I'm the original author, and I didn't get a lemon. A rental Pop that I drove had similar issues, and the scratched-plastic-door issue is well-documented on various Fiat forums.
The scratches are much more noticeable on black plastic doors than white ones. Perhaps you have a white one.
Also, the rattles and squeaks didn't really kick off until about 5,000 miles. I'd come back after a year and see if you've still got a quiet car.
Now sure, squeaks and rattles aren't a reliability issue per se, but they're something one expects in a much cheaper car like a Kia or Yaris.
I have 18,000 miles on my 2012 Fiat 500, and have not had any of the issues described above. Not one warranty visit.
I looked at Fiat 500s this year and last year at the local auto show, and was amazed at the wear shown on the leather seats from all the people getting in and out of them. Granted, the car is relatively new and I am sure lots of people were sitting in them. But, the other cars at the show did not demonstrate that kind of wear. The red leather had dark stains... sort of like being worn or perhaps dye from reacting with blue jeans?
All accounts leading up to the release of the car promised a small boutique luxury car, sort of like the old VW Rabbit Convertibles. I was disappointed by the cheap plastics as well. It may be Italian (a rare sight here in the US), but that only goes so far.
It does not surprise me that you are having this experience. It is after all a FIAT... As I recall, back in the 70's FIAT was selling cars in the US and they did not do much better. Reliability was an issue and rust was even a bigger issue... Unfortunately, you got sucked in by the looks (it is cute) of the car and the promise of newer technology, only to be disappointed. I feel for you... I have had similar experiences with "new" cars.
I have just purchased a new Fiat 500 TWINAIR turbo (I'm in Australia) it's fantastic!!! No faults or any of these commented issues, my previous car was a 2007 Fiat Punto with not a single issue of any sort to report on?!
What are doing to your cars to discover all of these problems?
I took your advice and waited to see how well my Pop is holding up. Well, going on 9,000 miles now, it still looks as good as the day I bought it. Also runs just as good.
However, my gas mileage has improved. At first check, around 400 miles, it was averaging 38.3 MPG, mixed driving, rural and highway. Now it is getting 41.4 MPG, same driving conditions. Not a scratch anywhere, no squeaks, rattles, clunks, etc. This is my first Fiat, however it will not be my last.
I just do not understand the bad luck that you've had with your Fiat. My nephew bought a Pop the same day I bought mine, and his is holding up just as good as mine, however I'm not sure what his mileage on gas is. I do know that he has had NO issues with his at all, and he has around 14,000 now.
I agree with the other poster about seeing a lot of wear on the interior at a car show. The red leather, in particular, looked like it got dark stains from people sitting in it. And, on cars with fabric seats, the material seemed to be abrasive to the touch. Not soft.
The interior came across as nicely styled and gives a nice first impression, but the longer you sit in the car and look around, the more you see cost cutting measures and cheap materials.
I had high hopes for these when they first came out. But I don't think I'd buy a new one. Maybe down the road, the depreciation will bring the cost more in line with where it should be.
I haven't yet purchased one, but seriously considering it. A colleague has had one for nine months, and mechanically it's holding up well reliability wise. I read many complaints about interior plastics etc; at the end of the day, in Australia anyway, it's a relatively inexpensive car; 14k driveway. So not too worried; they do however appear to be reliable and very economical on fuel, and the best looking small car for the money.
After 13,000 miles on my Pop, I traded it for a new black Sport model. I've never had one complaint about my Pop, and love my new Sport. I was just offered a deal that was way too good to pass up, almost an even trade.
My Sport is perfect and gets over 40 MPG, and is very peppy, especially in sport mode.
I have NO doubt that my next vehicle will be another Fiat, probably another Sport. I think they're the best value on the market today.