it through small spaces. Opt for the Abarth model and you'll get a more engaging ride due in part to performance upgrades like an enhanced suspension system. That said, the 500 doesn't handle as well on the highway because of its minimal steering feedback and top-heavy feel.

Read more about performance »

500 Reliability

Is the Fiat 500 Reliable?

J.D. Power gives the 2019 Fiat 500 a predicted reliability rating of three out of five, which is about average.

Fiat 500 Warranty

The 500 comes with a four-year/50,000-mile warranty.

Read more about reliability »

500 Safety

500 Crash Test Results

Neither the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety nor the National Highway Traffic Administration has crash tested the 2019 Fiat 500. The IIHS gave the relatively identical 2018 500 the highest rating of Good in four crash tests, but the model received the lowest rating of Poor in the driver-side small overlap front crash test. The NHTSA gave the 2019 Fiat 500 four out of five stars in frontal crash and rollover tests.

500 Safety Features

The 500 comes standard with a rearview camera, and rear parking sensors are available. Many rivals offer more advanced safety features.

Read more about safety »

Which Fiat 500 Model Is Right for Me?

The 500 comes in three main trims: Pop, Lounge, and Abarth. These trims are available in coupe and Cabrio (convertible) body styles.

The base Pop trim offers a good host of features, including a 5-inch touch screen and voice controls. However, the Lounge trim features some comfort-oriented features that are sure to make the 500's cabin more pleasant, such as leather-trimmed front seats. Performance-oriented shoppers should consider purchasing the Abarth model. Some of its upgrades include a stronger engine and a retuned suspension. A 1957 Retro Edition trim is also available, which has unique interior and exterior styling that gives it a vintage look and feel.

Fiat 500 Pop

The Pop trim starts at $16,245 and features an infotainment system with a 5-inch touch screen, Bluetooth, two USB ports, voice command, and six speakers. The Pop trim also comes with cloth upholstery and 50/50 split-folding rear seats.

Fiat 500 Lounge

Starting at $19,745, the 500 Lounge adds leather-trimmed upholstery, heated front seats, heated mirrors, and rear parking sensors.

Fiat 500 Abarth

The Abarth trim starts at $20,495. Besides its stronger turbocharged four-cylinder engine, it also comes with a performance-tuned suspension system, upgraded brakes, and a leather-wrapped shift knob.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Fiat dealer.

See 2019 Fiat 500 specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2019 Fiat 500 can navigate through busy streets with ease, making it a solid option for city dwellers. Its distinctive styling is also a perk. That said, it isn't a great option for those shopping for a subcompact car to do a lot of highway driving in. If that’s what you're looking for, you'll want to bypass this Fiat. Many of its rivals are not only zippier on the highway, but they also provide more cabin space.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • It's an affordable car targeting the budget-minded. It has some flair, an Italian personality and, particularly in its Abarth guise, is fun to drive. You won't find any of those pesky driver-assist/safety technologies like lane-keeping assist or emergency braking. It's about affordable transportation. Only its lackluster fuel-economy numbers provide a real caveat when recommending it as a wallet-friendly driver." -- Autotrader
  • Nimble handling and a free-revving engine make the funky, retro-styled Fiat 500 microcar engaging to drive. Zippy around town and easy to park, this two-door subcompact seems the ideal urban runabout. Its cuteness may be undeniable, and the front cabin is surprisingly spacious, but slow acceleration, a choppy ride and a noisy interior detract from the fun. Other drawbacks include an awkward driving position, cramped backseats that are hard to reach, and a skinflint cargo area." -- Consumer Reports (2018)
  • "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." -- Edmunds (2018)
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