2013 Fiat 500 Sport 1.4 I4 from North America
A car for cities -- which is where most of us spend ALL OF OUR TIME
I am most often behind the wheel of 4x4 vehicles. I'm not married to that arrangement, but that's just how things work out between employment and weekend activities (you are NOT going to take the Fiat 500 down the ol' access road or abandoned logging road).
I do drive regular cars, here and there, and have pretty strong opinions about what a car should do: handle very well; go quickly; use relatively little fuel; not be a money pit; not look like a sculptural interpretation of the color Beige; carry four passengers and/OR have impressive track times. The Fiat 500 does most of these.
The engine is fine for urban driving and will pull you along the highways. I have not taken this model on a proper road trip and have no idea how it would react to mountain passes. I do not like the sound of the engine when it is tasked -- like a lawnmower. I wouldn't suggest that this equates to durability issues, but to my ears it does sound sloppy and unrefined.
Despite the clunky engine feel, the Fiat 500 is still fun to rev-up and zip through and around bothersome traffic.
Handling is great. This IS a city car and it does the city well. Cornering is very good and requires little braking compared to compacts like the Corolla or Civic.
The interior is odd, like an upmarket fast-food joint. Not really my thing, but I have seen much worse. Seats and dash scuff-up easily, but you can just buff 'em out.
Seating and storage are somewhat limited. However, I hope that no one would purchase this as a family car, and not doing so would leave a lot of storage with the rear seats down -- plenty for groceries or the typical owner's trip to Ikea or whatever. Not sure that I would make adults sit in back for longer than 10 minutes. Comfort is just average, though the seat backs are nice and tall.
Fuel efficiency is good, though my mind is not blown given the car's low size and weight. Around 33 MPG in town.
Live in a good-sized city? Hate trying to work your way around awful urban planning and traffic jams? This thing might do the job.
I do not understand the whole (USA only) tiny-car-as-fashion-statement trend, and find it and the participants annoying. In the end, though, I think that the Fiat 500 transcends this stupidity by being good at what it's made for.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know
Review Date: 22nd September, 2013
Don't worry about fuel mileage. When I first bought my Pop, I was getting 38 MPG in mixed driving. Now after around 12,000 miles, I'm averaging 41 MPG mixed driving. I guess it needed a break-in period. I have had zero problems with my Pop. I will buy another... too much fun to drive compared to other "boring" cars.
These kind of cars worry me over long term reliability. A model disappears in a country and returns later. I would rather buy a Civic or similar that's been around. Same with hybrids of all kinds, and that includes Honda. Give me a traditional drive train that runs regular gas. You still have high mileage; maybe not the highest, but it has long term durability that's been proven. I still remember the old Fiats in America, and it's not forgotten.
It's natural to have some hesitation, but what you are thinking of was from another generation over 30 years ago. Audi had major reliability issues back in the 1980's, and they disappeared for many years, only to come back and dominate the luxury car segment.