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2012 Fiat 500 Pros and Cons at TrueDelta: 2012 FIAT 500 SPORT MANUAL by sportivo500

A member in California, United States

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Introduction

Here is my simple overall review of this car with almost 6 months and 5000 miles of driving pleasure from it.

Reviewed: 2012 Fiat 500

2dr Hatch 101-horsepower 1.4L I4 5-speed manual FWD

Why the 2012 Fiat 500?

Exterior styling

What can I say...it's unique, stylish, and catches attention in a good way.

Interior styling

Very European, full of character. Simple, easy to use, logical layout. The color matching of the dash with the exterior is a nice touch but be careful the surface does scratch easily. One touch window down buttons are great but a one touch window up would be even nicer too.

Fuel economy

I'm getting 42 MPG combined....what more can I say?

Quietness

This car is amazingly quiet for it's size. It's as quiet as my colleague's Accord on the freeway. It does get a little noisy over rougher surfaces but that's because there's just less car to dampen the noise. However overall it's very quiet. The engine noise does not enter the cabin at all at cruise.

Handling

Nimble, sharp, and fun. You can toss this thing around and do it with confidence. It does have a little lean but once you get used to that and know where the limits are, this is a quick car on surface streets.

Why Not the 2012 Fiat 500?

Powertrain performance

101HP is enough for this car...it really is. But for the price the new 500T should be the standard not the option. If this car had 120HP stock let's say in Sport configuration, it'd be perfect.

Audio & nav systems

No seek and scan in USB Ipod mode? Come on guys...even cars from 10 years ago with CD players had that. Also, I've had a couple of issues with my USB port not recognizing or linking to my Ipod. It charges the unit but does not recognize any connection to music...simply stating "NO SOURCE AVAILABLE" I never took it to the dealer because I read online how to reset the audio system...merely removing a couple of fuses and re-installing a short time later. The TOM TOM dash unit, while a good unit...is apparently illegal to use the wonderful lame state of California. So don't buy it unless you get it for free in the deal.

Ride smoothness

Overall the smoothness is good...so long as the road is smooth. Bumps and uneven edges and surfaces do upset this car's stability...but you can't really blame the vehicle...it's simply due to the fact that it's a short wheel-based car and physics does its thing.

Materials & workmanship

The materials used on this car are not the worst but they certainly are not premium either. There is a lot of plastic in this car...a lot...and not the good soft quality stuff either. The plastics on the door sills scratch and scuff up very easily....leaving marks that are near impossible to remove. The dash has a few squeaks and rattles that I cannot resolve. with that said, it's holding up OK so far...we'll see.

Dealer practices

FIAT has much to do to gain trust in this country. One thing is for sure...their studios are lack-luster in service and how they treat their customers. There is a confusing maintenance schedule to adhere to that may or may not be covered....who knows. And how good are the mechanics? Who knows? Sharing their bays with Chrysler does not inspire confidence. But it's part of the risk I took to own this car (actually lease).

Conclusion

Extremely fun car that is unique, stylish, and quirky. If getting a small amount of pleasure from driving a car is important to you, this is one car that will give you that. It's not a uber German rocket but it has more character in it's left headlight than any BMW I've ever driven.

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