Fiat has consolidated the lineup for its diminutive 500 hatchback into the trio of Pop, Lounge and Abarth trims. Gone are the Sport and 1957 Edition trims, and conspicuous by its absence is the 500 Turbo, a car that bridged the significant performance gap between the regular-grade and punchy Abarth models.
Pop and Lounge models get the same 1.4L MultiAir four-cylinder engine as before, making 101 hp and 97 lb-ft of torque, available with a choice of five-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmissions. From there, the only way is way up to the Abarth's turbo 1.4L, with its 160 hp and 170 lb-ft (five-speed manual) or 157 hp and 183 lb-ft with the six-speed automatic.
We miss the 500 Turbo already for its just-right performance: the base 500 is cute but unexciting, while the Abarth is too hot for some drivers.
Natural Resources Canada fuel consumption estimates for the 500 range from 7.7/6.1 L/100 km (city/highway) for a Pop or Lounge with the five-speed manual transmission, to 9.7/7.4 L/100 km in an Abarth automatic. If economy is high on your list, the stickshift versions of this car are best.
Despite a retro look and feel that suggests a parallel with the Mini Cooper, that BMW-built car is more performance-oriented. We call the 500 a more stylish and ever-so-slightly upscale alternative to something like the Nissan Micra or Chevrolet Spark.
Standard features in the 500 Pop include body-colour instrument panel trim, electronic vehicle information centre, front floor mats and reading lights, leather-trimmed steering wheel, Uconnect infotainment with five-inch touchscreen, media centre with auxiliary input and two USB ports, power windows and locks, tilt steering, 50/50 split-folding rear seat, sun visors with vanity mirrors, halogen projector headlights, rear window wiper/washer, 15-inch steel wheels with covers, engine block heater, keyless entry and tire pressure monitoring and a tire service kit.
Lounge trim adds a seven-inch customizable gauge cluster display, air conditioning with automatic temperature control, auto-dimming rearview mirror, chome shifter, heated and power-adjustable side mirrors in chrome housings, fog lights, panoramic glass roof, premium audio system with satellite radio, passenger assist handle, leather-faced seats, heated front seats and 15-inch aluminum wheels.
Abarth trim brings the more potent engine, performance-tuned suspension and brakes with red calipers, 16-inch wheels, unique body trim and badging, performance front bucket seats with racing harness pass-through, flat-bottomed steering wheel, aluminum pedal covers, cruise control and three-mode stability control system.
Fiat 500 pricing starts at $19,245 for the Pop, $24,245 for Lounge trim and $28,245 for the Abarth version.