Feature

New cars: 2012 Fiat 500

What the critics say about the $15,500 Fiat 500

The Wall Street Journal
The U.S. arrival of Fiat’s “spunky” update of the original Nuova 500 “will have
Mini/Honda Fit/Smart car owners looking up trade-in values.” This somewhat larger—but still ultracompact—version sports a peppy 1.4-liter engine and modern safety and driver-control features, along with an upbeat attitude. Owning a “Cinquecento,” as Italians call it, is all about “being economical” while “looking like you’re having the time of your life.”

Car and Driver
Though the new 500 is “retro-adorable inside, too,” ­it has an interior “befitting a $16,000 car”—with lots of hard, hollow plastic. The 101-hp engine lacks accelerating power, and fuel economy isn’t great if you choose automatic transmission. Still, we suspect buyers will opt for the 500’s “personality” over its performance.

Motor Trend
From its driver’s seat, “you’d never know” how small it looks to bystanders. Fiat has carefully calibrated its “Renaissance” mini car to American tastes, with a roomy interior and enough power to drive with “relaxed smoothness” at highway speeds. We were “all prepared to find fault with this car.” Instead we came away “infatuated.”

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